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The FCC is rolling out more regulation -- this time of the internet.
The FCC bids for greater regulatory authority, even as it tries to convince telecoms to embrace spectrum auction

National broadband was one of the key campaign promises that President Barack Obama made in 2008.  His Federal Communication Commission chief, Chairman Julius Genachowski, has tried to deliver on that promise, but has a difficult path ahead.

The FCC's plan to is to take spectrum from television, re-auction it to wireless companies, and use part of the proceeds to finance new lines for the broadband project.  The bid is complicated by the FCC's regulatory war with the same telecoms it hopes to sell spectrum too.

Last month, the FCC lost the first round in its battle with Comcast over internet throttling.  The FCC is trying to stop Comcast from blindly throttling certain kinds of traffic like peer-to-peer connections, commonly used for sharing music and other media.  A U.S. Federal Court ruled that the FCC did not have the power to stop Comcast from doing so.

Now the FCC has reclassified broadband internet from an information service to a telecommunications service, a move that should grant it greater regulatory authority.  The FCC promises it will not abuse the greater regulatory authority its seizing.  The FCC's top attorney, Austin Schlick, comments, "We have never gone back on forbearance.  We have a very strong track record."

Chairman Genachowski, who promised to apply regulation with a "light-touch", added that the approach was only an "interim" step and that he would prefer Congress to officially clarify the regulatory situation.

Verizon Communications Inc executive vice president Tom Tauke says that the plan to step up regulation 
will hurt the national broadband project.  He writes, "The regulatory and judicial proceedings that will ensue can only bring confusion and delay."

Republican FCC members Robert McDowell and Meredith Attwell Baker were also critical of the effort.  They write in a joint statement, "This proposal is disappointing and deeply concerns us.  It is neither a light-touch approach, nor a third way."

Bernstein Research analyst Craig Moffett, concurs, opining that the regulatory bump may not survive legal scrutiny.  He states, "It is extremely unclear whether reclassification will survive judicial review."

Meanwhile, the FCC is left trying to figure out to push both its regulatory and national broadband efforts, a dangerous dance that ultimately brings the future of both efforts into question.



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Good for them
By Spivonious on 5/10/2010 11:09:51 AM , Rating: 5
It's the FCC's job to regulate communications, so let them do their job. As much as I think piracy has hurt the music and movie industries by making them more hesitant to take chances on films/musicians that aren't guaranteed to be hits, an internet provider should not be able to selectively restrict their service. The customer pays for broadband internet access and should be able to use it for whatever purpose they want. If Comcast puts something in their terms prohibiting illegal activity with their service, and then discover the customer is doing something illegal, then terminate their service and notify the authorities. Throttling connections is not the way to solve this.




RE: Good for them
By ebakke on 5/10/2010 12:04:05 PM , Rating: 4
Comcast et all aren't throttling people to prevent piracy. They're doing it to maintain high speeds for the entire network, not just 6 guys downloading a bunch of BluRays.


RE: Good for them
By Goty on 5/10/2010 12:35:55 PM , Rating: 4
Those six guys download Blu-Rays don't get special treatment. Assuming the systems works as it should, everyone gets equal access to the available bandwidth. It's not possible for ONE subscriber to completely saturate a node such that no other subscribers can use the bandwidth.


RE: Good for them
By ebakke on 5/10/2010 12:41:51 PM , Rating: 2
I never claimed a single subscriber could prevent access for other subscribers. I said the telecos are interested in throttling so as to limit the impact to other subscribers.


RE: Good for them
By Exodite on 5/10/2010 1:13:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I said the telecos are interested in throttling so as to limit the impact to other subscribers.

Then they should still worry more about streaming media sites and IP telephony than peer-to-peer services.

Basically - TCP good, UDP bad as far as playing nice is concerned.

Then again, cutting or restricting access to streaming media sites or IP telephony brings or full circle back into paying additional fees for using the same applications we already do.


RE: Good for them
By ebakke on 5/10/2010 2:37:48 PM , Rating: 1
I'd rather they determine whatever they should be worried about to maintain their networks, than have the bureaucrats doing it for them.

I'm all for the telecos not throttling me, but I absolutely don't believe the government forcing them to do one thing or another is any more ideal. Living in the Twin Cities, I have access to Comcast, Qwest, ipHouse, HughesNet, and a network card from AT&T/Verizon/Sprint/T-Mobile. Now they all advantages/disadvantages, but I have the ability to share my opinion with the company both verbally, and with my pocketbook. I ultimately use Comcast and likely get throttled me from time to time. Frankly, I just don't care enough about it to give the government more power that I don't think they need (not to mention that I don't think they'll use responsibly).


RE: Good for them
By Exodite on 5/10/2010 1:09:14 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Comcast et all aren't throttling people to prevent piracy.

Of course not, the eventual goal is to force consumers into paying more for the same. Ie. offering connection to specific sites or types of media for additional fees.

This is big business, they hardly care about Joe User violating copyright.


RE: Good for them
By Ammohunt on 5/10/2010 2:24:23 PM , Rating: 1
Having the Government in charge of internet connectivity instead of for profit businesses is INSANE! You are inviting censorship of free thought and ideas listen to Obama’s recent speech at Hampton University details what the alinskyites (look it up Saul Alinsky) are afraid of . one of the first things authoritarian governments/Dictatorships do is put in place controls for media outlets before they consolidate power; modern example Venezuela. Don’t make the mistake and believe this can’t happen in the west. The recent health care bill is the start of authoritarian control of US citizens; fairness doctrine and Government regulation of free speech outlets is next.


