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Net Neutrality Dealt Blow by Appeals Court, Verizon Vows Commitment to “Open Internet”

NEUTRALITY

The “open internet” as we know it – also know as Net Neutrality – was dealt a serious blow this morning when an appeals court ruled that the FCC does not have the power to bar internet service providers from favoring one type of traffic over another. In other words, if Verizon (we’ll pick on them since they are leading this charge and won today’s ruling) decides one day that it wants to limit or slow your access to Droid Life in favor of another Android site that paid premiums, it could. Or maybe Big Red struck another deal with Bing, so it decided to limit your access to Google Search. Or maybe they don’t want you on YouTube as much as you currently are – maybe they have a new Verizon video service that streams at a faster rate and with higher quality that they will shove in your face. See where we are going here?

The FCC has argued for some time that we shouldn’t allow companies like Comcast, AT&T or Verizon to treat packets that flow across their network any differently from one to another. These big networks, since they paid billions to build them, think they should have all the power in the world when deciding how their traffic flows. According to today’s judgement, things aren’t looking so hot for the FCC. 

In a statement released shortly after the ruling, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler had this to say:

The D.C. Circuit has correctly held that ‘Section 706 . . . vests [the Commission] with affirmative authority to enact measures encouraging the deployment of broadband infrastructure’ and therefore may ‘promulgate rules governing broadband providers’ treatment of Internet traffic.’ I am committed to maintaining our networks as engines for economic growth, test beds for innovative services and products, and channels for all forms of speech protected by the First Amendment. We will consider all available options, including those for appeal, to ensure that these networks on which the Internet depends continue to provide a free and open platform for innovation and expression, and operate in the interest of all Americans.

Verizon followed up with their own statement, one which vowed to commit to an “open internet”:

One thing is for sure: today’s decision will not change consumers’ ability to access and use the Internet as they do now. The court’s decision will allow more room for innovation, and consumers will have more choices to determine for themselves how they access and experience the Internet. Verizon has been and remains committed to the open Internet that provides consumers with competitive choices and unblocked access to lawful websites and content when, where, and how they want. This will not change in light of the court’s decision.

Should we believe them? I’ll let you decide. All I know is that these companies operate off of dollar signs, and with an internet that can be bought or controlled by the companies that own the networks, anything is possible.

Via:  Recode
  • Joseph Cellieur

    Hmmm. Years in the making. Aren’t there reams and reams of case law regarding the telegraph companies vs a service such as DOW Jones stock reporting? Wasn’t there a benefit derived to people on the west coast who could trade stocks based on information they received “over the wire” that the Railroad owners weren’t entitled to receive? I think consolidation as you’ve seen where a transmission company becomes the studio makes sense but in years past the movie studios didn’t want to own the theaters. It wasn’t expedient for them to have to pay ushers, make the popcorn, etc. I’m not on anyone’s side. Just as always an interested observer.

  • Hotrodder4life

    i dont believe them why should after all the uncustomer friendly things they have done recently then tried to spin the garbage like they doing us a favor. also this is coming from 1 of there customers, only reason i still use them is the coverage where i go only other option is att and there worse imho.

  • wmsco1

    put your money where your mouth is . governments listen to money, you Or I don’t have enough money so that leaves only the corporations.

  • IanAndersonLOL

    All this means is under the current law you can’t enforce net neutrality, so the law needs to be changed. Call your congressman, call your senator, don’t admit defeat.

  • Joe Paul

    I vow to leave Verizon wireless within 6 months if nothing is done to restore net neutrality. I have been a life long Verizon customer but I must draw the line somewhere.

  • litobirdy

    would this affect optimum customers? or roadrunner any other home internet provide besides comcast,att,verizon?

    • DoctorJB

      Any ISP is now legally free to control what content you can see and how fast you can see it.

  • http://www.chasehammer.com/ Chase Hammer J

    This wont last, I doubt majority of people would allow any company to limit their access like your example. There will always be stupid people of course but I would still like to believe the mass would simply dump said company for doing this in favor a company doing the opposite (ie. T-Mobile). Sure there might be a fight as first but in the long hall people will catch on and vote on net neutrality with the most powerful thing in existence, their money.

    Edit: second thought on this also. In the world of hackers, VPNs and proxys this really would become a fight they would lose trying to control access to the highest bidder.

    • Adrynalyne

      Really, the companies who limit access to those who want it, will lose those customers. So the joke is on Verizon and friends, as they lose customers.

      • DoctorJB

        How many options for ISP do you have? A lot of places only have 1 or 2 (unless they want to do satellite or dialup). How long do you think it is before Comcast/AT&T does the same thing?

        • Adrynalyne

          Me?

          No less than 5. Granted, several are reselling service, but they still control the content themselves.

      • Mike Hilal

        AT&T was the champion for this Idea, verizon was the muscle. We’re all screwed if they dont appeal this to the supreme court.

        • Adrynalyne

          Lets hope. This is utter bullsh!t. Its like we are going back to AOL days, where the provider chooses our content.

          • Mike Hilal

            Ugh…seriously. They better appeal this to the supreme court, or we’re going to be majorly screwed. The first thing to go will be torrents, then streaming (that you dont buy through them), then you’ll start getting limited search results. It’s going to suck something awful.

    • Mike Hilal

      I bet there will be an appeal to the supreme court, there’s no way the FCC will just let this slide

  • Smashcat

    As soon as this new policy is used by an ISP to stifle an individual’s free speech, there will be an open window to fight this in court at the grassroots level.

    If you make it about “consumer rights” you lose every time. If you make it about individual liberties, you have a shot to fight this.

  • Steve B

    We need Google to launch their mythical wireless network.

  • B

    Sounds like someone has paid off the COURT!

    • Adrynalyne

      Are you saying our government (and every other one out there) might be corrupt?

      I am…speechless. ;)

  • Maui

    I liked my healthcare too, but I didn’t get to keep it :/

  • M C

    “competitive choices and unblocked access to lawful websites and content” so there goes torrent websites and sites like xda that teach and show you how to break and void warranties?

  • addicuss

    “The court’s decision will allow more room for innovation, and consumers will have more choices to determine for themselves how they access and experience the Internet.”

