The FCC Is Divided On Net Neutrality And Title II

The FCC Is Divided On Net Neutrality And Title II

FCC Tom Wheeler 310x

While FCC chairman Tom Wheeler leads the way, some of his commissioners bristle at Title II reclassification.

While Tom Wheeler and the FCC are primed to move forward with a Title II reclassifcation-based net neutrality plan later this month, at least one FCC commissioner is not happy with the roadmap.

FCC commissioner Ajit Pai released a statement today, flatly stating that the 332-page-long net neutrality plan to regulate the Internet "gives the FCC the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works." Pai, who calls the document "President Obama's 332-page plan," -- suggesting that the plan originally came from the White House, and not chairman Wheeler -- goes on to explain that such heavy regulation would stifle choice and innovation, and could lead to heavier taxes on broadband service. T-Mobile's Music Freedom service, which allows customer to stream music without taking a hit to their cellular data plan usage, might not be possible with Title II-controlled broadband Internet, according to Pai, specifically because it exists as a sort of paid prioritization/"fast lane" access plan.

"Instead of allowing the American people to choose the broadband service plan that is best for them, the President's plan places that decision in the hands of a Washington bureaucracy," said Pai.

Pai is one of two conservatives who sit on the FCC board, and it's unlikely that his feelings on Title II reclassification will derail chairman Wheeler's net neutrality plans. Furthermore, other FCC employees have come out and taken issue with Pai's statement on the policy changes. FCC council Gigi Sohn said that new taxes could arise from reclassification, but the "billions of dollars" figure being touted by some is greatly exaggerated. Sohn also said that most of the 332-page document is dedicated to the history of net neutrality, and answers questions and comments brought about by the open comment period on the FCC website -- which is why Wheeler's distillation of the plan is a trim four pages.

Like any major policy shift or new law, pros and cons are sure to arise. The FCC's decision later this month will attempt to determine whether or not those cons are worth the change.

Source: FCC | The Verge

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Considering the fact that people don't care about all the little things and only about making sure that the evil broadband providers are held in check, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a bunch of things that actually don't benefit the American people hidden in there. Just like there was a bunch of things in the ACA that didn't benefit people but no one wanted to hear about.

But it doesn't matter, a few naysayers won't make any difference at all. This is happening.

Well... I guess we know who is still is whose pocket.

Har har Ajit, your side's losing.

Yes we lose the option (or the freedom) to allow for the internet companies to take less money in exchange for unusably slow third world country internet. Now, what's wrong about that? Cause some hick who doesn't know anything and only needs a 56k modem to do what little business he has online we need to have websites held hostage for millions and be driven out of business because they aren't able to pay the exorbitant fees that Comcast will be able to ask of them?

No, the hick can pay a bit more so that we all can still use the internet like it's supposed to be used, like how we pay a bit more for our water to be chlorinated. I'm sure "some" people would also go for polluted water coming from their faucets cause they only drink moonshine, too, doesn't mean we should all have to drink that shit.

Devin Connors:
"Instead of allowing the American people to choose the broadband service plan that is best for them..."

And that exists where? XD Man politicians can be amazingly out of touch. The fact that we cannot, in fact, do anything of the kind is one of the principle complaints about "free market" broadband as it is now.

Just look what Title II classification did for the telephone. After it was classified we had such amazing upgrades as . . . . touch tone dialing and . . . . well just touch tone dialing but to be fair it did only take them 30 years to make that stellar advancement. I'm sure the government won't make a mess of the internet though, they always are so efficient and prompt at everything they do. Just look at how it only took them SIX DECADES to achieve their desired 94% universal service mark for the telephone.

Is there a link between Pai and T-Mobile?

A strong bureaucratic agency watching over things can actually come in quite handy. For instance, the biggest telecommunications firm of a country might want to put speed breaks on anyone reaching an arbitrary maximum of data traffic. That actually happened in Germany a while back. The federeal network agency just said: "Yeah, how about no." And that was that.

"Allowing the American people to choose...best for them..."

Hmm, no, something's not right.

"Allowing ISPs to choose...best for them..."

There we go! And I'm sure that T-Mobile getting namedropped by him had nothing to do with any sort of lobbying or corporate sponsorship, no siree >_>

crimson5pheonix:
Har har Ajit, your side's losing.

