FCC chief plans to ditch net neutrality rules

The head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission unveiled plans on Tuesday to repeal landmark 2015 rules that prohibited internet service providers from impeding consumer access to web content in a move that promises to recast the digital landscape.

I don’t understand how they think this is a good thing.



  • I think they area literally unable to see past “we can charge more!” to see all the horrors this really enables.

    But don’t worry, the ISPs will.

    • Sigivald

      Enables?

      No Net Neutrality Rules has been the Internet from day one.

      This literally changes nothing; it prevents a change that was planned (and a bad idea).

      • The change is the removal of net neutrality, not the addition of it; that change allows the bullshit.

        • Sigivald

          Oh, you’re right –

          The rule did take effect. From June, 2015 until just now.

          We’re going back to the dark ages of early 2015.

          (I’d just note that people who oppose “net neutrality” include the guy who invented TCP/IP , the guy who co-wrote the first graphical web browser, and everyone I’ve ever heard express an opinion on the subject who was an expert on the internet’s actual infrastructure.

          “All packets are equal” is not good network design, and the FCC enforcing that is literally bad for the internet.

          Net Neutrality is not about Evil ISPs.)

          • At this point, you’re intentionally misunderstanding me.

          • Sigivald

            Nope.

            I mean, I don’t know what particular horrors you have in mind, since you haven’t said, but I haven’t claimed to.

            I did agree that you were right and it was a rollback to the status quo of 2015.

            Beyond that, I was talking about NN in general and why I think it’s not a great policy as pushed now, not specifically about your statements.

          • GS

            Exactly. A lot of knee jerk reaction from people who don’t really know what this is about. Google and Facebook are not opposed to this change because they care about consumers. Let them build out their own networks if they want. They have the funds.

      • JimCracky

        You’re just not correct here, buster. And if you are a republican, why are you supporting taking a state’s right to fight this away? Oh, I know. Republicans are cowards who can only win when they shit out of both sides of their collective mouths.

  • They don’t care. The Cheeto Benito has specifically put people in charge of agencies to dismantle the agencies or make them useless. He continually makes executive orders simply to undo policies of his predecessor (and blames some of those on Obama when they were put into place by fellow Republican Bush before that). Among the policies is rescinding the ban on import of parts from endangered and protected animals — and what good is that, honestly?

    There are other leaders who systematically dismantled governments, including asshats like Chavez and now Maduro in Venezuela. The way Cheeto Benito talks about rights and free speech and the like, he really has everything in common with dictators like them except for the murder/drug syndicate stuff (that we know of). People who think the US can’t get to a state like Venezuela and other countries from history have their heads in the sand. (And it isn’t about socialism, either. It’s about authoritarianism and can happen whatever basic government style the country has.)

    I’ll stop there before digressing further form the main point: this is a feature of this government — not a bug.

    • Sigivald

      That’s … stupid.

      Sorry. But it is. (And when you lead with namecalling, you call it on yourself – and I don’t even like the President!)

      “Stopping an FCC-initiated rule that never took effect” is not “dismantling government”, or “authoritarianism”.

      (Banning imports from endangered and protected animals sounds great!

      Can’t possibly have any side effects that are bad, can it? Like, oh, making it impossible to move old musical instruments with ivory or possibly ivory parts across a border without confiscation or hours of wait time, without saving a single Elephant?

      Oh, wait? People say it does do that, and that it’s caused them huge problems, and that its real effect on Saving Nice Animals is pretty much symbolic and the real effects are preserved by the rule change?

      Can’t even consider that, we got feelings about symbolism to protect, and a President to call names.)

      • The cool thing is I’m free to call the president anything I want. He’s not just a public personality, but he is also part of my government and I pay his salary (whether he decides to keep it or not.) Welcome to the First Amendment.

        That’s the difference between calling him names and calling people who use their Constitutional right to criticize him names. So, you just earned yourself a block.

        By the way, antique ivory was all covered for, and it’s hilarious to see you stumble all over yourself admitting that as you try to justify a logical fallacy (that you shouldn’t do anything unless it stops all of a thing instead of parts of a thing). That’s another fail that earns you a block.

