Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Cable Internet Service Not Common Carrier

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the the-battle-wages-on dept.

The Courts 304

l2718 writes "The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed with the Federal Communications Commission that cable Internet service is an 'information service' rather than a 'telecommunication service.' This means that cable companies don't have to make their infrastructure open for competing ISPs to use. This is in distinction to the case of telephone companies and long-distance service, for example. For more information try the Center for Digital Democracy or read the Telecommunications Act."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Complete Ruling Online; Read for Yourself (4, Informative)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921124)

Re:Complete Ruling Online; Read for Yourself (1)

Shads (4567) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921301)

It's really a pity they ruled that way... going to give the cable companies an unfair advantage in the long run. :/

Re:Complete Ruling Online; Read for Yourself (2, Insightful)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921441)

"Fair" is not outcome-based; "fair" is an equal application of a known set of rules. Cable infrastructure has never been regulated in the same manner as telephone infrastructure. This ruling continues that seperation of regulation, despite the growing overlap in functional use.

Let them keep their network! (4, Interesting)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921136)

Cable providers also sell digital phone services over the same cable. Why then is this not a 'telecommunication service?' Phone companies investigated providing television style programming over the phone lines but the service proved too slow to carry the programming (DSL was born.)

Personally, I say hooray for the cable companies. They get to keep control of their equipment and the users who are utilizing it. Broadband and dial-up wholesale outfits generally provide poor service and limited capability (no Static IP or PPP Multilink.) Some of the outfits that have recently come (and gone) in this area went so far as to charge for tech support ($2/minute.) How tempting do you think it is for them to 'generate revenue' by causing issues on their own network.

"Numbers are down this month Bob, run that script that resets random passwords again."

Re:Let them keep their network! (2, Insightful)

Leroy_Brown242 (683141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921179)

" Cable providers also sell digital phone services over the same cable. Why then is this not a 'telecommunication service?'"

maybe because that is not their primary function?

Re:Let them keep their network! (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921407)

Maybe the rest of the cable services are not "telecommunication services", but the phone service still is. And, just like the telcos, their wires that deliver the TC service are common carriers. And, just like the telcos, whose wires are used to carry more than phone calls (modems, Internet traffic, TV), those wires are not excluded from common carrier provision just because they carry non TC services.

Re:Let them keep their network! (5, Insightful)

IAmTheDave (746256) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921185)

Besides the parent's thoughts, let's not forget that this supports the idea that VOIP is in fact not V. That is, with this ruling, anything that travels over broadband is information and not telecommunications, so it supports keeping federal regulations of VOIP off of VOIP providers.

Re:Let them keep their network! (2, Insightful)

pr0nbot (313417) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921530)

That is, with this ruling, anything that travels over broadband is information and not telecommunications, so it supports keeping federal regulations of VOIP off of VOIP providers.

Pesky regulations such as that dialling 911 works.

Re:Let them keep their network! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12921199)

Cable carriers DO NOT provide digital phone services over coaxial. It's over the same copper that the phone companies use..

Re:Let them keep their network! (1)

Gerald (9696) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921322)

They most certainly do run phone service over coax [packetcable.com] . Time-Warner does it here locally.

Re:Let them keep their network! (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921332)

Actually many are starting to do just this, using VOIP technology.

Re:Let them keep their network! (3, Insightful)

l2718 (514756) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921278)

Cable providers also sell digital phone services over the same cable. Why then is this not a 'telecommunication service?'

In fact, there have been recent court rulings that internet telephony is a telecommunicaiton device, and subject to FCC regulation. For example, this has been used to force VoIP to include 911 service. However, just because the VoIP part is a regulated service doesn't mean that the underlying infrastrcture is -- that depends on the definitions in the telecommuncations act, which the FCC is in charge of interpreting. The supreme court decided that their interpretation is not unreasonable and therefore due deference from the judicial branch.

Let them _keep_ their network?! (1)

Entrope (68843) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921307)

You must have a better cable company than some of us do (or at least more faith in them). Because cable companies have monopolies granted by local government, consumers are at the mercy of the incumbent cable company in terms of service.

Take Adelphia (please!): In my neighborhood, the broadband choices are IDSL (144 kbps, $90/month), cable modem ($40-75/month) or satellite. If you want a static IP or more than 256 kbps upstream on the cable modem, it's $150/month for business class service. If Adelphia were obliged to share their lines, I rather suspect there would be better deals.