The thing is they are not. Congress still has to sign off on it either expressly, or in failing to react to the FCC's actions and reclassification. The FCC's ability to do this on their own without a direct act of Congress depend wholly on Congress allowing them to do so. I forsee some rather robust hearings on this one. Also given some of the more recent case histories, particularly surrounding the EPA's decisions to increase their regulatory powers beyond those explicitly mandated by law and Congress there is a rather serious doubt if Wheelers actions could survive a court challenge. But said challenge will tie up the rules and stifle innovation for at least 5 years.

Devin Connors:
Instead of allowing the American people to choose the broadband service plan that is best for them...

That's rich. Yeah we have choices. Insomuch as which brand of shit we want.

Pyrian:

Devin Connors:
"Instead of allowing the American people to choose the broadband service plan that is best for them..."

And that exists where? XD Man politicians can be amazingly out of touch. The fact that we cannot, in fact, do anything of the kind is one of the principle complaints about "free market" broadband as it is now.

There's plenty of choice in Kansas City and Austin, Texas, thanks to Google Fiber. Except almost not in Kansas, where lobbyists for cable companies wrote up a bill that would have prevented Google Fiber from expanding into territory that was not "under-served", or in other words "where there was no competition".

Yeah, here in the great USA, you pick the biggest ISP on the block, or you can pick the next best thing which is barely a step above dial-up but costs just as much, or you don't get internet.

I really hope Comcast and the rest of the Legion of Doom get hit pretty hard by the FCC's ruling. A company who has to abuse the law to survive in a free economy doesn't deserve to exist.

Scribblesense:
A company who has to abuse the law to survive in a free economy doesn't deserve to exist.

I just wanted to quote you on this because it's about the smartest thing I've read all day.

If the Obama administration actually wanted to ensure cheap internet with plenty of competition it would provide incentives for 'last mile' programs. The idea that this will not be abused in favor of politically proper companies and used to permanently shut out any new guys is fucking absurd. One only needs to look at the state of radio today to understand the phenomenon which will occur. Not to mention the increased govt. access to the internet. But then, explaining regulatory capture to a democrat is like explaining colors to the blind.

Well... it's not like the way ISPs work now is super duper great. Ever since that damned court case, throttling is going on left and right, and almost no improvements are coming with the price hikes. And, come 2017, Comcast gets to start doing the basic throttling, too, as that is when the special conditions allowing them to buy NBC ends. I'd say at least some real government regulation needs to take effect soon, whether it's from the FCC or Congress (and not the super crooked stuff that is buttered up to look like it's pro-consumer). It's bad enough this country has become so anti-consumer when compared to Europe and many other parts of the world. We could at least start with the internet, arguably one of the most used industries of the 21st century.

Then again a lot of stuff that is supposed to benefit the average American citizen is corrupted to further help the fat cats, either by them finding loopholes and gaming the system or because the lawmakers snuck those loophole in to help out their loving campaign supporters. Really, we just have to wait and see what the FCC and Congress does and then, if it's bad, try and get the chumps to amend the law or get them out of office by showing the non-voters who just ruined the internet for them and where they can register to vote.

My opinions here have been mixed. I am neither a fan of big corporations or The Federal Government (especially the FCC given how it actually operates). The way I see it is that we're screwed either way it goes, I don't like the way big business wants to run things, but at the same time I do not like the idea of giving more regulatory power to The Federal Government which they can use as a springboard to obtain even more regulatory power later based on the precedents established here that will formally be acknowledging Federal authority over the internet.

My usual analogy for cases like this (such as pirates vs. game publishers) is that it's like the Mafia fighting Gang Bangers, it doesn't matter who wins from the perspective of everyone else, it just determines who screws you and how they go about it.

From what little I know Net Neutrality seems like it would at least be beneficial in the short term, but my legal-fu is weak in matters like this (I'm a bit better with criminal matters) and I distrust laws that require 300+ page documents and are sold entirely through second hand summary... which is sadly most of them. As far as I'm concerned if they are being honest they can keep the law to six paragraphs or less without needing 300 pages of legalese to follow it around. Hell, in most cases it seems to me that even the lawyers and politicians don't know what a law will actually do when they pass it, all they know is their intent without looking at everyone else who wants to throw in a page or two. I find that very scary.

So really, we get to choose between the motives of corporations or career politicians... either way the internet is screwed even more in the long term... as they bend me over I get to decide if I want my rape lubed or with spikes, not being raped is not an option.