RE: Good for them
By AEvangel on 5/10/2010 3:09:46 PM , Rating: 3
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner....

The idea that the Govt is better at regulating a free market system then business and the consumer is a retarded at best. The last 100 years of boom and bust economy should be evidence of that. An if you don't think they wont monitor or spy on what your reading or writing on the internet all you have to do is look at Bush and his illegal wire taps on phone calls. Which Congress then came back and gave immunity to prosecution for all the Telecoms who participated in it.

Twenty-five years ago the thought of this happening would have been unthinkable, but no it's accepted with out a whimper from the public. All in the name of National Security.


RE: Good for them
By icanhascpu on 5/10/2010 10:58:29 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The idea that the Govt is better at regulating a free market system then business and the consumer is a retarded at best.


<_<

Yeah, we all see how well that went with the internet industry here in the stats. Sometimes you go with the lesser evil.


RE: Good for them
By AEvangel on 5/11/2010 12:58:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Sometimes you go with the lesser evil.


So basically your still willing to choose evil.

How about you let the free market and the consumer decide. If you don't like how Comcast is doing business then you buy your access from someone else. Other companies will be created if the main players in the industry are not providing a good service at a reasonable price.

Also keep in mind the main reason we have so few ISPs right now is Govt interference in the industry. Once again another sign at how Govt interference supposedly for are benefit has resulted in more problems. The only GOOD solution is getting Govt out of the business all together and let companies and consumers via the free market principles make the decisions.


RE: Good for them
By Starcub on 5/11/2010 12:21:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner....

The idea that the Govt is better at regulating a free market system then business and the consumer is a retarded at best. The last 100 years of boom and bust economy should be evidence of that.

Are you vying for the leftovers? The economic crisis we are in now is the result of a failure of leadership. The problem is that the regulators were restrained from doing their jobs. You're advocating a return the times of snake oil salesmen. What we need is good governement, not no government.


RE: Good for them
By AEvangel on 5/11/2010 12:53:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Are you vying for the leftovers? The economic crisis we are in now is the result of a failure of leadership. The problem is that the regulators were restrained from doing their jobs. You're advocating a return the times of snake oil salesmen. What we need is good governement, not no government.


This is the standard comment from someone that has no real concept of what caused this economic downturn. The problem is that Govt is bailing out all the corporations that created this mess with the assistance of the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates way too low for the last almost 10 years. If the Govt just told all those banks sorry your on your own then this would send a clear message to other corporations that taking risks like they did would not be tolerated, but by bailing them out like they have their is no risk for them if they Govt will always support them.

But really the true criminal in all of this is the Federal Reserve. I suggest you do more research on the subject before you embarrass your self any more comments like these.


RE: Good for them
By Starcub on 5/11/2010 12:14:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
one of the first things authoritarian governments/Dictatorships do is put in place controls for media outlets before they consolidate power; modern example Venezuela.

Are you saying that government shouldn't control any media outlets? Chavez is try to get more internet access to the poorer people in his country in an effort to counter the information put out by his chief media rivals, he's not assuming control of the entire media.


RE: Good for them
By Ammohunt on 5/11/2010 2:04:53 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't have to take control he just shuts them down or nationalizes them when they broadacst something he doesn't like. Do some research on just what freedom of the press means.


RE: Good for them
By wompirebat on 5/10/2010 4:29:23 PM , Rating: 2
I hesitate to start off with such an overused analogy, but it's such an effective tool to display faults in logic, I can't resist.
"It's the FCC's job to regulate communications" just like it was the job of the Nazis to exterminate the Jews. The excuse of "it's my job" is not valid justification for any kind of behavior.
"...an internet provider should not be able to selectively restrict their service." This wants proof. The service an ISP provides to its customer is bound by a voluntary contract. If the ISP breaches the terms of the voluntary contract, the customer can either take the ISP to court or terminate the contract and seek provision elsewhere.
There are economic factors that require an ISP to 'throttle' a particular connection. An ISP provides service to more than one customer. To maintain a balance for all customers, from its limited resources, some customers may get less than satisfactory service, in lieu of no service at all. Just because a customer spends a little money in exchange for service doesn't entitle them to control the conditions of service. A customer is no more entitled to the control of a company than an employee who receives a paycheck is entitled to the control of his employer. The perversion of the idea of property rights in this country is sickening. Especially if you are loyal to the principals of its founding.
"...prohibiting illegal activity..." Um, not to nitpick, but "illegal activity" is already prohibited. See, the prohibition comes in the form of legislation. So, there's no need for an ISP to prohibit illegal activity, because it's already been done for them.

"By what right do men exercise power over each other?"


RE: Good for them
By iFX on 5/10/2010 10:05:24 PM , Rating: 1
What gives the FCC the right to regulate the data on PRIVATE NETWORKS. In case you didn't know the Internet is a PRIVATE network run by the PRIVATE sector.

Private people and businesses own the servers, the lines, the routers, the switches, the satellites, the PCs, etc, etc. It's OUR network. The FCC can suck a fat one. They have ZERO legal right to regulate data on OUR PRIVATE NETWORK, YOU MORON.


RE: Good for them
By Spivonious on 5/11/2010 8:22:05 AM , Rating: 2
The FCC has been running private networks since 1934. Personally I don't trust ISPs to give me equal access to everything on the internet.


"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007














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