    Innovation… You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

    Anytime innovation is thrown into a press release by a major corporation I shudder. The whole line “consumers will have more choices to determine for themselves how they access and experience the Internet” speaks plainly enough. Verizons idea of more choices is more pricing tiers to nickle and dime customers with.

  • MasonMathews

    What I’ve learned in my time as a Verizon customer is, don’t trust them as far as you can throw them. Considering that they are not really tangible, I guess you cant throw them at all!

  • James Hill

    The judicial system is corrupted, needs revision.

    • Erik Parshall

      So does your grammar!

  • SA_NYC

    I’m just hopeful this means Big Red will bring back that fantastic V-Cast store, mmm, can’t wait!

  • fish1552

    I donvt believe Verizon any further than I can throw an Aircraft Carrier.

  • schoat333

    Like our “choice” to use as much data as we want up to our limit…. wait what? Typical VZW. Its all about the $$$ to them.

  • Hothfox

    If they don’t think the FCC has the authority to govern COMMUNICATIONS, who the crap do they think does have the right?!

  • Montrale Hammonds

    Google, we need you now more than ever.

    • Daistaar

      “Help us Google! You’re our only hope!”

  • danshafer

    This is far from over. This is going to the Supremes. Who will probably rule that any Internet Service Provider who wishes to do so can siphon as much money out of our bank accounts as it can figure out how to do as long as the corporate charter is willing to spend years in the slammer. What crap.

  • PrjctArchAngel

    phuck.

  • duoexo

    Looks like Newspaper is making a come back. Imagine Droid Life Magazine.

  • Droid Ronin

    Google Fiber…where are you?

  • Mike H.

    Yeah so this news and the fact samsung is going to usher in 1000 dollar phones. Goodbye smart phone hello house phone.

    This industry is getting ridiculous

    • nondimwit

      Remember these 1000 dollar smart phones are also regionally locked now too.

      • Mike Hilal

        If your bill is paid, they must unlock said device w/o question.

      • DoctorJB

        That’s only for initial activation. Use any sim you want after that.

  • thelolotov

    This is… bad…

    • Erik Parshall

      What? What problem? /s

  • joejoe5709

    Yikes. That is pretty serious. But we also live in a world of rooters, hackers, and developers. We will always find a way around it.

    This is just more reason for Google to start its own high speed internet and its own cell phone service.

    • kg2128

      Since Verizon is the one monitoring/controlling the packets of data, workarounds/hacks seem unlikely. Even if some people could do it I doubt they would.

      • CCX Silent

        If they dont block proxys I dont see why you couldnt use on to get around this sort of thing. Unfortunately using a proxy you loose a considerable about of speed.

        • sirmeili

          What is to stop them from blocking your proxy? If they are really trying to control what you can and cannot visit, the first to go will be proxies as soon as they can find them and block them.

    • addicuss

      I’m not sure people fully understand how bad this is. Lets say Google builds it’s own network and you go to.. I dunno netflix? does your connection at any point pass through Comcast owned wire? Oh it does? Well did you pay Comcast your streaming video recovery fee this month?

      • 0x52

        Which is why people look at other nations trying to make their own internet as a bad thing (they mostly want it because they think it will save them from the NSA, nothing will save them, but anyway). The internet shouldn’t be owned by anyone. It is for the benefit of humanity (and the corporations like Verizon who have benefited by the billions on it should just thank CERN, W3C, and Mr Tim for the opportunity they were given).

  • MistaButters

    This just put a death blow in any over the top cable solution. Do you think your provider is going to allow Apple or Google to give you a solution to go around a cable TV subscription? Yeah….I don’t think so.

  • user311

    Already switched to t-mobile, now just twiddling my thumbs as I wait for google fiber to get deployed to the nyc area so I can drop fios…..Still twiddling…

    • Tom

      You and me both.

    • kg2128

      Most of the country is twiddling unfortunately. I don’t know if it costs too much to expand quickly or if other companies like Time Warner/At&t/Verizon are preventing them from expanding quickly. In my area you have 2 choices U-Verse or Time Warner, and they take full advantage of the duopoly with their prices.

  • Big_EZ

    The individual keeps losing freedom and big business keeps gaining freedom to F*CK the individual. This all started when politicians said big business should have the same rights as individuals, and thus began “donating” to the politicians.

    • jamdev12

      In the last few days I’ve learned a lot about the 14th amendment. This is the law that allows corporations person hood. This wasn’t just recently done with citizens united. This has been part of the Constitution since the 1860’s. Hotly debated and equally upheld. The only way to get this done is to ratify the Constitution, which Congress looking at it at this moment in time, does not have the will power to do. Too much money is flowing through the halls of our political institutions and the more time passes the harder it will get to do anything about it until a majority of the citizenry revolts and over throws the government. Seems logical based on the current trend.

      • Big_EZ

        There is nothing in the 14th amendment that has anything to do with giving corporations person hood. However, corrupt politicians will twist anything in the Constitution to fit what they want it to mean in stead of what it actually says. It’s one thing to allow businesses the rights of the individual, but as soon as a business forms an LLC, Co-op, or Corp, they should no longer have those rights as they now have a new set of rules to protect them.

  • jimt

    This is just the phone overloards not comcast or other isp’s right?

    • Keith Taylor

      Dude trust me comcast might not be part of it right now but if passed they will jump feet first.

  • John

    If DL slows down ill just out by your pad and you can yell updates at me out your window lol.

  • EC8CH

    Silly Internet…. you’ve had your fun.

    Now kneel before your new Overloads!

  • jimt

    It is simple, DUMP Verizon.

    • Justin W

      That’s not going to help stop the ruling from taking affect. This will affect all ISP’s, not just Verizon. No one in the US is safe :(

      • jimt

        Yike!

      • danshafer

        What you said.

      • jamdev12

        Will just have to wait for Google fiber to reach every one. Or create a citizen corporation where we put money into it and we build a new internet. Companies that want their freedom back can move from the old to new network.

        • KleenDroid

          I’m in! Everyone can send their money to me and I’ll get the ball rolling.

