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Cable Companies Duped Community Groups Into Fighting Net Neutrality

samzenpus posted about 5 months ago | from the no-need-to-read-the-fine-print dept.

Businesses 170

walterbyrd (182728) writes Last week, it transpired that the big cable companies were bankrolling fake consumer groups like Broadband for America and The American Consumer Institute. These 'independent consumer advocacy groups' are, in truth, nothing of the sort, and instead represent the interests of its benefactors, in the fight against net neutrality. If that wasn't bad enough, VICE is now reporting that several of the real community groups (and an Ohio bed-and-breakfast) that were signed up as supporters of Broadband for America were either duped into joining, or were signed up to the cause without their consent or knowledge.

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LOL @ gullible fools (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220399)

I guess these were the same people who signed petitions against DHMO

Idiots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220489)

... VICE is now reporting that several of the real community groups (and an Ohio bed-and-breakfast) that were signed up as supporters of Broadband for America were either duped into joining, or ...

It goes to show that America is filled with IDIOTS

No wonder they elected Obama TWICE !!

Re:Idiots (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220501)

But... change! ... .. .

Re: Idiots (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220527)

Slashdot comments have officially hit rock bottom.

Re: Idiots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220633)

And your comment was helpful how?

So shut the fuck up.

Re: Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220791)

Appeal to hypocrisy.

Re: Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220795)

And your comment was helpful how?

Pot, meet the kettle...dick

Re: Idiots (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47221027)

Dick meeting kettle is not as fun as it sounds.

Re: Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47222003)

You just didn't smoke enough pot first.

Re: Idiots (1)

hey! (33014) | about 5 months ago | (#47221575)

^^^^ Now they have. Every level meta you go pushes the rock bottom that much lower...

Re:Idiots (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220917)

And Baby Doc Bushwa twice before that.

Re:Idiots (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220949)

Because voting for Dubya was a sign of high intelligence?

Re:Idiots (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47222073)

They are effectively the same person, so it really is just a distinction without a diffrence.

Re:Idiots (4, Insightful)

morgauxo (974071) | about 5 months ago | (#47221129)

You mean no wonder they elected GWB four times right? OK, he has had more of a tan these last two terms, big difference!

Re:LOL @ gullible fools (3, Informative)

kilodelta (843627) | about 5 months ago | (#47221791)

A pretty good swath of the population of the U.S. is essentially as dumb as a box of rocks.

So it's pretty easy to see how they could be manipulated into supporting something that was not in their best interest.

TIme to DeDup! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220405)

Otherwise, who's the dupe?

STOP THE INSANITY! remember that one?

while we're bitching about cable companies.. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220435)

where the fuck is the alacarte programming options? you bribed the fcc into allowing you to encrypt all video signals and go all-digital.. so now that every customer must have a company-provided receiver, recorder, or cable card... you no longer have ANY EXCUSE for not offering what customers demand -- the ability to pick-and-choose each individual channel or network they want and to only pay for those and not the hundreds of others which are pure junk and would never stand on their own if their existence depended upon viewer choice.

(satellite companies have nothing standing in THEIR way, either, for offering alacarte programming)

Re:while we're bitching about cable companies.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220541)

I can get all the shows I want without paying any premium or renting their shitty hardware, and they can't do anything about it ;)

Take whatever you can get from them, my friend. They'll certainly take all they can from you.

Re:while we're bitching about cable companies.. (4, Insightful)

C0R1D4N (970153) | about 5 months ago | (#47220759)

More popular stations help subsidize the cost of less popular more niche stations. Also, a la carte wouldn't help your bill; the pricing for a la carte would ensure that you are still paying as much or more than you are for bundled tv.

Re:while we're bitching about cable companies.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220797)

More popular stations help subsidize the cost of less popular more niche stations.

And if you don't give a shit about those, or you only watch a few, you're objectively going to save money over the current system.

The real people that would be in trouble would be the leeches who make everyone subsidize them with crap nobody else wants to watch.

Re: while we're bitching about cable companies.. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220941)

A la carte would mean individual channels will be priced much higher. It's very likely your bill will remain the same or increase.

Broadcasters, like the one i'm employed at, send their signals to cable and satellite companies. A la carte would lower are viewers by a fair bit, equating to less ad revenue. That will force us to toss niche channels, and cause the remaining channels to be priced much higher.

Re: while we're bitching about cable companies.. (1)

fropenn (1116699) | about 5 months ago | (#47221477)

Tossing the niche channels would, presumably, increase viewership on the non-niche channels, thereby making them more profitable. Seems like there could be substantial savings for the consumer. I know I'm not supposed to respond to AC, but, again, the logic makes no sense.

Re: while we're bitching about cable companies.. (3, Informative)

Pope (17780) | about 5 months ago | (#47221795)

The "500 channel universe" of niche channels didn't pan out. The History Channel is now about pawn shops. There's simply not enough actual original content to supply the number of channels out there by genre, and certainly not enough money to start making those shows.

