Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 Internet speed test! ×

Former FCC Boss: Data Caps Not About Network Congestion 238

An anonymous reader writes "Broadcasting Cable reports on comments from Former FCC chairman Michael Powell (now president of the U.S. cable industry's trade association) confirming what many have long suspected: data caps on internet service aren't just about network congestion, but rather about 'pricing fairness.' 'Asked by MMTC president David Honig to weigh in on data caps, Powell said that while a lot of people had tried to label the cable industry's interest in the issue as about congestion management. "That's wrong," he said. "Our principal purpose is how to fairly monetize a high fixed cost." He said bandwidth management was part of it, though a more serious issue with wireless.' Powell went on to say that ISPs had huge up-front costs which had to be allocated out to consumers, and those consumers were familiar with usage-based fees from paying their power bill or buying food. He was part of a panel with three other former FCC chairs. Dick Wiley agreed with his cost argument, adding that the marketplace was responding better than new legislation could. Michael Copps thought the FCC could question data caps a bit more, but wasn't opposed in principle. Reed Hundt said he wants the FCC to focus on getting better, faster, cheaper internet to 100% of the population."

Comment Re:Glenn Beck is a fucking moron. (Score 4, Insightful) 413

You have to listen to several shows and learn his method before you judge him.

If you can survive listening to more than one of his shows nowadays, then you are either previously brain-damaged, or are seeking to become so. He was tolerable and even somewhat balanced in his early days, but then he went off the deep end and into whatever he is now.

Comment Re:Gerrymandering (Score 1, Insightful) 215

The problem with that argument is that it is not-so-subtly segregationist - let the minority have their own small ghetto where they run things, but keep them out of our (much bigger) turf where we do as we want. SAR had a similar arrangement with bantustans during apartheid.

Thing is, if you have an ethnic minority with interests profoundly different from the majority, that's already the sign of a very fundamental flaw in that society, which is not going to be fixed by token gestures

Actually, that isn't how it turns out at all: there is no "ghetto" established, as the laws that the prevailing governing body passes will apply to the entire incorporated area (city, county, state, whatever). The key difference is that without the gerrymandering, there will be no voice in that governing body to represent the extreme minority's interests at all. So it's actually anti-segregationist, since it gives the minority a stronger voice than they would have otherwise.

Of course, that's if gerrymandering is done with the public's good in mind. More often, unfortunately, it's used just to strengthen a particular candidate's party. And that party's interests are more often solely the interests of the party itself, and not the citizens of the district the party claims to represent.

Comment Define "interaction"... (Score 4, Interesting) 63

On the whole, "interacting" via message boards is about as productive for education as typing with mittens on is for coding. Online courseware can provide students with reference materials and enlightening prose, the enhancement that comes with direct, rapid-fire human interaction is missing.

This is why medical, law, and engineering schools heavily promote study groups where you appear IN PERSON to interact with your classmates. The nuance of the spoken word, and the nonlinearity of conversation, adds a powerful dimension to the student's internalization of the material in ways you just cannot duplicate with words on a screen or paper.

Comment Re:Most of the voters do too - there lies the prob (Score 1) 326

America is no longer the land of the free

It has become the land of the free to be wiretapped, without warrant, without due process, without any valid reason

Somewhat yes, but mostly no.

There are still very high barriers to using warrantless-wiretap as legal evidence to support a charge. Just having a recording doesn't automatically mean you'll get to use it in Court, by far, warrantless or otherwise.

In addition, you should take some satisfaction in realizing that those who voted for this extension are themselves not exempt from it, AND they are mostly former lawyers who, because they are now politicians, probably have lots of skeletons in their closet that they would prefer stayed there. That the measure would pass therefore suggests that it's of little consequence in the big legal picture. Which is true.

But it makes great political hay in front of the right audience.

Comment Re:Well thats a relief. (Score 1) 519

They take democracy seriously in those states and they want to protect it at all costs, even if it means several million legitimate citizens are unintentionally deprived of the right to vote.

