Obama wants FCC to regulate the Internet; Cruz calls it ‘Obamacare for the Internet’

“Obama has called on federal regulators to toughen proposed net-neutrality rules for Internet traffic, including taking the controversial step of changing the way the law treats broadband providers so they are subject to stricter utility-like regulation,” Jim Puzzanghera reports for The Los Angeles Times. “‘Ever since the Internet was created, it’s been organized around basic principles of openness, fairness and freedom,’ Obama said in the video posted on the White House website. ‘There are no gatekeepers deciding which sites you get to access. There are no toll roads on the information superhighway,’ he said. ‘Abandoning these principals [sic] would threaten to end the Internet as we know it.'”

“FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said Monday that he was ‘grateful’ for Obama’s input and called the president’s statement ‘an important, welcome addition’ to the agency’s deliberations. But Wheeler said the legal issues involved with crafting the rules are complex and the FCC had ‘more work to do.'”

“Net neutrality supporters welcomed Obama’s strong statement of support,” Puzzanghera reports. “But broadband providers said Obama’s proposals risked harming the Internet. And Republicans, who have fought adamantly against net neutrality rules, slammed the president for urging stronger government regulation. ”Net Neutrality’ is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government,’ tweeted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).”

“Supporters of tough net-neutrality rules want the FCC to reclassify broadband providers to make them subject to regulation similar to that of telephone companies under Title 2 of the Telecommunications Act,” Puzzanghera reports. “Wheeler has said he’s open to such a move, which is strongly opposed by Internet service providers and most Republicans. And Wheeler has said he and the president are in agreement on the need for tough net-neutrality rules, although Obama had not detailed the exact rules he would prefer.”

MacDailyNews Take: Wait, Obama issued some vague platitudes without giving specifics? Shocking.

“On Monday, Obama was clear that he wanted the FCC to reclassify broadband providers, even though he does not have the power to force them to do so,” Puzzanghera reports. “Cable companies and other broadband service providers have opposed tougher regulation, saying it’s unnecessary and could stifle investment and innovation.”

MacDailyNews Take: Make no mistake: We don’t oppose the sentiment in Obama’s video and statements, specifically that the Internet retain “basic principles of openness, fairness and freedom.”

We oppose the imperious emptiness of it.

Not to mention its inherent illogicality: How, exactly, does the Internet remain “open, fair, and free” with the U.S. FCC regulating it?

“Verizon supports the open Internet, and we continue to believe that the light-touch regulatory approach in place for the past two decades has been central to the Internet’s success,” Verizon Communications Inc. said in a statement Monday,” Puzzanghera reports. “‘Reclassification under Title 2, which for the first time would apply 1930s-era utility regulation to the Internet, would be a radical reversal of course that would in and of itself threaten great harm to an open Internet, competition and innovation,’ the company said. ‘That course will likely also face strong legal challenges and would likely not stand up in court,’ Verizon said.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: This genie is already long out of the bottle. There is no such thing as pure “net neutrality” as proponents imagine it. What is “Net Neutrality,” exactly? Don’t bother – there are a million different definitions. You back “Net Neutrality?” Great. Do you back the Easter Bunny, too?

Beware: Government meddling often produces unintended consequences and those advocating the strongest for government control have often war-gamed said consequences and likely stand to benefit from one or more of the potential outcomes.

This is a case of putting the cart before the horse. Let the market go where it goes and keep a close eye on it. If and when there is actual cause for increased regulation, then move deliberately but with a consensus and, above all, extreme caution lest there be unintended consequences which could actually end up retarding progress rather than fostering it.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. — Bert Lance

Related articles:
What Apple’s new content delivery network means for so-called ‘net neutrality’ – and for you – August 19, 2014
Apple’s content delivery network now live; paid interconnect deals with ISPs, massive capacity in place – August 1, 2014
Apple’s content delivery network is reportedly live and it’s positively massive – July 31, 2014
Apple negotiating paid interconnect deals with ISPs for their own Content Delivery Network – May 20, 2014

Verizon: We will sue U.S. FCC over ‘net neutrality’ – November 6, 2014
What Apple’s new content delivery network means for so-called ‘net neutrality’ – and for you – August 19, 2014
Forget about Net Neutrality; the Net isn’t neutral now, nor will it ever be – June 23, 2014
Is the FCC the wrong agency to handle net neutrality? – June 21, 2014
Obama backs away from ‘Net Neutrality’ campaign promises after U.S. FCC vote – May 16, 2014
U.S. FCC vote on ‘net neutrality’ will kick off long battle – May 13, 2014
Mozilla proposes new version of net neutrality rules – May 6, 2014
FCC to propose new rules for so-called ‘Net Neutrality’; would allow broadband providers to charge companies for speed – April 23, 2014
FCC plans to issue new so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – February 19, 2014
U.S. federal court strikes down FCC’s so-called ‘net-neutrality’ regulations – January 14, 2014

120 Comments

  1. Tough question: Which freedom is more important?

    1) The freedom of individuals and corporations to connect to each other without interference by any gatekeeper, AS LONG AS the information requester has pays for their service.