Re:while we're bitching about cable companies.. (1)

plover (150551) | about 5 months ago | (#47220947)

I don't want any of my money going to Faux News or any other Murdoch property. Without a la carte pricing, a portion of my cable bill funds those bastards. Today I can't change that unless I drop cable entirely, which means giving up Game of Thrones, so screw that.

Re:while we're bitching about cable companies.. (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about 5 months ago | (#47221367)

Have you looked at Now TV? [nowtv.com]

Sky channels without the cruft.

Re:while we're bitching about cable companies.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47221431)

Panem et circenses much?

Re:while we're bitching about cable companies.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220951)

I wasn't aware that cable companies where run by communists. That makes everything a-OK. /sarcasm

Re:while we're bitching about cable companies.. (1)

fropenn (1116699) | about 5 months ago | (#47221461)

This reasoning makes no sense. If it's a niche market, then there are other ways of reaching that market than making the masses pay for it. (Have they, perhaps, heard of the internet?) Further, I am guessing that most niche channels make their profit off advertising, not subscriber fees. So they would have a very low (or even negative) monthly cost to subscribers. These niche channels could even be "sweeteners" that the cable companies offer as a competitive advantage over each other.

Re:while we're bitching about cable companies.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47222135)

More popular stations help subsidize the cost of less popular more niche stations. Also, a la carte wouldn't help your bill; the pricing for a la carte would ensure that you are still paying as much or more than you are for bundled tv.

So what? At least then I would know that my money would be going towards stations/programs that I am interested in and not subsidizing crap I don't care about.

Re:while we're bitching about cable companies.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47222251)

Sort of...

Most cable companies would have gone to per channel buy a LONG time ago (better margin). However, the media companies insist on selling things in packages. So yes you are subsidizing, but not in the way you think. Of your cable tv bill a good 80-90% goes back to the media companies.

I use this site to keep up on the shenanigans the cable companies are doing. http://stopthecap.com/

Some people are upset it goes to 'murdoch' or 'faux news'. Which is actually a *tiny* portion of your bill. Disney on the other hand makes everyone buy ESPN 8 'the ocho'. A huge portion of your bill goes to them. The news stations are a pitifully small portion of your bill (which is why most of their 'news' is trash).

I personally gave up on them a few years ago. The cost vs media vs commercials was way out of wack. I was paying well over a hundred a month. I took that money and now just do what I really wanted. A la carte. I buy seasons of whatever I want to watch and still come out well ahead of the game. I can usually get 2-3 seasons of something for what it was costing me for 1 month. Every station out there went el-cheapo on their content (they had to). So you ended up with hundreds of 'reality' shows.

I still watch TONS of TV. I just dont have cable. DVD's rock and the bargain bin at wally world rocks too.

Re:while we're bitching about cable companies.. (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 5 months ago | (#47222371)

More popular stations help subsidize the cost of less popular more niche stations. Also, a la carte wouldn't help your bill; the pricing for a la carte would ensure that you are still paying as much or more than you are for bundled tv.

Actually, stations HAVE been moving to a la carte offerings. If you pay attention, a lot of stations which used to put their popular shows on one network and have speciality channels have been shoving their popular shows onto the lesser channels.

This means that the consumer not only gets to hear about the other channels, but it also means if you want to keep watching new episodes, you need to buy BOTH channels. History and Discovery are both guilty of this, forcing new shows onto the other channels.

So instead of being able to buy just one channel, each has adapted so you need to buy 2 or 3 each, thus negating any savings you would've gotten otherwise.

Not to mention that the niche channels now have to appeal to a greater audience, so the general quality level of programming has gone down because what once was a WWII only channel needs to carry content that appeals to the mass audience in order to get subscription money.

This applies especially to the specialized reality shows like Deadliest Catch, Sons of Guns, Ice Road Truckers, Pawn Stars, American Restoration, and many others where they start focusing on drama more than the actual topic at hand. Because the general public wants more drama, not just seeing people build/catch/tear down/etc stuff. Heck, series that have tried to stay close to their roots (say, Mythbusters) have gotten VERY little airtime - each "season" is only 4-5 episodes now.

It's why the call for a la carte has deropped - towards more per-program style purchasing rather than per-channel. Which may or may not improve matters as it may allow shows to return to their roots, or they may go greedy and try to dumb it down even more.

Re:while we're bitching about cable companies.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220801)

Hopefully it's in North Carolina soon.

http://wraltechwire.com/gigabit-Internet-speed-ala-carte-tv-service-coming-to-raleigh/13469275/

Re:while we're bitching about cable companies.. (3, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | about 5 months ago | (#47220967)

They have plenty of excuse:

1) We don't want to. Fuck you.
2) We don't want to. Fuck you.
3) We don't want to. Fuck you.

And lastly: We don't want to. Fuck you.