Living in the heart of northern Virginia's high-tech corridor, as I do, should give one more choices for broadband; I shudder to think what people elsewhere are locked into.

Re:Let them keep their network! (2, Interesting)

plehmuffin (846742) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921328)

Personally, I say hooray for the cable companies. They get to keep control of their equipment and the users who are utilizing it. Broadband and dial-up wholesale outfits generally provide poor service and limited capability (no Static IP or PPP Multilink.)

I'm glad you think so highly of the cable companies internet services, because you can expect them to get worse due to this ruling. Before, they had to compete with those independant ISPs, now they don't because they can just shut them down. Do you think the cable companies internet service will become better with less competition?

Also, you're painting some pretty broad strokes on the range of independant ISPs. Many of the ones I've had in the past had much better service than did the cable and phone companies offerings, across the board. I'll admit that the later businesses have improved by leaps and bounds as of late, which is why I get my internet directly from the cable company. But they did so because they were losing customers to the independants. This development is definitely bad for the consumer.

Re:Let them keep their network! (4, Insightful)

pete6677 (681676) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921422)

This ruling doesn't change anything. It states that cable companies don't have to open their lines to competitors, which is the way things are right now. Service won't get worse because of this ruling, and I really don't think it would get better had they ruled the other way. Look at how well "competitive" DSL worked, or more like didn't work. Hardly anyone can sell DSL other than the local telecom monopoly since they have priced competitors out of the market even if they do allow access to their lines. The only way broadband will be truly competitive is when wireless broadband over a large area is widely available and affordable, and not surprisingly the phone and cable companies are trying very hard to prevent this.

Re:Let them keep their network! (1)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921439)

That just points out the stupidity (yes, stupidity!) of trying to define a complex environment in simple terms. Just as the cable companies can now provide telephone service, the phone companies are now starting to provide video services with the fiber-to-the-door backbone now being brought online.

The Real Problem Here (5, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921139)

The real problem here, and why the court was wrong, is that the cable system is a monopoly granted by the city. Only they are allowed to run cable to your home. As such, there is no true competition -- and we are screwed by it!

Re:The Real Problem Here (3, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921207)

I don't think the court was wrong. I think this is a different problem. As a granted monopoly, the cities should have insisted several requirements were met, including allowing other services to lease bandwidth.

Re:The Real Problem Here (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921532)

As a granted monopoly, the cities should have insisted several requirements were met, including allowing other services to lease bandwidth.

Which the cable companies would have then ignored, or had overturned at the federal level claiming that the FCC does not require this of them and federal law/policy trumps any city.

Re:The Real Problem Here (5, Insightful)

jratcliffe (208809) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921234)

Except for a VERY small number of cases (mostly subdivisions), cable is _not_ a monopoly by law. For the vast majority of local cable franchises, the franchise agreement is explicitly NOT exclusive - other providers are welcome to build networks and offer service. The problem is, nobody wants to. The economics of the cable business are such that, one provider will make good money - add a second provider, and both lose money. You need at least 40+% penetration of homes to justify the costs of building the network, and a secondary provider is highly unlikely to capture that many customers.

Re:The Real Problem Here (1)

papasui (567265) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921293)

Mod this up. There can be competing cable companies, they are know in the industry as overbuilders. The reason you don't usually see this is it's typically unprofitable in most areas.

Re:The Real Problem Here (1)

Steve Cowan (525271) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921325)

Imagine if the big phone companies were the only ISPs allowed on copper. That's exactly what's happenening here, except it's only the big cable companies who are allowed to be ISPs on coax. It is only bad news for the consumer.

Re:The Real Problem Here (2, Informative)

Pentavirate (867026) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921459)

If it's so much more profitable for cable companies to lock themselves into the ISP role for their networks, I wonder why Time-Warner allows Earthlink as an ISP on their network here in San Diego along with their own offering of Road Runner? Earthlink is even cheaper.

Re:The Real Problem Here (5, Interesting)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921365)


In that case, Cable provision is a natural monopoly and there is nothing to be gained by having it run by a private company (the theory of capitalism being based on competition), so it should be taken under public ownership.

Competing companies can sell services on the infrastructure if they like, but not access itself.

