Tag: net netrality

Trump’s FCC boss calls Net Neutrality a mistake

FCC chairman Ajit Pai said today that net neutrality was “a mistake” and the Commission was taking steps to turn it into a telco’s wet dream.

Pai said that net neutrality injected tremendous uncertainty into the broadband market and uncertainty was the enemy of growth.

To be fair Pai has always been opposed to net neutrality and voted against the proposal when it came up in 2015. He had been widely expected to dismantle net neutrality to allow telos to charge people what they like. Basically, Pai’s thinks that internet providers were doing just fine under the old rules and that the new ones have hurt investment.

Both of those points have been discounted. There’s little competition in the wired broadband market, and Consumerist investigated the investment claims in early 2016 and found that internet providers were estimated to spend more in the coming year.

“Today, the torch at the FCC has been passed to a new generation, dedicated to renewal as well as change. We are confident in the decades-long, cross-party consensus on light-touch internet regulation … and we are on track to returning to that successful approach,” Pai said.

He cites the commission’s approval of zero-rating schemes — this, he says, is exactly why all four carriers are now offering unlimited data plans.

This is also rubbish as zero rating isn’t involved in these plans at all. Telcos offer highly competitive unlimited data plans because the last FCC chairman kept them in a competitive environment, leaving four nationwide wireless providers and a clear set of rules for them to follow.

Pai seems to think that the FCC should do nothing unless there’s a huge market failure and that competition can preserve an open internet even without rules.

The fact that the US telcos are hardly in competition and well just use their quasi-monopoly powers to double charge heavy web users is no part of Pai’s reality.

US court upholds Net Neutrality

images-4The US broadband industry has lost its lawsuit attempting to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules and the related reclassification of Internet service providers as common carriers.

The ISPs claimed that they had protection under the First Amendment but this was thrown out because the court thought that a broadband provider does not ‘speak’ when providing neutral access to Internet content as common carriage.

US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Judges David Tatel and Sri Srinivasan the First Amendment poses no bar to the open Internet rules.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said that the ruling was victory for consumers and innovators who deserve unfettered access to the entire Web, and it ensures the Internet remains a platform for unparalleled innovation, free expression and economic growth.

“After a decade of debate and legal battles, today’s ruling affirms the Commission’s ability to enforce the strongest possible Internet protections—both on fixed and mobile networks—that will ensure the Internet remains open, now and in the future.”

AT&T is promising to Appeal to the Supreme Court.

In addition to enforcing net neutrality rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization, the decision allows the FCC to continue regulating fixed and mobile broadband providers under the common carrier provisions in Title II of the Communications Act.

Judges were not persuaded by industry arguments that Internet service is unambiguously an “information service” rather than a “telecommunications service” subject to stricter regulation. The industry argument ignores that the statutory definition of information service says that “such services are provided ‘via telecommunications,'” the judges wrote.

The industry lawyers pointed to the Verizon v. FCC decision that said the FCC couldn’t impose common carrier rules without classifying broadband as a common carrier service.

However, the Judges said that USTelecom misread the Verizon case.


Dutch bring in net neutrality law

The Dutch have brought in a net neutrality law after a public outcry over the antics of a telco for trying to shaft Skype by spying on customers.

There were warnings that European politicians were getting tetchy about the issue of telcos blocking or discriminate against internet services which compete with their legacy offerings, particularly in regards to Voice over iP.

However, in spite of the high level of alert against such plans the major Dutch telecommunications company KPN went ahead with new plans to charge extra for Skype and WhatsApp. To make matters worse, it said that it would use deep packet inspection hardware to monitor all internet traffic and classify it by application in order to make the new charging scheme work.

Never in the field of technology has corporate greed in the face of overwhelming hostility contrived to bring about instant karma on the people committing it. We are not sure if the phrase “PR own-goal” can be translated into Dutch but it should be.

By going full out to screw Skype over, KPN managed to miff almost everyone and forced the government to act. If KPN not done anything, it probably could have brought in some covert throttling in the future, perhaps under some sort of dodgy voluntary industry agreement.

However, Maxime Verhagen, the Minister of Economic affairs, Agriculture, and Innovation, announced in Parliament that it will legislate KPN into a corner and outlaw the practice.

What was even more amusing is that other telcos saw what KPN was doing and said “I’ll have some of that”. As a result, they look just as evil for following KPN down its mad charge towards self-destruction and thus enabling them all to collect the Lord Cardigan prize for strategy.

Verhagen said that the KPN claimed that its actions were needed to get cash to re-investments in the network and make back money lost thanks to the decline in voice and SMS traffic.

While he said that he was not against paying for the quantity or the speed of the data traffic, surcharging specific services like Skype or WhatsApp went too far.

Verhagen will draft a net neutrality proposal in the next few weeks, one that will give users confidence that “specific Internet service on their mobile will not be additionally taxed or blocked by mobile providers.” 

*EyeSee Thank you, Jasper, Nick’s rampant gender-bending has been looked at.