What benefit does alacarte give the cable companies that they would provide it?

ooh ive played this game before. (5, Insightful)

nimbius (983462) | about 5 months ago | (#47220445)

other things that are known to happen in american democracy with seemingly little if any recourse:

Oil company dupes community groups into fighting EPA regulations
Major food company dupes citizens into fighting a tax on soda
Cigarette company dupes consumers into thinking smoking is a right, not a crippling addiction
President dupes country into fighting country with no WMD's

Re:ooh ive played this game before. (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220475)

Actually none of that happened.
People weren't duped. What happened was that paid shills posed as communities fighting those things.
There isn't a community thinking that Snowden is a traitor and that we don't need more insight into what NSA does. There are however a couple of shills that wants to create that appearance.
No-one is duped by it, but politicians who wants it that way will point at the shills and say "Look what the community wants."
It works the same way like staging a riot just to motivate using force to get rid of peaceful protesters. Just because you staged violence doesn't mean that the real protesters were violent.

Americans are idiots ! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220497)

... Actually none of that happened.
People weren't duped. What happened was that paid shills posed as communities fighting those things ...

Yawn !!

Are you telling us that it was the PAID SHILLS who elected Obama TWICE ??

Re:Americans are idiots ! (1)

3.5 stripes (578410) | about 5 months ago | (#47220525)

No more than paid shills elected Shrub twice.

Re:Americans are idiots ! (2, Insightful)

Travis Mansbridge (830557) | about 5 months ago | (#47220557)

Actually, he was only elected once.

Re: Americans are idiots ! (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220739)

Hahaha....you libfags are still so butthurt. Go gaze longingly at the Obama poster on your wall and know that his two terms will more than make up for the Algore loss you find it so difficult to accept.

Re: Americans are idiots ! (2, Interesting)

Assmasher (456699) | about 5 months ago | (#47220903)

The irony here is that I think Obama has been tremendously disappointing, and yet he's light years better than the idiot that came before him...

Re: Americans are idiots ! (1, Informative)

BronsCon (927697) | about 5 months ago | (#47222087)

This. And so much of the reason he's been a disappointment has more to do with congress than with him. He wasn't the one gutting his own health care bill, was he? Mind you, he completely lacks any of the kind of influence required to sway the opinions of our representatives and bring them back in line with that the general populace wants; but, then, that being necessary in the first place if a failing of congress, not the presidency.

Re:Americans are idiots ! (1)

3.5 stripes (578410) | about 5 months ago | (#47221817)

I said shills, not dangling chads.

Re:Americans are idiots ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220553)

Thank you Mr Shill.

Re:ooh ive played this game before. (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#47220547)

Arguably, it's a bit of a hybrid phenomenon: neither pure misinformation nor pure purchase:

A large number of these assorted 'community' interest groups; are both relatively impecunious and relatively minimally informed, or interested, in the details of issues outside their mission area. It would be relatively trivial to, say, tell the group representing rural hospitals in Texas (one of the ones mentioned in TFA) that what's good for Comcast is good for rural internet access (this might even be true, since a time-honored technique for bargaining with the FCC is to promise to provide coverage to some totally uneconomic rural areas in exchange for the right to squeeze the much more numerous customers in some more profitable and denser markets. Going all the way back to the Communications Act of 1934, telling the FCC that you'll wire Podunkistan is approximately the equivalent of telling them that you love them for who they are, and generally about as honest.)

It is also the case that telcos and cable outfits, as with most large corporations, have 'philanthropic' arms, and here the 'bought and paid for' aspect takes on a greater role than the 'duped'. Some outfit that does gang-prevention for at-risk youth or some similar more-or-less-unrelated-to-broadband mission really has no business signing up pro or con; but if their operating budget is peanuts, and Comcast is kicking in part of it, it would be only polite to return the favor, no?

The one other aspect to keep in mind, specifically with telcos and cable companies, is the role of their employee structure: If you want to build infrastructure, nationwide, you need a lot of workers, including a lot of blue collar, tradesmen, and the like. Even if, in the long run, those workers might be better off in a more competitive climate(more laying cable and new service rollouts, which benefit the linesmen and splicers and bucket trucks, less buying fancy appliances from Cisco and Sandvine to wring more revenue out of legacy infrastructure), those workers can still answer "What has Comcast done for me?" a lot more easily than "What has Netflix done for me?", or any of the other internet-using companies, who tend to have relatively small, largely high-skill white collar, employee bases concentrated in a few specific locations.

This 'roots in the community' aspect is a nontrivial advantage: Somebody like Google or Netflix has customers in the community; but customers tend to be disorganized, and to perceive only small benefits, per company(though public backlash on net neutrality has been fairly strong, by the standards of policy wonkery, so they aren't totally ignorant of the value of the internet); but they only have employees, presence, relationships with local charities and Little League teams and such, in a few specific areas, if at all. A cable company or telco, though, has (although the name on the HQ may have changed a few times) been employing linesmen, trenchers, and service, maintenance, and field-tech people of all levels from 'guy with shovel' up through 'skilled tradesman' and 'local guru on freak issues with cable head-ends' for decades, and a fair few of them: Cable started rolling out ~1950, POTS predates 1900. Unless you are an utter failure at PR, or just a real, real, asshole, turning that into relatively broad-based influence over local 'good causes' should be an easy and natural process, however counterproductive you are to the long term interests of your customers.

Re:ooh ive played this game before. (4, Informative)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 5 months ago | (#47220961)

Hello, there. I'm part of that community you deny exists.