"Unintentionally"? Surely you jest. There's nothing "unintentional" about it: those deprived are statistically likely to vote Democrat (*).

And guess who is pushing to "reduce voter fraud" via these initiatives? Republicans.

(*) - And you would be too, if you had ever lived poor for more than a few days. The dog-eat-dog Republican vision sounds great, until you wake up a dog.

Comment Re:Interesting Algorithm (Score 2) 519

I am neither. I am a small business owner, and to me, Obama looks awful. Romney/Ryan looks decent in comparison, and will get my vote. I could say that Obama only looks good if you've never taken responsibility for your own financial wellbeing, but that might be disingenuous.

I'm a small business owner (C corp), and have taken responsibility for my financial well-being for almost two decades: my personal business is my sole source of income. Romney/Ryan would be a disaster for us.

Think it through. Health insurance is my largest line-item expense, and along with income security e.g. the ability to identify and win productive business contracts so that I can meet payroll is the greatest impediment to my hiring of additional workers. Romney/Ryan would do damage on both fronts, first by rolling back Obamacare and therefore making health insurance companies even more powerful than they already are, and by increasing unemployment via a chaotic and substantial reduction in government payrolls.

Larger companies, with established and deep credit, cash flows and contracts, could probably weather the storm for a couple years. I could survive maybe six months without an income to support myself and family. And then what? Limited unemployment benefits for me, and stupid policies that somehow magically "create jobs" while at the same time actively eliminating them.

In addition to being a small business owner, I have family members in the medical profession. So I can see several different sides to the situation. None of them look very promising if Romney/Ryan get a chance to implement their policies.

Comment Re:Interesting Algorithm (Score 0) 519

Actually, I know a lot of people who know what Ron Paul wants to do, they just do not understand what would happen if he could do it.

My theory is that they DO know what would happen, i.e. literal implementation of dog-eat-dog. We all say that we want that rugged individualism--- but for everyone but ourselves. Paul brings that too close to reality.

Paul has some good ideas, but take a look at Somalia to see how well they work once implemented on a national scale. Hint: not very well.

Face it, large groups of people need SOME structure and definition to which its members can then subscribe. Libertarianism rejects that reality.

Comment Re:I am a high-level autist (Score 3, Insightful) 163

If I had a "cure" available to me, I would refuse it. Why should I give up my giftings just to be like everybody else? Why can't I simply be accepted as me, just how I am?

Because you aren't the presentation that such a cure would be appropriate for. But since autism is a spectrum disorder, and still a fairly general diagnosis at that, your specific presentation doesn't generalize to the affected population. Heck, we don't even define that population very concisely yet.

I'm glad you see your condition as a positive one, and I sincerely hope that those around you also view your condition positively (and I use the term "condition" here with some hesitation, only because I don't know a better term and truly don't mean to be pejorative). But I know kids with the diagnosis who I'm not sure share your feeling---if they are even that aware. And their caregivers are greatly affected by their condition as well. Even something that just significantly improves their condition, without curing it, would improve everyone's lives immensely.

And at the rate of increase of Autism-related diagnoses without anything resembling a cure on the horizon, we don't have to continue much farther before society as a whole must plan for accommodations. Many children with the diagnosis will need intensive, life-long supervision. Think Alzheimers, but over many, many more years.

Comment Re:Where is this? (Score 1) 216

The "free" market where nothing can happen without government approval being described here is the US.

All of your examples are far from supportive of your position, and indeed are not even anti-capitalistic. You seem to be confusing the notion of "capitalism" with "anarchy", and you seem to be seeking the latter. (Look to Somalia if you need a quick anarchy hit, their system is fully up and running).

All the rules that you cite are ones that every business in the USA must follow, except for some common-sense exceptions. So those rules cannot be anti-capitalistic, because EVERY business must follow them uniformly. Thus, the rules are simply the implementation of reality.