This would also lower the barrier of entry right down to the little local companies.

Re:The Real Problem Here (1)

voodoo_bluesman (255725) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921509)

There is absolutely no reason for it to be taken under public ownership: the cable companies built their infrastructure, so let them operate it.

If you wish to build such a massive infrastructure yourself, feel free to do it.

Re:The Real Problem Here (3, Interesting)

cdwiegand (2267) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921543)

Actually, you can't do that. The reason: Everyone who was rich enough would be tearing up the streets. That's why the cities give them (the cable companies) the monopolies: the streets are only torn up once (these days it's then they're laid down) and in return the cable companies gets to have a monopoly.

Personally, I think that the government should buy up the cable AND phone line networks, and let any company capable have service on it, but that's my "let everyone be equal" stance.

Re:The Real Problem Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12921513)

Except for a VERY small number of cases (mostly subdivisions), cable is _not_ a monopoly by law.

Not true. May local governments have indeed passed laws and allowed specific companies to have monopoly status for cable TV. This was true in the early days and is likely still the case in many areas.

Re:The Real Problem Here (0, Redundant)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921241)

I agree, I see no harm in the supreme court ruling they are common carriers. I think it came down to semantics over wording. The right thing to do is change the law, but under prevailing winds you may as well be seeking an audience with God himself.

Re:The Real Problem Here (4, Insightful)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921466)

Seeking an audience with God Himself is much easier, actually.

(Apologies if someone else beat me to this observation).

Competition? In the next few years... (3, Insightful)

WebHostingGuy (825421) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921350)

There might not be competition right now, however, in the next few years there will be. Satellite TV is already a direct competitor to TV for cable companies. And broadband access is in the same market as DSL right now. And when FIOS gets going it will be a direct competitor of both TV and broadband potentially offering more than cable could. I would not say life is all rosy at the cable companies.

No more Earthlink over Time Warner? (2, Interesting)

willith (218835) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921144)

I use Earthlink as my ISP, but the lines and equipment all come from Time Warner--even my bill is printed on Time Warner paper and I make my cheque out to "Time Warner". The only difference is that Earthlink's service costs $10 less per month.

Does this mean my option to use anyone but Time Warner as a cable ISP will vanish?

Re:No more Earthlink over Time Warner? (1)

smcallah (861614) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921220)

No, Time Warner Cable has been allowing Earthlink and several other regional ISP's share its lines for a few years now.

They did this so that they would not be forced into regulation, and there is no reason for them to stop doing it. Since they make revenue from each ISP that shares their lines, and they don't have to provide anything extra.

Re:No more Earthlink over Time Warner? (2, Informative)

jratcliffe (208809) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921265)

In your case, you'll be able to continue to have Earthlink. Time Warner is required to allow Earthlink access based on terms agreed to as a condition of the AOL/Time Warner merger.

Re:No more Earthlink over Time Warner? (5, Funny)

burner (8666) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921380)

If you're writing "cheques" you're probably not living under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court. :-P

Re:No more Earthlink over Time Warner? (1)

ran-o-matic (667054) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921431)

That is the funniest spelling correcting I have seen today. Ha!

Re:No more Earthlink over Time Warner? (1)

ccharles (799761) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921392)

the lines and equipment all come from Time Warner--even my bill is printed on Time Warner paper and I make my cheque out to "Time Warner"... Does this mean my option to use anyone but Time Warner as a cable ISP will vanish?
Dude, it looks to me like it already has.

May Be Good News If... (2, Interesting)

judmarc (649183) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921159)

...it forces the telcos (Baby Bells, etc.) to come out with competitive broadband offerings to more areas more quickly.

Re:May Be Good News If... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12921205)

how does it force the telcos to do anything?

Re:May Be Good News If... (1)

lowrydr310 (830514) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921377)

I agree... though I don't know how it will really change anything.

Comcast has a virtual monopoly on broadband access in my area. I'm too far from the CO to get DSL and satellite is out of the question, so Comcast can pretty much charge whatever they want and anyone who wants broadband will pay it. I don't think Comcast leased their cable in the first place, at least not in my area. I looked into Earthlink broadband but it's not available in my area.

I'm paying a lot for cable internet service. $59.99 a month isn't all that bad, but it's disappointing to see $29/month DSL advertised and not being able to get it.