I think Snowden did something damned near treason. It's obvious that he broke the law and jeopardized aspects of national security, but the issue of mens rea is still in question. No evidence has been presented (other than his word and the government's assertions) that he was or was not acting for the benefit of society. Resolving that question is one of the primary functions of a trial, which is why I think a trial should be held. As it stands now, the victim of a crime has been denied due process, and the Slashdot hivemind is happy about it.

I also think smoking is a right, in the more general case that I believe people should be permitted to mutilate their bodies however they wish, at whatever personal expense they wish. That might mean using alcohol or other drugs, or engaging in risky behaviors like skydiving, automobile racing, or bacon eating. However, I also believe their costs to society should be suitably offset so that their choices do not cause harm to society as a whole, and their damaging activities should be isolated appropriately so that uninvolved bystanders cannot be harmed.

I'm not a paid shill. I just think a little bit before jumping on board with everything the dear hivemind thinks.

Re:ooh ive played this game before. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47221093)

I think Snowden did something damned near treason. It's obvious that he broke the law and jeopardized aspects of national security

I'm not a paid shill. I just think a little bit before jumping on board with everything the dear hivemind thinks.

Then let me just say: Fuck you asshole, thanks for helping to ruin America and the entire concept of the law.

As it stands now, the victim of a crime has been denied due process, and the Slashdot hivemind is happy about it.

That "victim" was caught, might as well have been red handed on camera, committing the worst kind of crimes and is claiming it should be illegal to bare witness against those crimes.

I hope your wife and daughters are violently raped and the whole thing is caught on camera showing the faces of the rapists, yet that video is not brought forward as evidence for fear of prosecution - just like you want to happen

It's just a shame the loved ones you will indirectly be responsible for harming would need to go through such a thing to get your hypocritical mind to warp itself to the side of justice, even if for all the wrong reasons.

Re:ooh ive played this game before. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47221171)

When you believe the victim is a colossal dick who is deserving of whatever misfortune may arrive, it's hard not to experience elation when misfortune does arrive. Even if you argue that we the people are also the victims, people tend to be willing to cut off their noses to spite their faces.

Re:ooh ive played this game before. (1)

Pope (17780) | about 5 months ago | (#47221821)

I also think smoking is a right, in the more general case that I believe people should be permitted to mutilate their bodies however they wish, at whatever personal expense they wish.

You do NOT have a "right" to smoke.
You have the right to CHOOSE to engage in risky behaviour.
Do not conflate the two, as they are not the same thing.

Re:ooh ive played this game before. (-1, Redundant)

BronsCon (927697) | about 5 months ago | (#47222181)

Smoking is as much of a right as not being forced to breathe a smoker's smoke, or cross the street when approaching a smoker to avoid it (only to get hit by a car while crossing, or worse, encounter a smoker on the other side), or leave a room to avoid said smoke. In fact, my right to *not* breathe in smoke trumps your right to smoke, in all cases. Why? Simple, read on.

When you smoke, you are making a choice that affects not only you, but others around you, by way of second hand smoke. When I choose not to smoke, I'm not emitting any odors or carcinogenic compounds as a result of that choice (regardless of what odors and/or carcinogenic compounds may otherwise be emanating from my person). You don't have to give up your right to use a public right of way (e.g. sidewalk or road), or your right to be in the room you are currently in, to avoid my choice not to smoke; however, in order to avoid your choice to smoke, I do have to give up those rights.

Right to smoke? Sure, in your own home, in the absence of non-consenting nonsmokers.

Now, take that concept and apply it to everything else you think is a right. Welcome to America, the land where your right to do whatever the fuck you want ends where my senses and health begin.

Re:ooh ive played this game before. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47222333)

...
Right to smoke? Sure, in your own home, in the absence of non-consenting nonsmokers.

Or, as it is *my home* - in the presence of whoever the fuck I feel like allowing to be there. Consensual, or not, in my home I am the king of my castle. If I grant you permission to enter my private property I also, implicitly, revoke your right to be a whiny bitch if I smoke around you while you are there.

You revoke your consent then you can go away. Same for my car, my yard etc. If I am going to be courteous in public about it (avoiding children, staying downwind, smoking in mini-concentration camps - whatever - then you get to leave your "rights" to interfere with my choices at the front door of my home.

Re:ooh ive played this game before. (1)

hey! (33014) | about 5 months ago | (#47222133)

Well, you're missing an important dynamic here, which is groupthink.

When people decide whether something is true or false, right or wrong, the first thing they do is look around to see what other people think. And this is actually not a bad heuristic. Sometimes when you're in jail for civil disobedience it's because you are, in Thoreau's words, "a man more right than his neighbnors". But most of the time it's because you're a mule-headed crackpot. You should at least consider the possibility that if everyone else disagrees with you, it may be because you're wrong. But most people go further. They play it safe by only having opinions they see lots of other people having.

So shills actually do something far more significant than trick politicians and civil servants into believing there are armies of just plain folks out there who care so much about the natural rights of cable companies that they'll donate impressive amounts of time and money out sheer public spiritedness. Shills alter the public perception of what a normal opinion sounds like.