        I don’t care if you don’t like the president. You’re an enabler. Have a good life transporting your endangered animal parts.

      • JimCracky

        Here’s some name calling for you, go to hell. You’re lying, wrong or purposefully ignorant. BTW- the people own the Internet. Not your corporations.

    • Kip Beatty

      It simply never ceases to amaze me the number of people (through ignorance, stupidity, or some combination thereof) continue to support policies pushed by people like Führer Trump designed to allow .1% (it’s not the popular 1% you often hear, it’s actually 0.1%) of Americans to make absolutely absurd amounts of money with no benefits (often harm) to the other 99.9% of the citizens. It

      Wake up. Take out politics. Look at actual numbers. Follow the money in this country from the 1950’s. 99.9% of us are right where were, or worse off, then we were then. Yet, .1% of this country has skyrocketed and amassed obscene wealth. Can’t you see where that leads? It’s the type of structure we fled when we left England all those many years ago. It won’t be long, at the current rate, before the .1% have amassed over 50% of all wealth in this nation!! It NEVER trickles down.

      Deregulate, deregulate, deregulate is always the cry of people like Trump. It frees them up to game the system further (see, 80’s S&L, 2008 banking collapse, etc.). It’s a far cry from communism or socialism to think we can do better (of course they scream commie! socialist! when it’s suggested, they need to keep you scared). We’d be much better off as a nation if the immense wealth of this country was shared with more than just .1% of its citizens. Why do so many think it’s heresy to suggest as much?

      Oh, and speaking of the 1950s, which so many red blooded American conservative men will point to as an example of America at its best. It was a period of unprecedented economic growth in this country. Take a look at the tax rates under the Republican President Ike, especially on the ultra wealthy. Was Ike a commie?

      • art hackett

        It’s been the Fourth Reich since day zero. It’s terrifying the amount of people that actively accept the insane rhetoric spraying out of the “Administration”. They’re making the mafia look like shakedown amateurs.

  • Kip Beatty

    Because you’re looking it from the perspective of a human being who uses the internet, you can’t understand why they think it’s a good thing. Now, imagine you’re a fat orange man with a string of failed businesses getting pressure from other successful businesses to remove the rules that limit their ability to make absurd amounts of money. Start imagining your own windfall as your children move to invest your money knowing the plans. Then it’ll seem like a fantastic idea.

    • Katie

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    • Janelle

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  • Economides

    It’s not like FCC chair Ajit Pai is working for the Telecoms.

  • Sigivald

    1) Can’t “ditch” what was never implemented, really. 2) I can’t see why “let the FCC run the internet” sounds good to anyone.

    • art hackett

      Are you really Spicer?

  • This would simply be a return to the same policies from the birth of the internet up to 2015.

    The 2015 rules treat all ISP’s big and small as if they were the “Ma Bell” of old.

    An article on this, which includes an interview with Pai, in transcript and podcast form, available here: http://reason.com/blog/2017/11/21/ajit-pai-we-are-returning-to-the-origina

    An excerpt that shows how the rules ran against features many consumers benefitted from:

    what wasn’t safe, however…was indicated by my predecessor’s comments when he was asked, “Well, how would this Internet conduct standard be applied?” He literally said, “We don’t know, we’ll have to see where things go.” And in the subsequent months, what happened was the FCC initiated an investigation into free data offerings by wireless companies. So if T-Mobile, for instance, said, “You know what…you can watch as much video as you want, exempt from any data limits that might be on your plan.” The FCC said, “No, you know what, that free data offering is something that could violate this Internet conduct standard. We’re going to investigate it.” And they initiated investigations into several other free-data offerings.And that’s the kind of thing that, last time I checked, consumers seem to like the offerings from the service providers, and that’s the kind of thing that the FCC was starting to meddle in. And that’s one of things that we are getting rid of, is that Internet conduct standard that essentially gave bureaucrats a free rein to second-guess, I think, a lot of pro-consumer and pro-competitive offerings
    • Sigivald

      “I”m sorry, we can’t allow QoS to let your streaming conference call compete with this BitTorrent download, because net neutrality says every packet is equal!”