        • addicuss

          This won’t fix anything. Even if google fiber magically rolled out nationwide, the second anything had to pass through a different network your traffic could potentially be blocked or slowed down by the owner of that network.

  • Rocketdaddy

    Today’s story just gives me one more reason to run from big red. I do not doubt for a second that Verizon will play this ruling for more ways to own their customers’ wallets. I question the intelligence and/or sanity of anyone who can’t see that Verizon is all about immediate profits these days. I miss the years when they made me feel like I was getting good value from them.

    My last family contract with Verizon runs out on my birthday in a couple of weeks. We’re going to pick up a family set of Nexus 5s on T-Mobile. My bill will be half what it has been costing me at Verizon. We picked up a cheap phone and tried out their service with one of the free Sims they’ve been handing out and T-Mo actually has far better service where I live and work when compared to Verizon. Can barely wait.

    • Robert Goddard

      Why wait? Tmobile will pay your ETFs and send a breakup letter to VZW for you.

    • Omar Amer

      this ruling applies to any service that provides internet. so not just big red, but att, tmo, sprint, comcast, cox, and tw. since they provide internet, they can do whatever they want with the network as long as they still provide internet services. so tmo can prioritize bing searches over google if microsoft paid for that.

      only reason big red made a statement was because they were active about fighting for it.

      • capecodty

        Yes but honoring true net neutrality could be a great selling point for ISPs, and t-mobile seems to be selling to the very customers who would appreciate this move.

        • MK17

          Yeah and if they advertise it (especially on the internet), you know it’s true.

          • DoctorJB

            At least until Verizon blocks tmobile.com.

    • danshafer

      Sure, but who’s better in this regard? Nobody, that’s who. Verizon carried the water on this but all ISPs — every one of them — are clapping their hands in glee and already counting the millions of dollars of new revenue they’ll drag out of Web hosts who are willing to pay for preferential treatment.

      Then we’ll start seeing sites that say, “Best viewed on Comcast” or “For faster load times, switch to Verizon.”

      • Rocketdaddy

        Yeah but I’ve been building my list of reasons to hate Verizon for quite some time (can you say Nexus or Google Wallet or data caps?) It’s just time to give someone else my money for a while. Seeing Verizon front and center in today’s announcement just pokes me in a sore spot.

  • Ryan

    Soon companies will say instead of unlimited data or lower price but we offer Netflix or Pandora, Spotify or worse Google apps. This would be a horrible advancement in technology.

  • Ryan
    • AngryBadger

      It should be branded on his forehead… lol…

  • funkylovemonkey

    I totally believe Verizon’s assurance that they plan on not using the right they just spend millions of dollars in court to get.

    • Mayor McCheese

      Net neutrality = Socialism. The kiddies just want unlimited free stuff. It beats getting a job.

      • funkylovemonkey

        That’s a joke, right? I’m not sure you know the meaning of either net neutrality or socialism.

        Look, I’m a free market capitalist. Removing net neutrality is a decision that hurts business, which is why companies like Amazon and Google champion net neutrality. Without it, ISPs are more likely to engage in unfair business practices that reduce competition and encourage the growth of monopolies, all things which are poison to capitalism. This is about preservation of the free market system that is the internet. These companies already often enjoy monopolies in many regions across the United States, and giving them sole discretion to decide what you or I can or cannot access would give ISPs a ridiculous amount of power. Walmart could pay to make sure whole sections of the country that only have access to Comcast internet are not allowed to go to the Amazon website, or at least throttle the Amazon website to the point where it as unusable. This would not only destroy competition, but those added prices to maintain that system would be passed on to the consumer. And since few Telecoms have enough competition to have any incentive to behave, they quite simply won’t. Why would they? It would hurt businesses that depend on the internet, it would hurt consumers who more and more rely on the internet, and it would hurt the United States economically as it would introduce profound inefficiency while the rest of the world would not be hampered by a non-neutral internet. Why the rest of the world would be able to buy and trade freely across the internet, the US would be stick in a monopolistic state where the ability to go to certain sites is determined by how much companies pay your ISP rather than the merit of the business.

        I don’t know about you, but I pay quite a bit a month for my internet, both at home and on my family’s phone plans. Nobody here is asking for a free lunch. This is about keeping in check the power of Telcoms who already have far too much power already.

        • SA_NYC

          Very well said (and written), sir.

        • Big_EZ

          Yep. Also I. This country we don’t quite have free market capitalism anymore. Much of the regulations passed by Congress are in favor of big business, not consumers, capitalism, or small business. This would only further that, which is why your seeing it go away, it’s being paid for by big business (don’t worry, you’ll get a chance to pay later).

          • michael arazan

            Everything is being Monopolized. More and More The Sherman Anti Trust Act is being ignored. This is the law that is supposed to keep business’ from being too big to fail and prevent monopolies.

            We need new laws that prevents corporations from being involved with our government. Too Many companies have a revolving door practice where execs leave companies and go to work in our government to get companies less restrictions, for example Like Goldman Sachs who should of collapsed in 2008 and Monsanto who is genetically altering, with no benefits whatsoever, our food just to monopolize it with patents,while destroying the original organics. Not to mention companies giving unlimited amounts of money to re-elect representatives who do their bidding. The Filth is piling up exponentially.

        • John Legere
        • brad kou

          every article i’ve read said that they would just have connections be faster for certain things. Would they actually completely block those connections though? Is it within this ruling to allow that sort of stuff?

          • funkylovemonkey

            It absolutely mean Telecoms could block or throttle sites. They’re certainly not offering anyone upgrades to bandwidth. It’s all in the phrasing. When the Telcoms (and those arguing against net-neutrality) explain it, they avoid words like throttling and instead they say that they want to offer companies like Amazon or Netflix premium packages to gain full access to their bandwidth. Which sounds nice, until you realize they would be making these companies pay for what they have right now under net-neutrality.

            The 2010 rules that were struck down was actually in response to Comcast throttling their network. In other words, they’ve already tried it, and now the rules are gone they can do it again.