    -or-

    2) The freedom of telecoms to turn the internet into a cable channel system, extract vigs from information providers by throttling paying customers access without consent, and otherwise being a coercive gatekeeper on all internet commerce, speech and other activities.

    Hmm.

    Regulation that keeps the playing field level for individuals, corporations, and the marketplace as a whole, in the presence of monopolies, critical utilities, and cabals of powerful entities, is actually one of the cornerstones of freedom.

      1. non sequitur.

        The ACA — which was supported primarily by the medical and insurance industries — had as its primary goal to move as many people off of taxpayer-funded emergency room care onto insurance plans that included at least a minimum level of preventative healthcare.

        You don’t have to be a genius to understand that in the long run, this will save taxpayers a significant amount of money. The CBO has already posted some financial projections, and they are promising. So if all you have to do is bitch about “Obamacare”, then screw you. It’s modeled on the same healthcare scheme that Romney signed into office for MA and the same plan that the Republicans were proposing as a way to streamline Medicare in the 1990’s. Now because a Democrat signed it into law, you’re suddenly against it. You are the worst political puppet ever. What does the national republican committee pay you to slander all things proposed by anyone not on the republican payroll?

        As for net neutrality — you’ll be whining for legal protection as soon as the nasty effects hit you. The way ISPs have consolidated into regional monopolies, regulating them as utilities is really the most logical policy forward to ensure all data transmission is allowed equal opportunity.

        Somehow I think boy boy would be singing a different tune if the road in front of his house was reserved by UPS from 5am until 10am every day for parcel truck traffic only. That’s fair, right, as long as UPS pays a pittance to whatever corrupt city council members would fall for such blatantly unfair street usage rights, isn’t that so bot boy?

  2. >Not to mention its inherent illogicality: How, exactly, does the Internet remain “open, fair, and free” with the U.S. FCC regulating it?

    While that SEEMS illogical, it’s not.

    It’s open in the same way that the FCC CableCard mandate enables me to OWN my own “cable box” (i.e. Tivo, and there are other devices that can use them), rather than having to use the cable company’s far inferior equipment.

  3. All – let’s say goodbye to MDN once and for all and let it be the Tea Party/Obama-crazed/Limbaugh-worshipping site it wants to be without our continued support. There’s lots of other places to get Apple News, places that just give you Apple News without shoving their politics down the throat of half their readership every week. Pick another place, any place – I’ll see you there.

  4. “How, exactly, does the Internet remain “open, fair, and free” with the U.S. FCC regulating it?”

    How does it do so WITHOUT regulation? Would you rely on the goodwill of the ISPs? The flawless market mechanisms for corrections? The latter is really a laugh — in a monopoly situation with ISPs conspiring to destroy net neutrality? Now that IS naive!

  5. You are FREE to leave MDN any nanosecond of your choosing.

    Your pouty petty protest is transparent and immature. Obviously you have a problem with FREE SPEECH and points of view not approved by fellow Democrats.

    Pity.

    Oh, and have a safe journey …

  6. Well, DaringFireball does not agree with MDN, that’s for sure.

    President Obama:

    I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online. The rules I am asking for are simple, common-sense steps that reflect the Internet you and I use every day, and that some ISPs already observe. These bright-line rules include:

    No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it. That way, every player — not just those commercially affiliated with an ISP — gets a fair shot at your business.
    No throttling. Nor should ISPs be able to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others — through a process often called “throttling” — based on the type of service or your ISP’s preferences.
    Increased transparency. The connection between consumers and ISPs — the so-called “last mile” — is not the only place some sites might get special treatment. So, I am also asking the FCC to make full use of the transparency authorities the court recently upheld, and if necessary to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.
    No paid prioritization. Simply put: No service should be stuck in a “slow lane” because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth. So, as I have before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.
    It saddens me, and almost surprises me, that this issue has become so polarized along party lines.

    This tweet from Republican senator Ted Cruz is utter nonsense:

    “Net Neutrality” is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.

    That’s just word soup. The only similarity to the Affordable Care Act is that Obama supports it. There may well be a rational, reasoned argument against Net Neutrality, but Republicans aren’t making it, and neither are the cable companies or cellular providers. Be wary of the side that can’t express their argument in clear, plain, unambiguous language.

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