02 June 2014

Net Neutrality: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)

Cable companies are trying to create an unequal playing field for internet speeds, but they're doing it so boringly that most news outlets aren't covering it.

our top story tonight concerns the

internet aka the electronic cat database but first let's take just a moment together and appreciate how amazing the internet is you can use it to file your taxes apply for jobs you can go online right now and buy a case of coyote urine do you know how difficult it used to be to obtain coyote on you literally had to give a coyote Gatorade and just wait it was a mess the system was a mess but but if you've turned on the news lately you may have heard some worrying references to the Internet changing the Federal Communications Commission is agreed to move forward on a proposal it could change the way we use the Internet at risk the basic principle of net neutrality net neutrality is Rowdy yes net neutrality the only two words that promise more boredom in the English language are featuring sting pairing people talk about it is somehow even worse as anticipated that notice proposes to ground the net neutrality rules in Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 oh my god that is the most boring thing I've ever seen that is even boring by c-span standards I would rather read a book by

Thomas Friedman than sit through that hearing I would rather listen to a pair of Dockers tell me about the weird dream it had I would rather sit down with my niece and watch car you a children's show about a bald Canadian child who lives a life devoid of any incident boo Caillou and leave the house find out what the worlds are boots come on but here's the thing net neutrality is actually hugely important essentially it means that all data has to be treated equally no matter who creates it it's why the Internet is a weirdly level playing field and startups can supplant established brands that's how Facebook supplanted MySpace which supplanted Friendster which supplanted actually having any friends do you remember physically having friends it was awful you couldn't tap people's faces to make them go away but the point is the Internet in its current form is not broken and the FCC is currently taking steps to fix that the FCC is endorsing new rules that could clear the way for it to tear system the rules would open the door for the first time for internet

providers like Comcast and Verizon to charge tech companies to send content to consumers more quickly Netflix for example might pay a premium to ensure that its customers can stream movies more reliably at a cost a start-up competitor might not be able to afford no this cannot happen how else is my startup streaming video service nut flicks going to compete it's going to be America's one-stop resource for videos of men getting hit in the nuts you don't even know you want it yet that's why it's brilliant ending net neutrality would allow big companies to buy their way into the fast lane leaving everyone else in the slow lane although telecom companies would prefer that you put it in a slightly different way when you say fast lane in slow lane it's a good illustration but what you really should be talking about is a fast lane for everybody and a hyperspeed lane for others if we let cable companies offer to speed of service they won't be Usain Bolt and Usain Bolt on a motorbike they'll be Usain Bolt and Usain Bolt egde to an anchor and telecom companies will say they would never slow

down a website speed in order to get more money out of them but but let me tell you a little story recently Comcast was negotiating with Netflix this graph shows Netflix download speeds on various providers that black line plummeting downwards was their speed on Comcast during the negotiation see if you can guess when Netflix agreed to Comcast demands I'll give you a hint it's right there that has all the ingredients of a mob shakedown Netflix does show about life in a ladies prison such a shame if there was going to be something happen to your connection area so frustrating that would be it's not just anti corporate hippies who think that abandoning net neutrality is a bad idea the net neutrality movement is leery of big corporate players but in this debate it's on the same side as some of them Google Facebook Netflix Amazon all signed onto this letter supporting net neutrality what's being proposed is so egregious activists and corporations have been forced onto the same side that's basically Lex Luthor knocking on Superman's Apartment door and going listen I know we have our differences but we have got to get rid

of that asshole in apartment 3b he's he's too loud soup he's just too loud and you might wonder well look if everyone is against this how is it even possibly happening or consider who would benefit from this change cable companies Verizon wants a two-tier system so badly they sued the government to force the rule change that's currently being discussed these companies have Washington in their pockets to a conveniently almost unbelievable degree comcast has spent 18 million eight hundred ten thousand dollars in lobbying last year it's more than any other company for defense contractor north of chromatin so just to be clear the ranking of who boys government influence is number one military-industrial complex and number two the provider of Lizard Lick towing I could show you the troublingly cozy relationship between cable companies in Washington in any number of ways I could show you the president golfing with the CEO of Comcast or saying at a fundraiser at a cable executives house that he'd been there so many times the only thing I haven't done in this house is have Seder dinner but but perhaps the most succeed