Re:May Be Good News If... (1)

cosmic_0x526179 (209008) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921521)

I disagree. Areas with high population densities (urban, etc) will now get duplicative BroadBand infrastructure. Goodie for them. Areas which are underserved (rural, no broadband, no cable) will see less capital investment, because all the capital is going into the slugfest in the high population density areas (gotta make that quick buck !). Had the court ruled that cable/broadband was an essential service (and it should be getting close to that), then the state PSCs could legitimately lean on the ILECs (and possibly the cable companies) to deploy into the rural areas. Which would mean that I could finally get something faster than POTS out here !

Re:May Be Good News If... (1)

Pentavirate (867026) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921531)

I agree. In San Diego, SBC offers DSL at only $19.99/month (with 1 year contract). It may not be as fast as cable but I never had trouble with the service and it costs less than many dial-ups. Do you think they'd be offering it that cheap if there weren't competition in the broadband arena?

Re:May Be Good News If... (1)

phantomprophet (895431) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921600)

It wont "force" the telcos to do anything at all. What this means is that nothing changes. What would have been good for the consumer is if the cable companies were required to share their cable network, that would have allowed the telcos to expand further, faster, without relying on the dslams setup by the major phone companies. This is a setback for the growth of high speed internet.

E911 impact (3, Interesting)

stecoop (759508) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921167)

Since cable internet isn't a telecommunication service then I bet that the Voice over IP providers will favor cable. The E911 is mandated for voice lines and there have been a few state cases where internet phone providers have been sued. This ruling then (should in theory) alleviates the necessity of E911 for cable internet and lets the market decide if E911 is worth the cost. I just wonder if VOIP becomes widely used then will Cable Internet become re-classified as phone service?

Re:E911 impact (1)

papasui (567265) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921527)

We just launched telephony here and we fully support E911.

very noble work (5, Funny)

AngelfMercy (694727) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921169)

Ah yes, the Center for Digital Deomcracy. . .
fine work they do, daily fighting the spread of Omcracy that has taken so many young lives and minds.

Re:very noble work (2, Funny)

Zork the Almighty (599344) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921303)

Well I've never even heard of Omcracy so they must be doing a good job.

Re:very noble work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12921511)

Ah yes, the Center for Digital Deomcracy. . . fine work they do, daily fighting the spread of Omcracy that has taken so many young lives and minds.

And being the Center for Digital Deomcracy, they do it a bit at a time..

But then again (1)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921181)

Aren't phone companies also information carriers?

Re:But then again (1)

Leroy_Brown242 (683141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921215)

Sure.

But that is not their primary function.

loss of protection? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12921184)

does that mean now that they are not common cariers anymore they cant protect their customers from snooping **AA's i think i remeber someting along those lines that being a common carier made them free of that

IP Telephony... (2, Insightful)

FosterSJC (466265) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921191)

I can see the case now for declaring cable internet lines to be informational services. But what about in 5-10 years when a substantial, if not majority, portion of telecommunication will occur over these cable lines? Can their purpose be reclassified? And not only will cable internet lines be home to VoIP and Internet... TV and movies on demand will also move to the internet domain. I'm not sure how long this decision will remain accurate.

Unfortunate, but am I really losing money? (1)

AaronBrethorst (860210) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921194)

This ruling is somewhat unfortunate. But at the same time, I'm a cable modem user by choice today since it's a fair bit cheaper (when you work out price:performance) for me than DSL would be, despite the expected advantages of competition in this space. I see ads all the time imploring me to switch to Qwest DSL or Speakeasy, but I've never found it to be the better option for my needs.

Re:Unfortunate, but am I really losing money? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12921337)

That's good that it's a good deal for you. Around here though I'm getting 3Mb/512Kb for $30/month. The Cable company Brighthouse Network (used to be Time Warner) is charging $43/month for 5Mb/512Kb.

With overhead I'm hitting about 320KB/sec down, and the upload is the exact same speed as it would be with cable. Well worth the savings. The only real benefit with going with cable is that it would be cheaper if I didn't go with a 1 year contract.

VoIP Deathknell? (1)

Arzach (692634) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921204)


Aside from any VoIP solutions provided by the cable companies, I wonder what this means for the likes of Vonage, Skype, et al?

