The FCC's ‘Net Neutrality’ plan that is getting closer to being proposed would likely reclassify broadband, and bring stricter regulation to the industry.

The FCC is perusing action that would aim to please everyone involved in the broadband war that has been many years in the making. The FCC’s Chairman is working to determine where broadband falls in the larger scheme, and working to determine what type of regulatory control can, and will be exerted on broadband providers.

Supporters of ‘Net Neutrality’ have long said that this action is well-overdue and that the internet should be regulated to the condition of ensuring that certain content providers cannot gain speed deals, that would allow their content to work more quickly. However, that is one of the issues that Chairman Tom Wheeler seems to be overlooking in his plan.

Though nothing is currently final, it’s nearly a foregone conclusion that whatever decision is made – it will be met by criticism of the broadband providers, and legal action which will inevitably delay the enacting of any plans that are approved. Any plans will also need to be approved by a vote. The five individuals on the commission will ultimately be the individuals to make this decision when push comes to shove.

Tom Wheeler and others have said that the goal is to create an internet where there are rules, and guidelines which will prevent providers from doing things like slowing down or even blocking certain content to customers.

The major move that seems to be taking place that is universally accepted on the side of ‘Net Neutrality” is the plan which would reclassify broadband, and even give the FCC the authority to block any arrangements that are made between content providers and broadband providers in an effort to maintain competition and trust within the industry. Rebuilding that trust is a part of the major roadblock that faces broadband service providers because so many already feel as though they’ve been cheated – with the amount of coverage these issues have been getting.

The plan though to reclassify the internet and preserve ‘Net Neutrality’ would come by classifying the Internet as a public utility. Currently, the situation is much different as it is currently classified as information services. In plain English, that means far less restriction, and a lot of grey area where many of those in favor of ‘Net Neutrality” believe that these providers are getting away with more than they should be able to.
The approach that the FCC is working on is said to be a “hybrid approach” that will aim to satisfy both sides.

11 COMMENTS

  1. I apologize for this long post, but I feel it’s important:

    Tom Wheeler is nothing short of a cable and telecom industry shill. The former chief lobbyist for the National Cable Industry Association and for the Cellular and Wireless Industry Association knows there is NO consumer choice in the monopoly cable and telecom industry. Every stupid proposal he comes up with is to satisfy his monopolist overlords, not to represent the public interest. He (and really the rest of the FCC) is the very definition of the “fox in the chicken coop.”

    The issue of Net Neutrality is not the “internet’s biggest threat.” Net Neutrality is important and critical, but I feel there is a real case to be made that the Net Neutrality issue is nothing more than a red herring. A distraction.

    The real threat is the industry’s plan to implement Metered Billing. The monopoly cable industry’s major business objective is to quietly slide into metered internet billing. Their plan is to bill you by usage. Which, BTW, is total price-gouging. A consumer rip-off.

    The industry, with the FCC’s help, will seem to “lose” on the the Net Neutrality issue in order to seem “entitled” to the Metered Billing System.

    Metered billing will make your old cable TV bill look cheap. Internet service is already the most profitable product the monopoly cable systems sell, by far. Fees for incremental usage above some phoney cap are almost pure profit. Like, 99%+ pure profit. Nobody in any competitive industry expects to make 99% profit.

    Multiple credible studies around the world have repeatedly shown this. Internet service is not like groceries, or gasoline or electricity. But monopolists throughout history always create artificial scarcity in order to charge higher and higher prices. In the case of Comcast, failure to invest in their system (which we all know, with advancing technology and low-cost commodity equipment, is actually cheap) makes it seem like they deserve more money to keep up with demand. They failed to invest very much for decades and now they want to charge more for this failure. It has been shown that Metered Billing is actually a DIS-incentive to the monopolists to ever improve service–just bill more!

    The cable “industry” is publicly projecting that the average internet bill will be $200 to $300 per month in 3-5 years. JUST FOR INTERNET. That does not include a Netflix subscription or MLB TV subscription, or TV fees–just for internet service. Comcast SVP David Cohen publicly stated to his investors just last February that they plan to do this. It will be a license to print money for a very few, very rich companies. “I would predict that in five years Comcast at least [!] would have a usage-based billing model rolled out across its footprint.” These monopolists want more and more and more. And they want you to believe they’re entitled to it!

    So, the real (and huge) pot of gold is Metered Billing. They really don’t care so much about Net Neutrality. They’ll give that away, and in doing so will eliminate the opposition that Netflix and the other the big content providers have to their merger activities.

    If we don’t stop them now, we’re screwed. It will be The United States of Comcast/AT&T. They will have more money for lobbying, electioneering, and just plain bribery, than any other industry in America. Most of the Republicans you’re planning to vote for on Tuesday favor the monopolists. Most Democrats don’t. Metered Billing will cause a $2,000 to $3,000 “tax” increase that -you- don’t favor.

    Vote accordingly on Tuesday.

    • Vote accordingly on Tuesday? What does that mean? Both parties are fully beholden to the communications monopolies. It doesn’t matter who controls Congress, the outcome is the same.

      The solution to the regulatory problem is to separate retail from wholesale. Let Comcast have their pipe monopoly and ATT & Verizon split the nation with theirs, but limit them to marketing their services to independent retailers at regulated rates.

      How to achieve this when your vote has no possible impact? Well, it’ll be painful but here it is. First, go to your local bookstore or visit Amazon with the equivalent of 3 months worth of billing fees. Spend it on books, board games, etc. that will enable you to fill your evenings without the Internet or television. Then call the communications monopolies, that includes your land line provider, your cell phone provider, and your cable provider. Tell them you are canceling your subscription because you object to their control over the Industry.

      If one person does it, you’ll suffer for 3 months and be right back with them laughing at you. If 3,000 do it, there won’t be much difference. If 3 million do it, they might start to think about making changes that amount to PR stunts, but if 30 million do it, you’ll impact their investors greatly enough to bring them to their knees.

    • – Agreed, 100%. Also, by reclassifying Internet service to “public utility” it will then be fully subject to a) local public utility taxes and b) “regulation” (lol) by local public utility regulatory bodies – whose track records have been HORRENDOUS. Our monthly Internet bills will ultimately look at least as bad if not worse than our monthly landline telephone and electric bills combined *ever* did.

    • Bullshit! You say the service providers “failed” to invest in the business and now that is somehow their fault. Would you invest in any business when some bureaucrat is going to tell you what you can or cannot charge for the service? If the service providers could charge market rates for the speed and bandwith they provide it would not even be a issue. Why, because they would have already invested in the infrastructure needed to get virtually unlimited speed and bandwith to everyone that wants it just like the free market does with any other product or service. What we have here with internet service in the US is price controls. Just like new cars in Cuba or baby dippers in Venezuela you may control the price of something but then it becomes very scarce.

      • There are so many things wrong with your post it’s hard to know where to begin, so I’ll begin here: You either work for Comcast, or you were home-schooled. You’re just plain wrong on all of it: Monopolists accept price controls in return for having a monopoly. Inevitably, monopolies tend to create artificial scarcity by keeping supply down. It has nothing to do with “market rates” or a “free market.” Monopolists don’t live in a “free market,” you imbecile.

  2. It sounds like the plan supports Net Neutrality at the “last mile,” now we’re just squabbling over transit arrangements?

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