      • Sigivald

        (Richard Bennett wrote a lot about this a while back when NN first became a political thing, but I think his writing on the issue fell off the internet.

        But what would he know?)

        • Scott Lewis

          Your comments are all over the place, so I’ll randomly pick this one to respond to. I for one can’t wait for Verizon to finally be able to prioritize Go90 traffic and slow down Netflix traffic unless I pay for an “upgrade” on my service. Or did you think this was completely a one-sided argument and you’re 100% representing the only correct opinion?

          • Sigivald

            Nope. I did not think that there was only one correct opinion and nobody could disagree.

            But I’d note that I have never heard of any ISP in America doing that before 2015, when the once-current NN rule didn’t exist.

            Why are you so sure they’re going to do that now, and have Verizon lose all its customers to T-Mobile or AT&T?

            (Do you have any understanding of Net Neutrality proposals beyond “it keeps my mean ISP from charging me more for Facebook or Netflix”?

            Like bans on deep packet inspection and what they’d mean for internet congestion remediation?

            Or bans on treating any traffic at all different from any other traffic at all and what that does to, say, VOIP traffic competing with mass downloads?

            I do. That might be why my opinion ain’t the same as yours.)

          • Scott Lewis

            I have enough of an understanding how the Internets work relative to issues like this to still have my PSI Free Peering T-Shirt from before the turn of the century.

            But I’m pretty sure one could MODIFY net neutrality to take care of your concerns a lot easier than they could take care of my concerns in a post-Net Neutrality world.

            https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/11/during-netflix-money-fight-cogents-other-big-customers-suffered-too/

            http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/If-Netflix-Hates-ISP-Troll-Tolls-So-Much-Why-Are-They-Paying-128230

            Just to link a couple.

      • That could be a result of the 2015 regulations. It could just as easily be used to force ISP’s into restricting certain protocols, like bit torrent . The rules are seemingly a regulatory blank check to bureaucrats to act according to their whims, or the lobbying pull exerted on them.

  • jeffbax

    I don’t understand how they think this is a good thing

    I would recommend anyone who can’t fathom why one would want to do this, I would give this episode of the 5th a listen where Ajit Pai is a guest and can explain things for himself: https://play.radiopublic.com/the-fifth-column-analysis-commentary-sedition-WJbONJ/ep/s1!c0579c6ffffa8b3950dddad8fb1ab29cc5a45cb4

    TLDR: “It’s an unworkable solution to a problem that doesn’t exist” is to paraphrase things, and I’m inclined to agree. I don’t think 1930’s regulation can properly apply to the needs of today. (the anecdote about fear over AOL/TW is particularly amusing) and it’s not like there’s been shortage of investment in telecom. Most of the problems in telecom are results of pre-emptive regulations that inhibit competition and result in markets with one provider.

    If Pai succeeds in enabling better market competition, it’ll make a way bigger impact than a law like net neutrality. I’m inclined to agree that rapidly approaching things like networked health devices and cars will be obvious cases where net neutrality would have a negative impact.

    These may also be interesting reads if you are not of the mindset that packet prioritization can ever benefit consumers: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3049371 (Twitch.tv users suffering when forced to treat all videos equally)

    As well as: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-11-21/the-end-of-net-neutrality-isn-t-the-end-of-the-world

    Most of all, if you can’t understand why this might be a good thing… I would say that you need to expand your news sources to include some things that are more market oriented and skeptical of the downsides of over-regulation. There’s a lot more to this issue than the way it’s simply painted as some nefarious money grab by evil corporations that haven’t really acted poorly in this regard yet anyway.

    “Net Neutrality” sounds great as a soundbite, but its not necessarily a good thing and it comes with a lot of worries as well. I’d rather wait to regulate actual harm in the market than what feels like more of a weird tech crying-wolf at the moment.

    Ultimately, rolling back something that hadn’t even impacted the market yet (I don’t even think the adjustment in 2015 took legal effect yet) is a bit much to call the end of the world.

    • DanielSw

      Wow. It took muddling through all those previous commenters to finally read some reasoned opinion about this issue. Thank you, also for the link to Commissioner Pai’s actual words on the matter.