This is inconsistent (1, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921214)

This is inconsistent. With two-way cable and VOIP,

By this same logic, your telephone company should be able to only let you dial into their own ISP -- and at whatever prices they decide to charge.

And regarding the court's other goof last week, if why not Free Speech also being regulated at the local level. If your local municipality doesn't like your speech, let them use eminent domain powers to take it away from you. Wouldn't that go over well?

Of course, since many of us have our Free Speech through the Internet (web-pages, blogs, message boards, and the like), we are being restricted in it by this ruling to a single provider, and whatever ToS rules they decide to impose.

Re:This is inconsistent (1)

Paladin_VT (895429) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921494)

You're not being forced to to anything. This ruling prevents you from forcing the cable company to provide someone else's service. You are always free to contract with someone else. The only people screwed here are the people at telephone companies who are forced to offer others' services across their own equipment.

Wow... (0, Troll)

shakezula (842399) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921222)

They are on a roll today!

Re:Wow... (1)

Leroy_Brown242 (683141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921316)

Say what?

I guess I don't understand. (4, Interesting)

idontgno (624372) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921228)

They're not a common carrier for purposes of access to underlying infrastructure, but at the same time they ARE a common carrier for purposes of content liability?

Is it unreasonable for me to be confused? Is a little consistency too much to ask here?

other implictation of non-CC status (1)

team99parody (880782) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921239)

Aren't there a bunch of other privacy related issues with them being non-common-carriers/

FCC in charge? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12921250)

How do I make a forum? I want to know this because I want to make a website free of tryanny from these candy-ass, liberally biased, asshole /. mods. It's time that us trolls have a home of our own, like the Jews do with Isreal. Is there a /. troll island? If so what is the link?

--; --; those are hammers

FIRST POST!

I find your ideas intriguing and wish to subscribe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12921375)

to your newsletter. But seriously, have you tried TrollTalk? Failing that, might I suggest going to Michigan and raping CmdrTaco?

Re:I find your ideas intriguing and wish to subscr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12921411)

Give me the link to TrollTalk. I am a troll refugee. And I need to be saved from the faggotry of the common slashdotter.

Major difference between phone and cable (2, Informative)

papasui (567265) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921261)

Disclaimer: I'm a network engineer for a major cable company.
Everyone overlooks the major difference between phone and cable when saying cable should be opened up. That is (I'll prefix this with IN GENERAL, since there may be exceptions to this) cable systems were privately funded while phone systems used tax payer money. A second difference, although it will become less of one as cable telephony becomes more common is that phone is an utility service while cable is entertainment.

Re:Major difference between phone and cable (1)

Funksaw (636954) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921344)

Cable -used- to be an entertainment service. But you'll never get me to say that internet access is anything but a utility.

Re:Major difference between phone and cable (2, Interesting)

idontgno (624372) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921355)

phone systems used tax payer money

Disclaimer, I'm not a network engineer for a major cable company, phone company, or other for-profit infrastructure provider. Just a lifelong customer.

Last time I looked at phone infrastructure laying around, it was labeled "QWest", or "Northwestern Bell" if it's old enough. I realize there are subsidies, but still, I had the distinct impression that most telephone infrastructure was originally built up at telco expense.

Correct me if I'm wrong. (Hell, this is Slashdot; someone will correct me even if I'm right.)

Re:Major difference between phone and cable (2)

zoomba (227393) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921364)

This is something I wish more people would understand. The difference between a necessary utility and an entertainment service. Having a telephone is as much a safety device as a communications service. If you don't have a phone you could end up in a world of trouble. If you don't have cable, you're just really bored on a Saturday night.

And you're right, the establishemnt of the basic infrastructure with telephones was a partially public funded endeavour. They also got a government sanctioned monopoly for many years in exchange for guarantees of service and universal coverage. Cable was almost exclusively private.

Re:Major difference between phone and cable (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921442)

Houston, we have a problem.

My cable company is my telephone company. Not VOIP, real honest-to-God landline, complete with real 911 and real phone number and everything. The household telephone wiring (2 jacks in every room!) concentrates into a little box that ties into the cableco's RG-59 run under the yard. Not twisted pair to a QWest 50-pair box in the middle of the block.

So, are they still a luxury entertainment service? I don't think so, unless calling the fire department is an entertaining luxury.