Such is my opinion, I only "support" Net Neutrality because at least there will be some short term benefit.

Ideally I'd like to find a way to keep both the government and big business off the internet as much as possible.

I don't know it's just as bad, and big government at it's worse, but maybe it should just declare internet access a fundamental human right like some have argued and then regulate Internet like utilities instead of messing too much with pricing and competition. That's what Net Neutrality sounds similar to (vaguely) but it doesn't seem to go as far, and seems defined as being directed to broaden over time to give the government a lot of fine control, as opposed to guaranteeing a service at a functional level as much as possible but otherwise staying out of it.

Therumancer:
... I distrust laws that require 300+ page documents and are sold entirely through second hand summary... which is sadly most of them. As far as I'm concerned if they are being honest they can keep the law to six paragraphs or less without needing 300 pages of legalese to follow it around. ...

Devin Connors:
Sohn also said that most of the 332-page document is dedicated to the history of net neutrality, and answers questions and comments brought about by the open comment period on the FCC website -- which is why Wheeler's distillation of the plan is a trim four pages.

If I have choices about my internet providers, then I would choose to have Korean internet - considering my Korean friend has 120 times my upload speed for roughly the same price.

But I don't get a choice like that, do I?

I can fully understand many of the concerns regarding reclassification and more government regulation, but in the end reclassification is the lesser of two evils. It's not perfect and kinks will need to be worked out, but to put it simply it's a matter of preserving the status quo of the internet and ensure that the walls that prevent ISPs from profoundly screwing both customers and businesses on the internet remain up.

I'm an economic centrist and I believe in a free market without too much regulation, but the whole thing is about a tradeoff between the economic freedom of a few mega conglomerates and the ensuring that the countless number of internet businesses, both small and large, can keep operating. Ultimately, that will spur more economic growth at the end of the day. If the greatest threat is that T-Mobile's streaming service has to be reworked in order to be profitable, I find it a rather good trade-off.

ravenshrike:
If the Obama administration actually wanted to ensure cheap internet with plenty of competition it would provide incentives for 'last mile' programs. The idea that this will not be abused in favor of politically proper companies and used to permanently shut out any new guys is fucking absurd. One only needs to look at the state of radio today to understand the phenomenon which will occur. Not to mention the increased govt. access to the internet. But then, explaining regulatory capture to a democrat is like explaining colors to the blind.

The situation and rules for radio and the proposed rules for the internet aren't really analogous. The FCC owns (or owned) the entire radio frequency spectrum, which they then sell slices of to radio distributors. Those distributors have to build their own towers and such, but fundamentally radio isn't particularly regulated by the FCC. They keep swearing off the air, but as long as your documentation is in order they'll pretty much let you run anything short of audio porn. That said they do have special authority to hijack your broadcasts in case of a national emergency but what you really have to watch out for in radio are the music lobbies that dominate the airwaves.

With internet the companies are looking at being reclassified as a utility because the internet is not only increasingly essential for success in the US, but they also own every part of the system. They own the infrastructure, lock, stock and barrel, and they can currently charge what they want for what the feel like allowing you to do. What that's meant is things like data caps, slowing down sites like Netflix during negotiations or sites controlled by competitors, and just overall slower speeds for more money compared to other developed nations. The reason they're facing reclassification is that not only do they have all that control, but they have virtually no competition (by design, mind you). They don't expand because they don't have to because they have no incentive to start engaging in competition.

I am however legitimately curious about these "Last Mile Programs", and why you think any solution ever won't be "abused in favor of politically proper companies and used to permanently shut out any new guys." Someone will always try to exploit the system to their benefit. It's just a matter of finding the system that is most difficult to exploit.

When the proctologist's report comes in, the primary issue that's coming up is this mysterious arm wearing a Rolex wedged all the way up through his digestive system into his jaw.

Y'all that are largely against government regulation, I think maybe you place your faith too firmly in people who equally don't value human life, but aren't actually held back by having to at least look like they're following the law. Maybe you should ask for those companies to give you some money so you can afford to continue letting them squeeze consumers AND businesses that are totally reliant on them. After all, having your tentacles on everything is a good idea as long as the word "government" is never uttered, right? I'm sure they'll do what's best for them-I mean, US, I meant to say us- by pure, unadulterated obligation to pretend-I mean, sincerely have our best interests at heart. I'm sure there's a heart around here somewhere in this mansion.

 

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