They lost me at “social justice”

FCC-SJW-cartoon-blogThe new FCC Net Neutrality rules are out

I’m still wading through the four hundred page morass, but just eight pages in I’m horrified.

And I’m in favor of real net neutrality.* It doesn’t help that “social justice” is their admitted prime motivator (yes, they really do use that phrase, in exactly the way you’d expect a bunch of socialists to use it).

There’s a lot of verbiage about ensuring traffic fairness over the Innternet from the edge router, which folks who stop reading there will think is a good thing. There is, however, already a lot of spewing about controlling ISPs’ ability to “discriminate” against users under the guise of managing their internal networks. That is, they’re talking about both sides of the edge router.

You’ll see something about preventing “paid priority;” giving better speeds to people who pay more. That’s scary, because when you realize they’re talking about regulating the external Internet and ISPs’ internal networks, you also realize they’re talking about the customer loop part of said ISP network.

As Google Translate lacks a “Bureaucratese” option, I’ll put it into English: Everyone should get the same ‘Net access at the same price. If you’re stuck with 56K dialup while someone gets 1.5M DSL, that’s a violation. Never mind that the DSL user paid more. That’s discriminating against people with less money. Some small business bought a static IP T1 direct to the edge router, bypassing the congested ATM system serving the DSL users? Burn ’em at the stake! Unfair! Social Justice rules! We shall overcome! You better hope you don’t have 25M+ FiOS or the equivalent.

So far, I’m just reading the introductory crap about the why and what of their intent. I expect things to get much worse as I work my way to the “how we’ll f#(k over the elitist bastards with fast Internet.”

Past Internet chatter has claimed there’s some horrific regulation on actual website speech (similar to FEC fairness doctrine TV 1A violation) to be included in the new neutrality, in addition to the Ludditic smashing of the ‘Net “pipes.” I haven’t spotted that yet, but I still have hundreds of pages to go. Given the introductory “social justice” theme/rationalization/excuse-making, I won’t be surprised to find it.

* Real Net Neutrality

Rationally, in a world where consumers want access to services they pay for enough to also pay and ISP additional money just to get there, content providers, ‘Net backbone providers, and ISPs should all want the fastest cheapest access for all packets: it drives the profitable market.

Sadly, established companies don’t want that. Sure, they’d make more money in the long run, but they’re looking for big immediate profits (and high stock prices). So they’ll promise expensive fiber to the home and network expansions… but never deliver because the turn-up expense would cut into profits. “Fiber to the Press Release,” Techdirt calls it.

The FCC wants to fix this. Rational people would think: Let’s remove some of the regulatory and infrastructure tax burdens that make expansions that much more expensive. The FCC, irrational by definition, says, “The Internet is a commons like the airwaves. We have to regulate it to prevent the upcoming tragedy thereof.

The problem is, the Internet is not some naturally existing resource, a commons. It is a collection of private property built by people who risked their money. It’s not RF spectrum that anyone can broadcast on by sticking a copper wire in the air, broadcasts that anyone else can receive by sticking another copper wire in the air. The spectrum is. The Internet is a set of cables, transmission systems, routers, and other pricey products that people built, and then negotiated expensive interoperability agreements with each so they could share infrastructure. Hopefully, profitably enough that they can keep expanding and making more money.

In the RF world, the FCC pretends it’s needed to protect commerce by preventing two radio stations interfering with each other by using the same frequency in close proximity. The kommissars do this because they are too effin’ stupid to notice that the stations would rather not interfere with each because that makes both of them unreceivable. Notice that most radio “pirates” voluntarily cooperate to prevent just such QRM conditions. Deliberate, malicious jamming is another matter, best handled civilly when it does occur, then by the FCC panic-mongerers pretending that everyone is a malicious jammer held in check only by their noble knight-bureaucrats wielding ballpoint lances and shields of paper reams.

In the wired Internet, they don’t even have the excuse of “interference between users of common spectrum.” There is no such thing.

So — just as NASA has moved on to “Muslim outreach” — the FCC has turned from inept coordination of natural resources to “social justice.”


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