They're freakin' common carriers. The Supremes and the FCC just flat-out got it wrong.

Re:Major difference between phone and cable (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921571)

Good point. The problem seems to be that most people do not grasp the idea that data is data is data.
In the near future the idea of a separate phone line, cable TV connection, and alarm connection will be considered quaint right along with party lines.

Re:Major difference between phone and cable (2)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921573)

Bullshit. The cable in my area (nominally Adelphia) was also taxpayer funded via a series of bond issues which were backed by local governments. Roughly 80% of the TV programming after 11 PM is paid programming, which we were told (as a community) might disappear for the then-small cost of a subscriber fee. Frankly I don't buy the BS anymore. That said, I don't see much difference between this and the breakup of Ma Bell.

Who Cares! (1)

dbfruth (707400) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921263)

The cable companies can do whatever they want and I could still care less. The cable companies may have a monopoly on high speed internet via cable lines but that doesn't mean consumers don't have other options. In my city there is Cable, DSL and Wireless and judging by prices there is definitely competition. I personally don't use any of the services the local cable co provides and even had them remove their line from my house. I have been more than happy with DSL and Satellite.

Re:Who Cares! (1)

g0dsp33d (849253) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921537)

I do for one. I'm in an area where there isn't choice. I can't get DSL, there isn't wireless. I can only get one way cable from a crappy company I don't trust (for 70 a month 1 way cable one meg down (they charge extra for the dialup line you need too)). I'm stuck on dialup for uploading no matter what, but I wish I could get one way cable through some one that would price it reasonably enough to make it worthwhile.

Re:Who Cares! (1)

Low2000 (606536) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921579)

That may be true for you, however,...not everyone. I live in a city with a pop of approx 140,000 people. About 1/8 of the city has access to any sort of DSL and the rest is cable... ... no other options short of sattelite and that's unexceptable for gaming.

Why don't telcos refute "common carrier" status? (2, Insightful)

wsanders (114993) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921270)

For all telco law experts out there, what would it take for the telcos to refute their "common carrier" status? And lose/gain the same legal standing as the cable companies? Voice==data and data==voice so it seems like it owuld be an even playing field.

Re:Why don't telcos refute "common carrier" status (1)

alphaFlight (26589) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921433)

In fact SBC recently attempted to do just that. They filed a petition to the FCC for forbearance to title II. Jeff Pulver has covered the issue well in his blog...

Jeff Pulver's Blog on SBC Forbearance Petition [pulver.com]

Re:Why don't telcos refute "common carrier" status (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921576)

For all telco law experts out there, what would it take for the telcos to refute their "common carrier" status?

Where I live they do it through being very slow and unresponsive for opening up ports to other carriers (or any other cooperation that is necessary to comply with the law). Most people like me will refuse to go too many months without phone service, and then just go back to the monopolistic one.

Been there, done that.

Why is it a worldwide conspiracy against people having a decently affordable means of communicating with people (aside internet, shouting, ham radio, etc)?

By my estimates, every American pays something like $50 to $80 or more a month for the privilege to use the phone ("long" distance gets even more interesting). I pay $40 a month for complete worldwide access to the internet that can even do telephone via VOIP. I currently pay something like $17 a month just on fees and taxes to have a dialtone to my house. I would have to pay another fee just for the privilege to dial more than 30 or 40 miles from my house, even if I don't use it.

Oh. Its those people that consider their phone conversations and giggles with their friends more important than paying attention to what they are doing while driving. Gotcha.

Well, we are making progress. I can buy a phone instead of leasing one every month. Now that was a slick scam.

Ok. So I'm confused (4, Insightful)

DanielMarkham (765899) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921273)

There's a difference between a "communications service" and a "data service"?
But wouldn't you have to communicate data in order for it to appear? And wouldn't communications be meaningless without data to communicate?
Sometimes I wonder if it's the court that doesn't understand technology, or maybe its us technology guys that don't understand the courts. This ruling doesn't make any sense to me.

Then Let Me Compete (1)

lousyd (459028) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921286)

Cable companies don't have to open their infrastructure to competitors? Great, so my local government is going to let me run my own cable lines to every house in the city, right? If the one cable company's lines aren't open to the public, then the ground around them must be now.

I actually kind of like that idea.