            You’ll still have your 20 mbps connection, but if Amazon doesn’t play ball your speed when accessing them could be cut down to 1 mpbs or even cut off entirely. They avoid saying words like “throttled” or “cut off” because that would make them look evil, but essentially that is what they’re doing. Under the ruling, everything was struck down except Telecoms have to tell you if they do it. So, when Netflix or Youtube of Gmail suddenly doesn’t work, you’ll be able to go to Comcast and somewhere buried in their site they will list the sites they have throttled. Which is comforting I guess.

            Here are some articles that explicitly mention that this ruling allows Telecoms to throttle the internet and block competitors:

            http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2014/01/14/court-strikes-down-fccs-net-neutrality-rule/

            http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-net-neutrality-20140114,0,522106.story#axzz2qSEil9As

            http://www.pcworld.com/article/2087441/appeals-court-strikes-down-fccs-net-neutrality-rules.html

            http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2014/01/net_neutrality_d_c_circuit_court_ruling_the_battle_s_been_lost_but_we_can.html

          • Lambert

            Yes they have already tried to throttle but rules and laws already exist to prevent it. All they need to do is enforce them. See this article written by a former FCC commissioner:

            http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303848104579308313402913926

          • michael arazan

            Those premium services they disguise with the word “Innovation.” Innovations to them means more money for less services.

          • addicuss

            Yes the ruling doesnt say they have the right to improve traffic. They have a right to control traffic. According to the ruling they can basically block anything they want for any reason. The reason you only hear of improving traffic is because that baits most idiots into thinking its a good thing, or at worst, not seeing it as the big deal it actually is. After all everyone likes improved things right?

          • michael arazan

            If they only allowed everyone to use Verizon’s apps and have access to 50 websites then yes their services would be blazingly fast.

          • Higher_Ground

            you can’t make connections faster for certain things without making it slower for everything else. I think they wouldn’t completely block anything, just make it look like AOL dial-up back in the day.

          • Joseph Cellieur

            Yes but brad if they have a judicial edict that tends to slant towards their right to limit their own traffic, you can pretty much guarantee that their techs and the people with access to the big routers will show up on monday doing precisely this. Wouldn’t you? Laws are like signposts. They give guidance. Behavior moves much more quickly.

        • Lambert

          If you are indeed a free market capitalist as you state, I fail to see how you agree that it is okay to tell a provider how they should utilize the network THEY built? An analogy would be, say, the EPA sends an order to you that you can not smoke in your house because it may harm your neighbor, or guests at your home.

          Yes smoking is bad and the secondhand smoke may harm your guests, but it is your home. Yes throttling one provider over another is not good business, but, as a free market capitalist you should agree that it would be the MARKET that would determine the outcomes not the government.

          If Comcast throttles Amazon, Amazon could reply by denying Comcast’s servers requests to their service. Same with Google etc. How long do you think it would take for Comcast to restore bandwidth when you have every customer calling up and asking why they can’t get access to Amazon at home but they can on their cell? The same could be said for Verizon.

          As soon as the Government has control via Net Neutrality, THEY have the say as to what is “equal” bandwidth. Who defines equal? The FCC. What if Google or Amazon spends enough money in political donations that they get a former employee promoted to head the FCC in the next administration? Do you think they will be an impartial fair angel and will not lay out rules to the providers that would favor their former company for which they likely still hold a great deal of stock in?

          Corporations are not benevolent and neither are those in government, especially when you consider the revolving door of big business and big government.

          What value does AL Gore bring to Apple serving on its board of directors?

          • fauxshizzl

            Wipes tear* That was beautiful.

          • DoctorJB

            In many places, people only have 1 or 2 options for ISPs. IE, the ISPs often have a virtual monopoly. The free market doesn’t work on monopolies (especially since those monopolies often own the lines and can prevent competition).

          • Lambert

            Monopolies only exist because governments facilitate them. Who allows the corporations to run fiber or cable? It is first the approval of Local, then County then State, then the Federal Government.

            How many pockets need to be greased before anyone is allowed access to the infrastructure.

            It is not a free market….

          • DoctorJB

            Free markets are like socialist utopias, they don’t exist. If there wasn’t a government in the way there would Pinkerton-esque agents enforcing the will of the big corporations.

          • Lambert

            The last time I checked Government has the sole monopoly on the use of force. People or corporations only have the right to use force in retaliation of force initiated on them. Which is why companies have security guards and most people have a baseball bat or gun in their home.

            Should the Verizon “Pinkertons” show up, and there are too many of them for me to scare off with my bat or gun, I would be forced to call the police as no corporation has the right to initiate force on me.

            In regard to the Pinkerton reference I think you need to re-read your history.

          • Jeff C

            ^^^THIS^^^

            Thank you for expressing what I didn’t have the time to say. :)

          • funkylovemonkey

            I am a free market capitalist. However I’m not an unfettered free market capitalist who believes the only thing the Government should be involved in is enforcing contracts, which is so in vogue in politics these days among libertarians. I understand that, like any system created by humanity, capitalism needs to be guarded from excess and corruption to remain healthy. That means maintaining competition and preventing anti-competitive behavior, preventing monopolies from forming (which contrary to what some have said here, do form naturally inside an unfettered free market system… they certainly did in the United States a hundred years ago), and guarding the rights of the consumer.

            The idea that any one company or entity “built” the backbone of fiber and cable that makes up the internet is entirely flawed. It was built by a combination of hundreds of private companies and government agencies operating across the world. Just because one company happens to control the fiber in a particular town or city doesn’t mean they should be able to control access to the internet inside that city. Chances are they bought it or leased it from the city or another company anyway.

            The key here is the internet is not a commodity, so it should not be treated as one. Rather it is a commercial pathway, a roadway we’ve decided to mostly privatize. It’s a channel of economic efficiency. It allows the free flow of information and commerce in an incredibly efficient way. Telecoms should not have the right to gum that up just because they want a larger slice of the economic pie.