This isn't Civics 101. This is how politics works in the real world. It's a little bit like stage hypnosis. When diplomats are surprised or outraged in that particularly insincere way they have, everybody knows it's phony. But somehow they go along with it because -- well nobody seems to know why. Same when a politician cites the support of some group that everyone knows is paid to express support. People know it's fake, but they react as if it were real

I think this gets to yet another function of shills. I think they function as a signaler of fitness in the Social Darwinism game. It's a bit like buying an ad during the Superbowl; it doesn't really say anything about how your beer tastes. It signals that you're a successful, Serious Player in the beer game. Having flocks of flying PR monkeys at your beck and call doesn't mean that those monkeys spout anything but gibberish. It means you've got the resources to be a Serious Player; a kingmaker perhaps, and you've put skin in the game. And so we go along with the gibberish, because it's more important to be on the winning side than the right one.

Re:ooh ive played this game before. (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 5 months ago | (#47220707)

Cigarette company dupes consumers into thinking smoking is a right, not a crippling addiction

Why can't it be both?

Re:ooh ive played this game before. (4, Insightful)

thaylin (555395) | about 5 months ago | (#47220997)

Because in this context the "right" is ensuring that your crippling addition can be done in ways that harm / potentially harm others, violating their rights.

Re:ooh ive played this game before. (1)

bev_tech_rob (313485) | about 5 months ago | (#47220733)

other things that are known to happen in american democracy with seemingly little if any recourse: Oil company dupes community groups into fighting EPA regulations Major food company dupes citizens into fighting a tax on soda Cigarette company dupes consumers into thinking smoking is a right, not a crippling addiction President dupes country into fighting country with no WMD's

No kidding......it looks like there would be some kind of FRAUD statute being violated with this nonsense (i.e. astroturfing)...

Re:ooh ive played this game before. (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#47220823)

Or at least some consumer protection law which prevents companies from engaging in blatantly deceptive marketing campaigns.

However, fake 'grassroots' foundations seems to have become the norm.

Re:ooh ive played this game before. (4, Informative)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 5 months ago | (#47220975)

Along with corporate "astroturfing" in the blogs and message boards of various sorts, I'm afraid. We've never been completely free from concealed or fraudulent advertising, but the fake "grassroots" campaigns have gotten out of hand. Even the "Tea Party" was apparently founded as an astroturf campain, with the concealed funding by Rupert Murdoch and the Koch Brothers. The Guardian did an excellent article about it at http://www.theguardian.com/com... [theguardian.com] : it might have been very, very difficult to print that in any of the Rupert Murdoch owned American newspapers.

Re:ooh ive played this game before. (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 5 months ago | (#47221379)

Meh, in this case who cares. Comcast et al are wildly outnumbered. Every company that benefits by the internet and those costs savings and profits best served by net neutrality are in a position to lobby politicians to ensure they get net neutrality. We are talking less than ten corporations attempting to take on tens of thousands of corporations.

It is all rather easy. All those CIOs and tech support types need to do is remind management what comes under risk with loss of net neutrality. Now broadband business opportunities gone, secure private communications gone, stable fast communications gone and endless price rises and communications extortion guaranteed. With tens of thousands of corporations and businesses reliant upon cheap, stable and secure broadband, calling politicians and lobbyists, who do you think will win, fewer than ten companies or a hundred thousand odd companies.

So type out the memo, run up that spreadsheet, pass the warning on to management about what they risk and let them drop a line to their pet politician, it'll cost them nothing and it will save the heaps and ensure new opportunities. In the end a bunch of politicians will take Comcast et al money but stab them in the back because there will be far too many other business to risk ignoring.

Re:ooh ive played this game before. (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#47221875)

I am less optimistic about the outcome of that than you are.

Because these ten corporations are huge.

And, let's face it, when the head of the FCC is a former lobbyist for them, the deck is already stacked in their favor.

Re:ooh ive played this game before. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220855)

But that's exactly what Jesus had in mind when he invented the glorious system of capitalism! (beware of sarcasm)

Re:ooh ive played this game before. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47221371)

This is a common tactic used by companies more than what you think.
An retired oil exec told me once.
There was a guy in Texas who had a monopoly on selling propane gas to consumers for heating etc. A natural gas company wanted to run pipes to the consumers. However, the local monopoly guy didn't want this competition. Solution. Create your own environmental group in which he was the president. Sue the natural gas company on envionmental and EPA grounds. Force them to do environmental studies, hold neighborhood meetings and get signatures to block the nautral gas company. Once his environmental company won and was able to stop the natural gas company from coming to town, his monopolistic business model was safe. He then disbanded the environmental organization and fired himself from his own organization.

Even private citizens do this.
In Escalante National Park and the town called Escalante the locals told me this story. A local rancher didn't want to pay for the water being pumped out of the town acquifier to water his fields for the cattle. He sued and won. The town wanted to build a resevoir dam so that the town could grow for the tourists and town needs. He created an environmental organization and sued on environmental grounds and required them to do impact studies, and found some endangered species to use in the fight. of course the small town couldn't aford a long drawn out fight and the costs of all the studies so they gave up and he won to keep the town from growing and disturbing his quiet way of living. Of course the locals want this self-proclaimed environmentalist to leave town.