Re:Then Let Me Compete (1)

papasui (567265) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921330)

In most cities you can compete. Granted you will probably need to make the city believe you know what your doing and have a solid business plan for them to sign a franchise agreement with you. The reason you don't see this very often is that it's unprofitable in most areas.

If only the supreme court was in my position.. (1)

btgreat (895041) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921290)

Does that mean I'm stuck with this awful charter service for the next couple years at least? At least if I'm going to have this inconsistent service I should get a price drop..

This doesn't have to be bad (1)

kwilliamyoungatl (835177) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921295)

They ruled on the Telecom *Act*. Congress can change the act with a majority vote and the signature of the president. Why wasn't there a Second Amendment ruling this term? Because the NRA is immenently capable of winning at the ballot box. Now ask yourself: In how many years will more people have broadband than guns? Organize, vote, and elect pro-competition politicians. We have the power.

Expect your Comcast/Adelphia/etc. bill to go up (1)

the saltydog (450856) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921297)

...to pay for all that lobbying they had to do to keep competition out. (Not to mention hookers and blow for their victory parties.)Those bastards at Comcast will never get another dime from me. In less than 10 months, I was expected to take a 57% price increase, which included a $15.00/month penalty for NOT taking any additional services, when they bought out AT&T Broadband. They called it bundled pricing. I called it predatory pricing. It was actually a DirecTV penalty. I still have them, and I get by with 256k Qwest DSL.

A safe haven? (5, Interesting)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921298)

Does this mean that cable companies are now excluded from VoIP "tappability", the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), or from the other law enforcement attempts to log EVERYTHING on the internet(s)?

The Supreme Court is on a roll. (4, Interesting)

jocknerd (29758) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921299)

At least in helping big business. Let's see first they make it easier for big business to steal your property. Now they make sure that cable remains a monopoly.

The problem here....... (3, Interesting)

Lunch2000 (701764) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921319)

Since they have been labeled an information service rather than a telecommunications service, it means they can filter your traffic. I know for a fact that Time Warner (my cable service provider) sells IP phone Vonage type service, but charge a minimum of 39.99 a month for it. How long until that is the only VOIP service they allow on their networks and providers like Vonage suddenly "don't work" and "aren't supported by our service" Lunch

Oh Great, another Comcrap rate hike! (1)

Kylere (846597) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921336)

I have to pay 65 bucks a month for poor uptime, rotten downspeed, a joke of 128k upspeed and no hope for it getting better at the moment. All this ruling means is that Comcast has no competition in my area and no future chances of having a competitor. Don't think I am getting a ton of channels, extra's etc. Without comp, that is my base price, the absolute bottom of the barrel, for nothing but a net connection that is twice dialup and tests as 1.12 down. It may be time for a change of government, vote Libertarian, all the dems and reps do is blame it on each other and screw the little guy.

great.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12921338)

Today, so far, the Supremes have made a big ******* mess.

10 commandments
grokster
now this...

Im idling here waiting for the next one...

Alas, the Supreme Court is being consistent (1)

Brett Glass (98525) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921346)

The government is allowed to take your house on behalf of a big corporation. But a corporation can't be required to request its monopoly infrastructure -- ON WHICH THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT HAS GIVEN IT A MONOPOLY -- at a fair price. At least the Supreme Court is being consistent. Corporations are getting everything they want, and John Q. Citizen can just go hang. The article cited above says that the court ruled that "judges should defer to the expertise of the Federal Communications Commission." But the FCC isn't any more expert than anyone else -- certainly not than the ISP that brought the case. And many inside it face political pressure to kowtow to (guess who?) the same big corporations. We're living in the New Gilded Age, folks. Corporations get whatever they want and the individaul loses. --Brett Glass

Re:Alas, the Supreme Court is being consistent (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921552)

What a shortsighted comment... Seems you think there's a vast corporate conspiracy. Corporations get the power and individuals get nothing? So go incorporate yourself. Test your theory. It costs between $40 and $500 in most states... Not that big a deal.

Then you'll find out that nothing has changed, and there's no pro-corporate attitude. It's the same as it's always was. People with money have power. Period.