    • Mo

      Better market competition is not what Pai is after, and never has been. He’s enabling existing players to grab market share by cutting off any smaller contenders.

      • jeffbax

        Sorry, but your partisanship is showing as well as a very narrow view of the scope of what is impacted by this. Pai’s #1 objective is improving competitive forces, and closing the digital divide. They are his own words, so you can choose to disagree I guess (as well as his track record which actually shows a variety of mechanisms for promoting service deployment – even gasp funding in areas that are struggling), but economics would disagree with you and most people making a fuss about this.

        Literally on the first page of Pai’s proposal is:

        “Restore the Federal Trade Commission’s ability to protect consumers online from any unfair, deceptive, and anticompetitive practices without burdensome regulations, achieving comparable benefits at lower cost.”

        Aka, helping narrow the FCC’s mission statement and put trade issues back to the FTC where it belongs. Another nefarious aspect of Title II regulation is that is gives the government broad powers to regulate speech on the internet of the “I know it when I see it” porn argument variety. This is much scarier than the problems the internet has never actually had yet.

        Markets are imperfect, and telecom is far from an ideal market, but this whole issue is the most Helen Lovejoy thing I think the tech world has ever had, not even close to the likes of SOPA.

        Hell, even if they start offering a-la-cart internet packages for some people (it is unlikely, however) maybe it will mean my grandma goes from paying $50 a month for internet to $10 since she only uses email and basic browsing rather than Netflix and Youtube. God forbid what customers need out of the internet is not one-size-fits-all. Still, the sky is unlikely to fall in this fashion anyway.

        Anyone having an conniption right now over a pretty silly issue needs to read these posts, because as it is there’s way too much irrational emotion going on in the tech-left sphere right now to think objectively about what this does and doesn’t impact.

        http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2017/11/points-net-neutrality.html

        http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2017/11/take-change-mind-net-neutrality.html

        • Mo

          “Sorry,” but I have no reason to believe any of Pai’s doublespeak about increasing competition or protecting consumers, especially if he’s using the phrase “burdensome regulations.”

          He is a cable-industry lobbyist, on temporary assignment while he further enriches the clients he’ll return to after leaving his current post. He is one of dozens of examples of how regulatory agencies have been deliberately crippled by Republican appointees while cheered on by libertarians.

          You believe government regulatory power is “nefarious.” You sound as though you’re happy to allow telecoms (or any big business) to regulate themselves. Because that always ends so well. Keep daydreaming about your grandma’s ISP costs being reduced.

          You have too much faith in private industry and too a short memory to acknowledge what it is capable of.

  • “If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.” – George Orwell – 1984

    • Mo

      Too bad we won’t be able to stream that video.

  • jltnol

    “I don’t understand how they think this is a good thing.” Of COURSE its not a good thing… But what we as consumers want have ZERO importance in comparison to what business wants. Government has long ago been taken over by Big Business, and we don’t stand a ghost of a chance to affect change.

    • Caleb Hightower

      Yes, businesses, particularly big business, fund political campaigns where they do business. The more they give the more access they have to the politician. Its nearly impossible for the individual to compete with the money a corporation gives a campaign or to a super PAC. Once in office, said politician has a more sympathetic ear to those the gave to the campaign, particularly to those that gave big, rather than the lowly voting constituent.

      This is politics in a capitalist society. This allows capitalism to reign supreme.

      I hate to think that this rollback will negatively affect certain demographics of people, but believe it will. I believe that internet service, both wired and wireless, should be regulated and managed as a critical utility and communication service. All efforts should focus on ensuring unencumbered, continuous, and redundant service for a unified price. If its fiber, then it must be allowed to flow unimpeded without artificial throttles, and data caps.

      This rollback will not spur competition that will benefit consumers. It will constitute yet another tax on what is an essential societal utility, like electricity and water.

      I wish Apple was a player in this space.

  • JimCracky

    Death would be too kind for all of these Trumpets assholes.

    No, death is appropriate.

  • art hackett

    Some people get to make shed loads of money. What’s the problem?

  • Mo

    More forced scarcity, slower network buildouts, higher prices, and restrictively added-fee access. The free market in action.