New Normal (1)

dgr73 (1055610) | about 5 months ago | (#47220469)

New Normal in lobbying:

1. Get paid to lobby
2. Invent supporters
3. Profit!

Hey, I'd be for it! (5, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 5 months ago | (#47220491)

I think that bringing broadband to America would be pretty cool. I've heard good things about it...very slowly... from parts of the world that do have it, and it seems like we really ought to as well.

I'm just confused about why Comcast, of all people, would be in charge of operating such an initiative, given their apparent opposition to good internet connections...

Hey, I'd be for it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220661)

I get the sarcasm in that, but I had already stated this when /. first reported this about a week ago, that Cable Companies were already doing this. Government/politicians do this this all the time, PAC groups, censorship groups, ect ect, however those groups were created with the intent of creating propaganda to change laws and re-enforcement of laws, or simply for sabotage.

This is as low as one can get, those groups should be destroyed for backstabbing the public they claimed to support. I don't want to hear any bullshit about them being duped into supporting anti-neutrality, it should be pretty simple to figure out any funding trying to convince your group to oppose net neutrality, is a dead giveaway someone sinister wants your support.

Then again these monopolies maybe leaking this out as a PR spin, they figure people that believe in these groups and support them will scatter and lose interest in making sure net neutrality becomes a reality.

And of course the shit for brain press/media seem only interested in discrediting anyone to make a buck or gain an extra ratings point themselves. I find it very odd VICE reports this at a time when Congress and the FCC are about to make a decision on what needs to be done, instead of this getting leaked when FCC rumors and talks began.

Read the article first! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220665)

Do you work for the cable company?

This is about net neutrality, not broadband access. Hence the word 'duped' in the title.

Re:Read the article first! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220695)

whoosh

Re:Read the article first! (2)

Desler (1608317) | about 5 months ago | (#47220983)

Do you suffer from aspergers? There post is what those of us with functioning senses of humor call a joke.

Re:Read the article first! (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 5 months ago | (#47220989)

Their, of course.

Re:Hey, I'd be for it! (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 5 months ago | (#47220933)

The economics of pervasive broadband get quite strange. Doing cable based connections _as well as_ fiber _as well as_ DSL means a great deal of expensive, replicated infrastructure, and the installers arguing over space and time to run or repair their connections in very limited physical conduit strung between locations. Every time one of them needs to open up a conduit to upgrade or replace the physical layer they're putting every one else's connections at risk. It's an inevitable source of conflict among the companies.

It's often worse in the wiring closet where the physical connections are tied to network equipment. Shared cooling, power, and rack space are purchased, leased, subleased, and at risk of personnel from one group making mistakes and touching someone else's rack. Given the variety of network wiring styles, mistakes are inevitable. (Look up "bad network closet" on Google for excellent examples of the problem.)

I'm also afraid it's worst of all in the paperwork. The turf wars, the conflicting scheduling and mapping tools and policies, and the unwillingness to share data about infrastructure make the sharing of those common physical resources even more awkward with the current mix of technologies.

Maybe (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220519)

More investigative journalism is the shot in the arm that America needs right now and maybe Snowden did a good thing.

Re:Maybe (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47221025)

Except 1) No US paper would listen to Snowden 'forcing' him to go to the Guardian UK. 2) It's not 'investigative journalism' when someone hands the reporter everything he needs... it's just lazy journalism as usual. Except in this case the reporter gets a book deal too.

Sue them!! (1)

masterfpt (1435165) | about 5 months ago | (#47220585)

Sue them! They are asking for a Class Action and a "media circus" exposure. Don't be lenient with these deceiving bastards.

Re:Sue them!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220879)

Small claims. No class action suit is ever going to get the average person more than the limit for small claims court.
Handle it there instead, otherwise they just get away with a $5 per person they screwed over or something like that.

Well, it must be good... (1)

sabbede (2678435) | about 5 months ago | (#47220719)

I know Comcast would never do anything sneaky, shitty, or otherwise underhanded; so this must be either a huge misunderstanding or what's really the best for us all. Comcast knows best!

Slashdot beta is really awesome (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220735)

I've posted on slashdot regularly for 5 years now, and first was very suprised about the new look of Slashdot Beta. Now I'm accustomed to it and I really would miss it when Dice abandons Beta. I have asked all my friends who also have been on slashdot for a long time. They share my thoughts, and they also like the new comment system.

I believe that the opposers of slashdot beta are only a tiny minority of the users fearing change. When humanity had followed their strategy, we would still live on trees. I think now is the time for progress and to turn off non-beta slashdot.

You can help this (real) grass roots movement by copying this post into every story.

How is this legal? (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#47220785)

Oh, right, of course ... corporations are people with free speech, and entitled to actively lie to us.

Right, that totally makes sense.

According to the courts, that's sadly true (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220863)

Don't forget, fox news sued for their right-to-knowingly-lie and won in court.....