way is this the president has picked Tom wheeler a former top lobbyist for cable and wireless companies to be the next chair of the Federal Communications Commission yes the guy who used to run the cable industry's lobbying arm is now running the agency tasked with regulating it that is the equivalent of needing a babysitter and hiring a dingo here thanks for stopping over like make sure they're in bed by 8:00 there's 20 bucks on the table for kibble so please don't eat my baby with the fact with the fact that they are practically overseeing their own oversight it is hardly surprising that cable companies are basically monopolies now a federal study found that 96 percent of the population had access to two or fewer cable broadband providers it's almost as if they've agreed to stay out of each other's way like drug cartels but hold on hold on oh that's not fair that's not fair I mean if hypothetically a cable company like Comcast were planning to merge with a company like let's say Time Warner it's not like their CEO would sit down and Mark out who had which turf right but in video and in broadband we don't compete

with Time Warner you have to start with that very fundamental point there in New York we're in Philadelphia they're in LA we're in San Francisco you can't buy a Comcast in New York you can't buy a Time Warner in Philadelphia so there's no reduction in competition exactly you can't reduce competition when nobody is competing you could not be describing a monopoly more clearly if you are wearing a metal top hat while driving a metal car after winning second prize in a beauty contest maybe it's because of their lack of competition they get away with providing such shitty service we pay more for our internet service than almost anybody else on earth and yet the download speeds we get lag behind Estonia Estonia a country where from the looks of it they still worried about Shrek attacks is it any wonder that in in a massive recent customer satisfaction surveys Comcast and Time Warner Cable came in dead last and when you look at the companies that were scored better than them people were basically saying yes Bank of America took my home yes Taco Bell gave me diarrhea and sure GM tried to kill me Time Warner and Comcast are

the worst they are the new us [Music] I know I know the cable companies will say oh they support net neutrality protections or they remain committed to the open Internet or just the tip but let me remind you they also say that they'll be at your house between 2:00 and 6:00 tomorrow afternoon there's any part of you really expect them to intern up and yet our government looks set to end net neutrality and let these companies run hog wild and we're just going to let them and you know why it all comes back to this it seeks comment on ways to construe additional language in section 706 and even suggests using section 230 B to broaden the scope of the Commission's usurped authority oh my god how are you still so dull and that's the problem the cable companies have figured out the great truth of America if you want to do something evil put it inside something boring Apple could put the entire text of mine camp inside the iTunes User Agreement and you just go agree agree agree agree that's why

should not be talking about protecting net neutrality they shouldn't even use that phrase they should call it preventing cable company factoring because that is what it is and it might actually compel people to want to do something and the interesting thing here is there might actually be something you can still do the FCC will be taking public comment for 120 days that's right the FCC are literally inviting internet comments at this address and at this point and I can't believe I'm about to do this I would like to address the internet commenters out there directly good evening monsters this may be the moment you've spent your whole life straining for you have been out there ferociously commenting on dance videos of adorable three-year-olds say things like every child could dance like this little loser after one week of practice or you've been polluting frozen's let it go with comments like ice castle would give her hypothermia and she dead in an hour and I know you've done this one commenting or video on this show say this asshole anchor don't suck your presidents you're just friends with the

terrorists I don't think it's a compliment but this is the moment you were made for commenters like Rob Ralph Macchio you've been honing your skills waxing cars and painting fences well guess what now it's time to do something karate for once in your life we need you to channel that anger that badly spelled boil that you normally reserved for unforgivable attacks on actresses you seem to think I put on weight or politicians that you disagree with or functors of your ex-girlfriend getting on with her life or non-white actors being cast as fictional characters and I'm talking to you Ron Paul fan 2016 one direction forever and I'm talking to you one direction sucks balls we need you to get out there and for once in your lives focus your indiscriminate range in a useful direction cease your noggins my lovely trolls [Applause]