            You insinuate that the reason telecoms have monopolies in most areas is because State and local governments are corrupt and only allow one or two to lay fiber in certain areas. That isn’t true. The fact is, laying down fiber is incredibly expensive especially in areas of low population density. Since the United States has an unusually low population density compared to much the rest of the world, that complicates things. And so, in order to lay down fiber in most of these areas one of two things happen (since the free market would dictate that these low population areas be ignored for the more profitable high density areas). Either Telecoms are heavily subsidized or even just flat out paid to lay fiber in these areas, or local or state governments foot the bill and then turn over the fiber to these larger companies. For instance, one highly publicized example of this was in Provo Utah, where Google recently announced they were bringing their Google Fiber. The backbone for that was already laid by the city of Provo, who spent over forty million to lay that fiber, Google was simply able to swoop in and for a fraction of the cost take up all that infrastructure and is now profiting off it, despite not footing the bill for the original network. This is far more common than Telecoms would like you to believe. So the argument that Comcast or Verizon somehow created the entire backbone of these networks is demonstrably false.

            In your example with people complaining to Comcast about Amazon being throttled, in areas where Comcast has a monopoly why would they care about people complaining? Are they going to move to get better internet? Of course not. And if they can’t change their provider, then Comcast can do whatever they want and Comcast customers will just have to take it.

            Finally, sure the FCC can be corrupted. Any human organization can. Fortunately the FCC does not exist in some sort of tyrannical nether region. They are subject to the laws of the United States, the Courts system (which this entire thing is about), and have safe-guards in place to prevent overreach or corruption. The five commissioners are appointed by the President and then confirmed by the Senate for five year terms. Out of the five, no more than three can be of the same political affiliation and they are all prohibited from having any financial ties to businesses controlled by the FCC.

          • Lambert

            Please name one naturally formed (i.e. non Government facilitated) monopoly and I will relent my case.

            At no point did I state one company created the backbone of the internet.

            Yes creating an infrastructure is expensive. I insinuated nothing. I stated they need the approval of many forms of government to create the infrastructure. Was I incorrect?

            It does cost a lot money to run fiber and cable. Why would someone enter a market to try to compete for 50% of 100 possible customers? They wouldn’t. If a government decides to do it to be “benevolent” (i.e. get votes in the next election) and then turn it over, that’s your tax dollars at work. And a different argument entirely.

            Let’s look at your example of Google purchasing some infrastructure another company created. They now own it no matter who put it there in the first place at whatever cost. It should be their to do with as they wish.

            Comcast leases lines from company or Government X. Operate under the terms of the lease.

            In areas where Comcast has a monopoly get satellite. Or only use cellular. Or GASP go without. For pete’s sake this is not like food or water that we can’t live without. Though it is getting closer and closer to that for some people it would seem. The point is you DO have a choice. They may not be as nice of a choice as living in a more populated area, but that is why I chose to live only in more populated areas. Again my CHOICE.

            Unfortunately now the FCC does reside in a tyrannical nether region. As of late last year the Senate changed the rules for Presidential appointments to only require a simple majority for confirmation. Perhaps you were not aware…

          • funkylovemonkey

            There are naturally formed monopolies. In the 1870s through the early 1900 the United States had a system of laissez faire capitalism which meant no regulation and a reduction of governmental interference. Neither did the government create these monopolies. Many of these companies later used their massive wealth and influence to abuse local state and the Federal government to secure their status as a monopoly, but make no mistake, they were monopolies first.

            The most famous was Standard Oil company, which the Supreme Court ruled was an illegal monopoly 1911 and divided into 33 smaller companies. Rockerfeller created Standard Oil without facilitation of the government and quickly began destroying or absorbing most of his competition. The size of Standard Oil meant he could leverage prices in such a way that other companies couldn’t compete, and when they inevitably fell he either bought them up or scrapped them and then raised his own prices. When states tried to counter his actions, which they did, trying to limit the size of his company, he formed a trust that stretched across state lines, effectively neutering any action states could take against them. This was a naturally formed monopoly with did not receive special dispensation (indeed government tried to stop it from its earliest days) or was facilitated by the government, unlike say AT&T once was.

            The FCC commissioners still have to be confirmed by the Senate, even if it’s just by a majority now. I don’t see how that changes the fact that the FCC Commissioners have limited five year terms, have to be appointed by a democratically elected President and approved by a democratically elected Senate, cannot have more than three members of the same party as members, have to abide by the laws passed by Congress and are subject to oversight by the judiciary. Just you saying they’re tyrannical doesn’t mean they are.

            Again, you keep on speaking of Internet access as a commodity. It’s not.

            Finally, this isn’t just an issue of whether you’ll have to pay more to use Amazon or if you won’t get youtube videos if you live in certain regions, although that is certainly at stake. The Internet has become a vital part of the economy, not just here but throughout the modern world. It is now the primary way businesses move goods and transfer resources, in a far more efficient way than was possible before the internet. For it to run smoothly and efficiently (and efficiency is at the heart of economics) the lanes of the internet need to be open and free of interference from a thousand different Telecom fiefdoms. Just as we don’t let Walmart close down the roads and railways to impede the business of its competitors (even when those are PRIVATE railways), so should we not allow Verizon to close down sections of the internet from their rivals.

          • Lambert

            Thanks for the un-needed lesson on the “Gilded Age”, but let’s take a closer look at Standard Oil. They were able to grow to the size in which they did with the direct facilitation of Government Tariffs on kerosene. The patent system also did a good job of shutting down the competition at the time. (Think about what would have happened to Apple or Google should some of the patent lawsuits gone differently)

            At its height Standard Oil owned approx. 88% of the market. When they were split in 1911 they had 64% of the market. This is by no means a monopoly but history rarely recounts actual numbers. Google currently holds about 51% of the cell phone market. They have been “gobbling up” related industries and competition. Should we start to think about splitting them up? Oh wait they have that lovely slogan “don’t be evil” so they must not be. What’s Apple or Microsoft doing over there… Wait Microsoft just sent us they guy that used to run Office to fix the ObamaCare website. They’re okay. Apple you get down here for a congressional hearing, oh yeah Al Gore is sill on your board of directors, come over here and get your slap on the wrist and go back to Cupertino. (Forgive my digression)

            Goods are not moved via the internet. The internet to the average consumer is a glorified mail order catalog. Amazon is the new Sears Catalog on steroids. The goods consumers purchase on the internet are not moved on the internet, They travel out just as anything would from Sears Catalog. Is it the “heart of our economics”? I think you give it too much credit. In 2012 the internet accounted for 4.7% of the US economy. That number puts it more in the hand or kidney territory.