Re:How is this legal? (5, Insightful)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 5 months ago | (#47220893)

Oh, right, of course ... corporations are people with free speech, and entitled to actively lie to us.

What? That is utter nonsense. Corporations are not people!

Corporations are "Very Rich People". A class with little or no relation to "people".

VRPs have the inalienable right to do whatever they very much please and it is legal by Axiom*.

*: The axiom being: "Legal is what very rich people decide it is at any given point."

Re:How is this legal? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47222129)

I hope you signed the Move To Amend [movetoamend.org] petition..

Re:How is this legal? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47220905)

Cable company spokesman: "You got a problem with that? What are you going to do about it?"

And Other Billionaires Are Doing the Same Thing (1)

cornicefire (610241) | about 5 months ago | (#47220841)

Google and Netflix fund many of the NGOs that claim to be for freedom, privacy and -- surprise, surprise-- net neutrality. This is a battle between billionaires and the cable companies aren't the only billionaires in the game.

Re:And Other Billionaires Are Doing the Same Thing (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | about 5 months ago | (#47221403)

So which, specifically, of those NGOs funded by Google and Netflix list as their members organizations that have not actually ever heard of the NGO in question?

Thanks Nerds... (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 5 months ago | (#47220851)

Thanks for really screwing up the promise of the Great Internet! Worldwide connectedness, people around the globe coming together, mutual sharing of ideas, peace and love, etcetera. And the internet had such promise, in the beginning.

Now, it's just a way to eavesdrop on us, track all we do and where we go. I know there are many smart nerds out there still fighting the good fight for freedom, but it seems it's not enough to hold back the ones who think controlling the populace through technology is their God given right as Masters Of The Universe.

Re:Thanks Nerds... (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 5 months ago | (#47221057)

That's a pretty broad brush you're painting with. Careful not to get any on you, nerd.

Re:Thanks Nerds... (2)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about 5 months ago | (#47221187)

You're damned right that I'm using a broad brush here. I'm using it because it applies broadly. Where have God-damned morals gone? Just because someone can code on a computer does not exempt them from being moral. Just because someone pays a brilliant programmer to insert code that does not serve the greater good of humanity does not mean that programmer can just ignore the possible damage his program will inflict upon his fellow human beings.

But as long as that programmer's getting paid, it's okay, right? Hey, it'll be someone else's problem to deal with, right?

Re:Thanks Nerds... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47221511)

Based on what you said, immorality sounds like a problem that is completely isolated to programmers.

Re:Thanks Nerds... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47222089)

There is none so dangerous as a nerd with an interesting problem.

I really have no choice... (4, Insightful)

Vermonter (2683811) | about 5 months ago | (#47220907)

I really, really want to be against net neutrality, because free market and such, but when I look at Time Warner and Comcast, they are the best argument *for* net neutrality. I guess it comes down to who I trust more, the government, or the cable companies.... and it's kind of a tie at zero... Now if the FCC would decide that the infrastructure could be used by startups, allowing for actual competition, then we might get somewhere.

Re:I really have no choice... (5, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 5 months ago | (#47221245)

I really, really want to be against net neutrality, because free market and such

Well, then let me disabuse you of that notion.

There is no 'free' market, and there never has been. The 'free' market is predicated on the belief that all players will act honestly, and make informed choices based on available information. This is a completely false assumption, and has been proven so time after time.

It completely ignores human nature whereby someone will always lie, cheat, and steal to achieve their own ends -- this is what we see here.

Industry players will always form cartels and collude in anti-consumer behavior -- price fixing being the prime example.

Without someone to keep corporations in line, the market would steadily skew to all of the power being in the hands of a few.

There is no such thing as a 'free' market, and there simply never has been. It's a utopian myth which can never be true.

People who go around spouting about the 'free' market are either naive, self deluded, or actively lying.

What proponents want is a situation in which corporations are free to do as they choose, under the premise that, in the long run, consumers will have perfect information and be able to make informed choices.

A 'free' market is incapable of addressing things like pollution, product safety, and ethical behavior. In fact, it's almost designed to encourage it.

When Adam Smith wrote "Wealth of Nations", he wasn't writing a rule book, he was making a series of observations. The problem is things have become so skewed, that what we see is an ever-increasing trend where corporations hold all the cards.

Governments who actively support de-regulation have been putting more and more power into the hands of corporations. By allowing industries to 'police' themselves (which isn't what actually happens) they can do as they see fit, for their gain, and to our detriment.

Economics isn't a science, and it isn't based in fact. It is an ideology of how things should work assuming impossible conditions and premises. And, like all ideologies, it is inherently blind to its own flaws, and taken as a matter of dogma to be true.

Taking steps towards a 'free' market has the net effect of removing restrictions on corporations -- which are typically there because we've already seen examples of grossly bad behavior.

The US has been steadily creating (and forcing other countries to adopt) a global oligarchy whereby the corporations call all of the shots. For instance, the TTIP [opendemocracy.net] :

The consultation has been called largely to assuage growing pressure from civil society groups concerned about the rights being granted to corporations under the guise of âinvestor protectionsâ(TM), and the system of private tribunals - the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism - that allows corporations to sue governments when they feel that these rights have been breached by a government policy or court decision.