Lucky for you, unlike in a gulided age, nobody is stopping you from going out and working your ass off to make a whole boatload of money. Just don't try to do it with cable telecommunications. That cash cow is taken.

sounds familier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12921363)

from the wired article http://www.wired.com/news/politics/0,1283,68008,00 .html?tw=rss.POL [wired.com]

"Judges should defer to the expertise of the Federal Communications Commission, which concluded that limited access is best for the industry, the high court said in an opinion by Justice Clarence Thomas."

which tottaly reminds me of the scene in the aviator when the big goverment peopel were like 1 airline is the best dont' need more than one!

Great! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12921373)

So since it's an "information service" and not a "telecommunications service", does that mean the feds have just forfeited their right to perform surveillance on these networks? That would be neat.

Or is this just yet another situation where a win for libertarianism is a win for both big business and big government?

This could be bad for Cable too (2, Insightful)

denis-The-menace (471988) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921383)

How many times have the telcos been able to hide behind the "common carier" status when crimes are commited using their networks?

Will Cable ISPs have to now police their networks or be responsible for acts by their users?

Or maybe, just maybe, that's the idea and they are in cahoots with the media mafias?

Infrastructure wants to be Free (4, Interesting)

frankie (91710) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921397)

Every time this sort of anti-competetive stuff occurs (99% of US cable markets are monopolies by license, aka local gov bribery), it makes me wonder if the various forms of wire infrastructure ought to be public property, just like the roads, water pipes, etc. Companies would be allowed to connect to them at cost. I can't help but think it would be win-win for everyone, except the monopoly owners and maybe Adam Smith purists.

Hmm...considering last week's supreme court ruling, perhaps the gov should just TAKE all the wires away from the companies by eminent domain. Infrastructure is about the only thing I consider a valid "public use".

Ok. (2, Informative)

papasui (567265) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921437)

Disclaimer: I'm a network engineer for a major cable company. I know this is /. but we can brings some facts to the table. Monopoly: Cable is not a monopoly, (there may be some notable exceptions) there are areas where cable companies compete with each other. BUT you typically don't see this because it's simply unprofitable for them to do so. I know everybody thinks they should have cheap/free high speed internet service, but ALWAYS remember that a business has one primary purpose, to make money. Building a cable network to support a single city requires MILLIONS of dollars. Building cable plant typically costs $7.00 per foot, this includes price for nodes, amps, cable, fiber, maintence, employees. Then you have your cost for content, headend equipment (upcoverters, CMTS, combiners, forward lasers, multiplexers, etc, etc, etc). You better have a very solid business plan and know what you're doing if you plant compete with an established company and convince a city to open the right of way to you.

This may soon be a moot point (2, Interesting)

akad0nric0 (398141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921454)

At least, for consumers in metropolitan areas. This is a big deal now, but as ISP's begin offering wireless access in metropolitan areas, there won't be a monopoly-controlled medium like the cable or telecomm infrastructure to wrestle over. Verizon is already doing this over their cellular network. It's not exactly the same, but it marks a move in that direction, IMO.

End of independent VoIP? (2, Interesting)

Gadzinka (256729) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921457)

Does this ruling mean that there's nothing to prevent them from blocking access to VoIP services competing with their overpriced PSTN-over-cable offerings?

Robert

Common Carrier? (2, Informative)

windex (92715) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921489)

Not common carrier, eh?

Well, here's the problem with this. Common carrier laws apply to telecommunications services. If Cable is not a telecommunications service, it's not a common carrier.

I strongly suggest someone sue charter, time warner, etc, for damages over the emotional trama the 'degrading' porn email they receive brings them. After all, that's why common carrier laws exist...

Liability. (4, Interesting)

AJWM (19027) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921538)

The cable co's may come to regret this.

I think (IANAL) this could render them liable for any "information" provided from their "service" -- from copyright violations to kiddy porn to libel. It's "common carrier" status that protects the phone company and other ISPs from this liability.

Only solution (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 9 years ago | (#12921568)

For a low cost high speed network is to 'DUMP' the internet alltogether. I am serious.

We need to get rid of the telephone companies that control the backbone and local isp's.

We need Munis to be connected to one another with a new high speed network.

I believe the internet shouldn't be allowed to be run by corporate america just like the oil companies collude to control DC and the energy industry.

We need a new network to get rid of old standards that dont work like Email and put in new security .

I support municipal broadband Fiber to the house -FTTH(google)or also FIOS. Not so much WiFi. Maybe WiMax.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?