            Seems to me you are avoiding facts and assigning a value to it based on your personal feelings.

            Also don’t mistake, and misrepresent what I have already stated, and that is that the practice of throttling is BAD. However there are sufficient laws in place now to stop the throttling. Why do we need more? Does it make us feel better?

            Finally back to the FCC. It is a SIMPLE majority in the Senate. i.e. party line votes now pass on through. The magical judiciary you point to is also appointed via the same process. So you can stack both decks as the President, if your party has the Senate. Yet nobody cares. (Maybe they don’t know…) To stop appointments you have to take it all the way to the Supremes. The 5 year term would likely be up by then. You also underestimate the amount of damage that can be done in 5 years.

          • funkylovemonkey

            I don’t know why I’m still arguing with you, this is pointless, but I’m bored.

            The FCC – Despite Democrats controlling both the Senate and the Presidency, the Judiciary had no problem issuing this ruling which went against their stated policy. You can split hairs about majorities, but what we’re talking about is matters of degrees that are still in the hands of voters and an independent judiciary.

            Standard Oil didn’t succeed simply because of Kerosene Tariffs, and Standard Oil never asked for those Tariffs nor were those Tariffs passed to help Standard Oil. In act Standard Oil didn’t even want them, because eventually they hurt their own profit margin. Of course government and business always intersects, even when government has a hands off policy, but that’s a far cry from government facilitation. Even in a libertarian paradise there would be some sort of intersection of business and government, but again that does not equal facilitation. What’s more there is no indication that Standard Oil needed those tariffs to succeed, it was simply another tool they used to strengthen their position early on.

            Internet as a part of our Economy – The problem with the 4.7% number is that it applies only to those companies whose business is the internet. So it counts Google and Yahoo and Telecoms. It doesn’t count Apple or Microsoft or any other company that just is heavily involved in the internet. What’s more, you would be hard pressed to find a business that doesn’t now rely on the internet to facilitate the movement of money and goods. From your local grocery store to your regional construction company, they depend on the internet and can do their business far more efficiently with the internet.

            We aren’t just competing with ourselves. If other countries don’t have these rules and we do, we are at a disadvantage.

            Yes, goods aren’t directly transported over the internet, thanks for that.

            The reason the FCC interceded in 2010 was that the law allowed throttling and Comcast was doing it. And many many legal experts disagree with you on this issue.

      • Vernon

        If you believe in the fairness/effectiveness of our current economic structure, I’m sure you don’t know this.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM

        • Vernon

          Not to say I’m a socialist. But I don’t think that is the “capitalism” anyone on this site has in mind… More like financial aristocracy.

    • trixnkix637

      ^This.. Who does Verizon think they’re fooling with that rhetoric?

      • Marjorie William

        my&nbspneighbor’s&nbspaunt&nbspΜ­­­­­­а­­­­­­κ­­­­­­℮­­­­­­ѕ&nbsp$­­­­­­­78/հ­­­­­­օ­­­­­­υ­­­­­­r&nbspon&nbspthe&nbspl­­­­­­а­­­­­­р­­­­­­τ­­­­­­օ­­­­­­р.&nbspShe&nbsphas&nbspbeen&nbspout&nbspof&nbspW­­­­­­օ­­­­­­r­­­­­­κ&nbspfor&nbsp8&nbspΜ­­­­­­օ­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­հ­­­­­­ѕ&nbspbut&nbsplast&nbspΜ­­­­­­օ­­­­­­ո­­­­­­τ­­­­­­հ&nbspher&nbspр­­­­­­а­­­­­­У&nbspwas&nbsp$­­­­­­­13420&nbspjust&nbspW­­­­­­օ­­­­­­r­­­­­­κing&nbspon&nbspthe&nbspl­­­­­­а­­­­­­р­­­­­­τ­­­­­­օ­­­­­­р&nbspfor&nbspa&nbspϜ­­­­­­℮­­­­­­W&nbspհ­­­­­­օ­­­­­­υ­­­­­­rs.&nbspRead&nbspmore&nbspon&nbspthis&nbspѕ­­­­­­і­­­­­­τ­­­­­­℮,… &nbspWW&#x57&#x2EGiftpresidentsDay2014washingtonget&#46&#x71r&#x2E&#110&#x65&#x74&#47&#109&#x57qZ&#47

        ❀❀❀❀ ❀❀❀꒶❀❀ ❀❀❀❀ ❀❀꒺❀❀ ❀❀❀This is just more reason for Google to start its own high speed internet and its own cell phone service.

    • Steven Strain

      I can see it now, Verizon Online. Just like AOL, only better. :(

    • michael arazan

      The key word in verizon’s statement was “Now”. Remember verizon’s other Key Phrase “Subject to Change.” Right now nothing will happen because they weren’t going to spend time and money until they paid the judge off to rule in their favor to make sure it’s legal. NOW they need time to develop it and destroy the internet as we know it with every other ISP to follow in suit.

  • Jeff C

    “According to today’s judgement, things aren’t looking so hot for the FCC.”

    Which means a win for true liberty and freedom. Quit listening to the political talking points of “Net Neutrality” and start looking at what it really means.

    Also, those big networks that cost billions to build, should be controlled by those that built them…not some un-elected bureaucrat.

    • Jack

      Then how about you provide some sources which argue your point, chief. You have an opportunity to potentially educate the rest of us with your enlightened views.

      • Jeff C

        I could…but I don’t have time. Google it. :p

        • Justin W

          Why would anyone want to break Net Neutrality?

          1. Ability to slow network traffic from specific companies
          2. Ability to charge premiums to access content from said companies.
          3. Ability to deny traffic from said companies.

          This could end in Netflix either not being allowed to stream through certain providers, or, as used in the example in the article, not being able to fully utilize Google’s search features without paying (potentially per search). This means that, no matter what, if we lose Net Neutrality, we’ll lose the ability to have a free and open internet, which was the point of the entire backbone of the internet in the first place.

          Edit: Also, screw the major corporations who wanted this to happen.