The citizens of the USA have decided that we want generally safe products, generally truthful advertising, and general conformance to our tax obligations. The organizations you are maligning exist simply to implement those mandates. Are they perfect? No. But they are far from the evil, winged monkeys of doom that you seem to think they are.

Speaking as an actual businessman who owns and runs my own, incorporated (C) entity, I can confirm that there are a lot of rules to follow. But once you understand them, they all make sense and are pretty predictable. And since everyone else must follow them too, their cost of compliance isn't material because it's the same cost for everyone.

Pretty boring, actually, but reality tends to be like that.

Start a company here and do any amount of business, and more government agencies will come looking for you every day, each with their own giant set of rules for what you can and can't do.

Ok now I call bullshit. I don't think you have any experience with what you are talking about.

In over a decade of doing business, I have never had any government agencies "come looking" for me.

It's true that your Small Business Administration reference shows that corporate activities are regulated here in the USA. As they are everywhere--- and the overwhelming majority of those regulations are well-reasoned. Taking the length of the list of regulations out of context, as you have done, is a nonsense attempt to make a point that is genuinely unsupportable.

Would I like less paperwork? Sure. But my impression, after reading many of the regulations themselves, is that removing them would create opportunities for abuse that would ultimately destroy markets and opportunities as businesses, looking out for their own self-interests, took advantage. The individual rules as they exist today might not let YOU gain significant, unstable advantage--- but they prevent your competition from doing likewise. Which they would then use to stomp, starve, or litigate you out of existence even if your products were objectively better than theirs.

I'll let you in on a little secret: just having the objectively best product isn't enough to run a successful business. By far. A lot of those other necessary things are coded in the SBA regulations and elsewhere---they create a setting where businesses that truly do everything right can thrive.

Maybe you thought you had an objectively best product, yet failed at it as a business? That's hardly the market's fault.

Comment Re:However (Score 1, Insightful) 915

mostly they just vote to impose their morality on their neighbors, or to resist having their neighbors impose their morality on them.

Most Americans follow a live-and-let-live philosophy. We do have a few very vocal minority groups who wish to impose their codes of morality on the rest of us, however. But I wouldn't suggest that the majority of our 350M+ population are attempting that unless you are prepared to bring citations.

The American public finds it very comforting to believe that they are safe and free and an example to the world of how to do governance properly.

Most Americans surveyed DO in fact believe that our system is better than many others. They also believe that is is far from perfect, though we disagree on where the areas are that need improvement---and what those improvements should be.

In fact, the unchecked tyranny of the American government actually benefits most of the American people, as it ensures that Americans can continue to have their cheap goods and relatively steady jobs and not have to make any sacrifices to pay down the beyond-their-capacity-to-envision national debt.

It is true that America's consumer-driven economy benefits us, and large segments of the rest of the world.

As far as the size of our national debt, remember that we are a nation of 350+M people and the most productive economy in human history in both total and per-capita terms. As a percentage of our GDP, our national debt is much smaller than a typical American household's. And smaller than many other first-world households, too. It isn't unusual for an American to borrow 300% of their annual income in the form of a mortgage, for example; the USA's debt is roughly one tenth of that, at interest rates that make the money nearly free.

Granted, "a few trillions of dollars" is an astoundingly-large number. But without context, the number is meaningless. You have a few trillion cells in your body, for example, and several trillion sub-atomic particles pass through your person every second (coming from the Sun and elsewhere, but I digress). So what?

Therefore, anyone who points out the real injustices perpetuated by the American government, most Americans just write it off as conspiracy theory nonsense, without expending the slightest modicum of effort at checking the facts.

Actually, ordinary Americans seem interested to hear when our government does wrong. But they don't want to hear hyperbole: Faux News has pretty much saturated our ability to listen to that crap. But bring a well-researched, reasoned, and relevant example, and we're more likely than not to listen.

Slashdot Top Deals

It is now pitch dark. If you proceed, you will likely fall into a pit.