Basically, governments are no longer free to set evidence based policy if it would impact the bottom line of corporations which are the ones causing harm in the first place. They can be over-ridden by these private tribunals which exist to protect the interests of investors and corporations, to the detriment of the rest of us.

This is an oligarchy, and definitely NOT a free market. You could not transition from an oligarchy to a 'free' market by simply removing the laws and regulations governing corporations -- this would not magically create a free market, it simply removes their obligations to society, and frees them to do as they please.

The free market is a complete and utter myth. It has never existed. And the reason society has had to develop laws and regulations around their behavior is that they've demonstrated time and time again.

Because, someone, somewhere, will always act in bad faith for their own ends -- and in doing so will either destroy lives, economies, the environment, or some of the fundamental underpinnings of society.

The people advocating for this magical perfect 'free' market are full of shit. Because what they advocate is a lie, based on false premises, and not substantiated by reality.

Unfortunately, America (and increasingly others) have bought into this hook, line and sinker, and continue to act as if it will be our great savior.

Pure, laissez faire capitalism is as broken as pure communism -- neither can actually work as described. But the proponents of both view them as perfect, infallible systems which if only the rest of the world could be forced to adopt, they would see the error of their ways. Even if they have to be dragged kicking and screaming, and, as Mao said, even if you have to "break a few eggs".

Do not think for one minute that what you think of as a free market is possible, based in fact, or could ever actually happen as described.

Because the 'free' market boils down to "you are free to not buy this toxic product which will kill your children if you so choose" -- the problems arise when you have neither the information nor the choices available to you. Nobody is going to go into the grocery store and say "gee, do I gamble and buy the toxic milk, or spend a little more for the safe stuff".

By the time you know you're buying toxic milk, it's too fucking late.

The free market is the right to harm people in the pursuit of profit, and the customer be damned. Claiming that over time this will sort itself out doesn't help the people who are harmed in the process -- they're just collateral damage in the name of profit seeking.

Re:I really have no choice... (1)

Petron (1771156) | about 5 months ago | (#47221721)

It would be nice if there was a free market. If there was, there would be no need for net neutrality.

But instead of a free market, we have a heavily regulated, crony-capitalism controlled market, where cable companies work deals with metro areas to be the only providers in town, then they use their government-approved monopoly to screw over the average person.... and to promote the re-election of those whose efforts promoted their control.

Hmm What was the FCC Chair's previous job....

If we had a free market, we would have a dozen options for broadband internet, and not one would dare try to throttle speed and ask for more just to give you what you paid for.

Re:I really have no choice... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47221731)

I am generally in agreement about trying to treat it as a free market. However, cable companies are not free market companies. In most of the country, they work as government chartered organizations. They are granted a monopoly in exchange for running communication lines.

So since they are really a government entity, then they should take an unbiased approach to what data is flowing over those government chartered lines. If a company wants to run their own lines, where they don't use eminent domain, where they must compete, then yes, net neutrality is a horrible idea. This is what you find with WIFI operators at McDonald's or Starbucks or airlines. They certainly should be allowed to control access to the Internet through their WIFI.

It's Downright Un-American! (3, Informative)

barlevg (2111272) | about 5 months ago | (#47220927)

oblig. FoxTrot [foxtrot.com]

Community Groups (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47221327)

Don't feel bad for these "Community Groups" they have shown time and time again that they can be bought very cheaply. Lets remember that the NAACP gave Donald Sterling two awards after sizable contributions from him.

My HOA is run by semi-literate morons, so... (1)

MiniMike (234881) | about 5 months ago | (#47221409)

I had to check if my HOA had been duped too, because this is just the type of thing they would do. They're not on the list, but if anyone else is interested they should check the list [broadbandforamerica.com] themselves to see if any groups they're members of are on it.

RICO? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47221689)

Sounds like a criminal conspiracy

Re:RICO? (1)

Sentrion (964745) | about 5 months ago | (#47221943)

Replace "real community group" with "US Congress" and you have our present system of government.

I'm shocked. Shocked! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47221717)

To learn that "Broadband for America" and "American Consumer Institute" were in fact bankrolled by industry, instead of being a tight-knit community of volunteers taking time after their kids' soccer and little league games.

Big win for lawyers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47221883)

No there will be even more buracracy and obfuscation in our legal system.

And this is why I never sign petitions (2)

IronChef (164482) | about 5 months ago | (#47221963)

When someone on the street asks me to sign a petition, the answer is always no. It doesn't matter how worthy the stated cause is:

- Free, nutritious school lunches for whales
- Not grinding minorities into paste at the border
- Municipal high-speed internet

You don't know what you are really signing until you read the fine print, and the fine print under the fine print.

Criminal behavior? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47222221)

Isn't this some kind of slanderous attribution? at least in the case where folks weren't even aware they were listed as a supporter... there ought to be some form of retribution for behavior like this.

Um (1)

Chewbacon (797801) | about 5 months ago | (#47222267)

Is there more to this story that doesn't make it fraud?

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