    • funkylovemonkey

      I really hate the dilution of the words “liberty and freedom,” thrown around without any concern for what they actually mean. Who exactly is gaining liberty and freedom? Not the people and businesses who depend and publish on the internet, as they will be forced to pay more for the same service they have now. Certainly not consumers, as we will have legitimate services and businesses we like and use blocked or throttled. The only freedom gained here is the freedom for ISPs to censor and throttle and demand high tolls to be preferred on their network.

      And about those billions that ISPs have spent on infrastructure. Much of that was paid by my tax dollars. In many cases it’s state and local governments that pay to put in cable or fiber and the ISPs simply lease or buy from them. I know that’s how it is in my city. And even then ISPs are the beneficiaries of generous tax breaks (according to the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy, Verizon paid -2.9% in taxes between 2008-2010… yes, that’s negative, meaning they received more in tax breaks then they paid), while still receiving incentives to expand their business and infrastructure. It’s not like these companies cannot be profitable under net neutrality, they have been tremendously profitable. They just want a little more slice of the pie at the expense of everyone else, which is how business works, but that doesn’t mean we have to prioritize their profits over the general good of consumers and businesses that depend on the internet.

      • Christian Brigham

        Wish I could upvote you more than once…

      • FknTwizted

        Ah don’t forget that most of them have a monopoly in their areas because they haven’t been deregulated and are usually subsidize by your local government. This is what we call double dipping.

      • Lambert

        So by your logic because the Government offered tax breaks to Verizon to expand, they are a part owner of their network. And by extension because you are a tax payer and they received credits you are also a part owner. So this now gives you the right to dictate to them how they should use their network.

        The government gives a tax credit to someone if they have a kid. Does this mean the government should have a say in how the kid is raised? Does the Government own part of that kid.

        If you went to college and it is was state school, your school received federal funds. I pay taxes. Part of that was my money. So I should have some say as to what degree you received following your logic.

        Verizon has no control of what is published on the internet. Only the federal government or the site owner can completely shut a site down.

        • sirmeili

          “So by your logic because the Government offered tax breaks to Verizon to expand, they are a part owner of their network. And by extension because you are a tax payer and they received credits you are also a part owner. So this now gives you the right to dictate to them how they should use their network.”

          No, but if what he is saying about the infrastructure being owned by cities and states and merely leased, then yes the Gov’t gets to dictate how they can use those lines. No different then when you rent an apartment, you agree to certain rules that you must follow or at least acknowledge that you’ll do what they want within reason (which I think net neutrality is well within reason). Even if they were merely given tax credits to expand, they were given those tax credits at the will of the gov’t to provide a service to the people (and since the Gov’t is run by the people, or is meant to be, it was at the will of the people).

          “The government gives a tax credit to someone if they have a kid. Does this mean the government should have a say in how the kid is raised? Does the Government own part of that kid.”

          They do. They require that I take care of my kid, if I don’t they take that kid away. Its a plain, simple fact. This isn’t done because I get a tax break either. They just do it regardless of the tax credit (Which BTW, you don’t always get a credit, you may only get a deduction).

          “If you went to college and it is was state school, your school received federal funds. I pay taxes. Part of that was my money. So I should have some say as to what degree you received following your logic.”

          No, you don’t. the Gov’t does. The gov’t assumes you will use that degree to get a better paying job and therefore put more money back into the gov’t via more taxes paid. Nothing in life is free. Verizon, on the other hand, feels that it should be free. “Pay for my infrastructure, pay for my expansion, and let me do with it as I please and F off!”

          “Verizon has no control of what is published on the internet. Only the federal government or the site owner can completely shut a site down.”

          With this ruling, Verizon may not dictate what is published, but they can MOST DEFINITELY control who sees it. As in their customers. And before you say “You can go to another ISP”, that is no always the case. In many places these ISPs operate as local monopolies and with that they have to follow certain rules because the free market CANNOT operate as it is intended. When you have only one choice, that is it. Where I live for the longest time you could only get internet from the local telco. Any other services were merely resellers of that same exact service. If the telco at that time said “you can visit any google site”, that was it, you would be done. No other options.

          Granted, we do now have more options (wireless, satellite), but those are poor replacements for hard wired internet. And if you think that most if not all other ISPs will jump on board and censor what you see, you are very naive. It only benefits companies like Comcast to block Hulu and Netflix so that users only have the option to use StreamPix (Comcast’s on streaming service). What is worse is that in areas where they have competition, they may decide to not block the, but in areas where Comcast is the only game in town, they can and force all those users to their own service or no service at all.

          • Lambert

            If Verizon, or any other company for that matter, is leasing lines owned by the government they should operate under the terms of the lease. If the lease states they can not throttle, or block service on those lines, so be it. Why is more legislation necessary?

            “No, you don’t. the Gov’t does. The gov’t assumes you will use that degree to get a better paying job and therefore put more money back into the gov’t via more taxes paid.”

            So in your world the government should and does dictate what degree you get? The last time I checked I did not need to get Government approval for my class schedule…

            “They do. They require that I take care of my kid, if I don’t they take that kid away. Its a plain, simple fact. This isn’t done because I get a tax break either. They just do it regardless of the tax credit (Which BTW, you don’t always get a credit, you may only get a deduction).”

            They don’t require you take care of your kid. They may take your child away if someone reports mistreatment, in time, but you do not have to submit proof of ability to care for a child before having one. They don’t even require you prove you are properly caring for your child before receiving the tax credit. It is also a credit not a deduction. Please reference the IRS.gov website.

            (Please note I am not advocating the government make one prove their ability to care for a child before having one. I merely used it as an example.)

            There are always options for service. You may only have one land base ISP in a certain area, but there is always satellite.

          • sirmeili

            “So in your world the government should and does dictate what degree you get? The last time I checked I did not need to get Government approval for my class schedule…”

            You are putting words in my mouth. What I said was that the gov’t may in fact help you get a degree (any degree you wish!) and in return the expect that they will eventually get more tax revenue. I never once said that they dictate what degree. It is true that the Gov’t may offer more help with certain degrees over others, but that is your choice to chose that degree and get the additional help.

            “They don’t require you take care of your kid. They may take your child away if someone reports mistreatment, in time, but you do not have to submit proof of ability to care for a child before having one. ”

            So in fact, the Gov’t dictates how you must take care of your children. Thank you for proving my point. The difference is that the Gov’t does not actively search out those that might be mistreating, but they do in fact set a level of care that one must provide. If you are reported and found to not provide a certain level of care, you lose your child.

            “They don’t even require you prove you are properly caring for your child before receiving the tax credit. It is also a credit not a deduction. Please reference the IRS.gov website.”

            This is my first year with a child, so I”m not 100% up to par on the tax laws regardign children. However, I make enough that I actually do NOT qualify for the credit (as per the IRS), hence why I thought there was only a deduction. So we are both right.

            “There are always options for service. You may only have one land base ISP in a certain area, but there is always satellite.”

            Due to the mere cost of satellite based solutions, I’ve never considered this an option. Not to mention that with these new rules, there are no guarantees that all ISPs won’t jump on board. I give in to your point though. I will always have options, even when the alternative is worst than what I have.

            None of this changes my mind though on net neutrality. I still, and will always believe, that information should be treated equally. If I honestly thought that any of the big ISPs would use this power to benefit customers, I wouldn’t have this concern. The problem is that they will eventually use this only to increase profits at the expense of consumers. At least that is how I see most of these big corporations. They value stock holders over customers and perhaps that is just the way it should be.

          • Lambert

            Should a ISP be leasing government lines let the terms of the lease stipulate the rules for bandwidth allocation. See a response I gave below. It’s that simple.

            In regards to my statement about me having a say in one’s education based on my tax dollars being used to pay for part of said education you said:

            “No, you don’t. the Gov’t does.”

            I put no words in your mouth or on you post. You put it right there in black and white.

            I did not make your point in regard to child care. There are currently no Federal child care standards. In fact the States handle the children when they enter into a foster situation etc. I don’t have to get a permit to have or keep a baby, but I have to get a license to drive a car….

            You get the credit no matter how much money you make. So you will get the credit. It is NOT a deduction. Again check the IRS site.

            Because you did not consider it based on cost, does not eliminate it from existence. You did have the option for satellite. Thus there is competition.

            “None of this changes my mind though on net neutrality. I still, and will always believe”

            If it is a belief, no amount of facts will ever change your mind. All the facts in the world can’t sway someone’s belief.

            If you are operating from the continual standpoint that all corporations are out to get you, I think that your fear is misdirected. Corporations come and go. They have no control over me or you for that matter. Don’t like a corporation, don’t give it your business. If that means you have to go without some particular thing entirely so be it. The Government however has more power over you than anything. If you should fear something that should be it.

            It’s funny the NSA story breaks and people could care less. But Net Neutrality is a BIG deal.

    • gpaine

      In a true free-market, you’re right. This is Verizon’s network, they ought to be able to do with it as they please. That being said, they have not had that right from the beginning. If they had it, we would have either dropped them long ago for any carrier giving us what we wanted, or the wireless internet as we know it would be much different. This is the social conundrum of giving the company freedom or the consumer freedom – the very thing a true free market would have initially dictated for itself.

      Still. If they take my free internet, I will pay the ETF – I won’t even ask Tmo to do it for me. Down with BigRed.

    • jak_341

      I get it. This is definitely a ruling against big government and a victory for free market principles. With this ruling, the FCC is essentially powerless. Perhaps we can out this agency on the chopping block.

  • ken147

    “There will be room for more innovation”

    Sure, and I’m the pope

    • FAL_Fan

      Well either you’re really Pope Francis…or Verizon is getting ready to bend us all over more than usual…

    • EC8CH

      “innovative” ways to pull more money from our customer’s pockets.

    • Higher_Ground

      Seriously, what sort of “innovation” could possibly arise from this?

  • Philip J. Fry

    F big companies. If they stop me from visiting this site, we gonna have to fight. lol

    • http://www.droid-life.com Kellex B

      :P

    • AngryBadger

      Seriously… remember all those nice deals DL posted about getting VZW phones cheaper… *cough* I’m sure VZW won’t mind slowing traffic to this site from now on. Or how about sites showing you how to root, etc.

      • Philip J. Fry

        I wouldn’t put it past them one bit. Bunch of sorry mofos.

  • Ej McCarty

    Give me droid life or give me death!!!!

  • Nathaniel Webb

    In related news, newly elected politician vows sweeping changes to root out corruption once and for all.

  • Ej McCarty

    Dafaq?

    Edit: any service made by Verizon is already shoved down your throat in the form of bloat ware.

    • AngryBadger

      And logos, don’t forgot the logos.

    • Travis Walls

      Eh, the best example I’ve seen for what net neutrality is fighting is something like this: You go to sign up for Verizon Wireless, and you’re offered several packages when you go to pick a data plan. If you go to social networking sites, why then you’ll need the Social Networking package for $5.99 a month. Heavy user of YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, and other video streaming sites? They use a lot of bandwidth, so that’ll cost you $9.99 a month. Need to get your game on with your favorite gaming apps? That’s gonna cost you an additional $5.99. The list could go on, and your access to the Internet would be arbitrarily limited based on whatever content they wanted to include in those packages. Think of how a cable company charges monthly fees for various sports and movie channel packages, even extra for HD channels, etc. Like the article mentions, I imagine we’d start seeing partnerships with carriers to determine who gets to offer the better services in each category. Sort of like how you hear that a TV channel is no longer available through a certain cable or satellite TV provider because they didn’t want to pay for the rights.

      I do find it interesting that carriers have already done similar things to this in the past. The first example is them trying to charge you more for access to “enterprise” e-mail. This has always seemed silly to me, because my corporate Exchange e-mail servers have always been accessible with the personal data plan. They could have just been blocking VPN connectivity, but who knows. The other is when they block certain network ports from being hosted on your connection for “your protection.” Honestly, I think I should be able to determine what comes in and out of my devices, not them. Then again, there are those I can think of who would benefit from things being locked down for them.

      All of that just to say: You think the bloatware is bad? You have no idea how bad it can get. At least for now you have a choice over what to use.

  • Dan

    Well that’s just stupid