Who loves the FCC’s overreach on so-called ‘net neutrality?’ Telecom lawyers

“The day after the FCC’s net neutrality vote, Washington was downright frigid. I’d spoken at three events about the ruling, mentioning at each that the order could be overturned in court. I was tired and ready to go home,” Geoffrey A. Manne writes for Wired. “I could see my Uber at the corner when I felt a hand on my arm. The woman’s face was anxious. ‘I heard your talk,’ she said.’If net neutrality is overturned, will I still be able to Skype with my son in Turkey?'”

“The question reveals the problem with the supposed four million comments submitted in support of net neutrality. Almost no one really gets it,” Manne writes. “Fewer still understand Title II, the regulatory tool the FCC just invoked to impose its conception of net neutrality on the Internet.”

“Some internet engineers and innovators do get it. Mark Cuban rightly calls the uncertainty created by Title II a ‘Whac-a-Mole environment,’ driven by political whims,” Manne writes. “And telecom lawyers? They love it: whatever happens, the inevitable litigation will mean a decade’s worth of job security. As I’ve said in technically detailed comments, academic coalition letters, papers, and even here at Wired, while ‘net neutrality’ sounds like a good idea, it isn’t. And reclassifying the internet under Title II, an antiquated set of laws repurposed in the 1930s for Ma Bell, is the worst way to regulate dynamic digital services.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The shortsightedness, be it feigned or real, coupled with a seemingly insatiable lust for power and control emanating from Washington D.C. is a recipe for disaster after disaster.

As we wrote over eight years ago: We usually prefer the government to be hands-off wherever possible, Laissez-faire, except in cases where the free market obviously cannot adequately self-regulate (antitrust, for just one example). Regulations are static and the marketplace is fluid, so extensive regulations can have unintended, unforeseen results down the road.

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79 Comments

  1. Title II actually locks out a lot of lawsuits because of its long history of precedence.

    As for ‘not’ getting Net Neutrality or Title II, sorry Geoffrey A. Manne who writes for Wired, but I get BOTH and I say you’re FUDing your readers. Poor show kiddo.

    Nonetheless, underestimating the ignorance of the populace at large is, as usual, very difficult to do; Especially in the current climate of anti-education throughout the USA, despite all the legal gimmickry and propaganda. Neo-Feudalism demands that the peasants be barefoot and stupid.

    1. Oh and of course the usual expletive utterances into the faces of Verizon, Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cox, ad nauseam for ruining defacto net neutrality in the first place, then suing the FCC for trying to protect it, now suing the FCC again for demanding it…. And of course a special expletive to the US Congress for being totally oblivious about real net neutrality, giving as lots of laughs and guffaws at their attempts to write a ‘net neutrality’ bill.

      Hint World: Learn about modern technology or put up with we Tech Overlords who DO understand it. I strongly suggest learning over submission. 🙂

      1. The “Libertarian” model would tell you we do not need regulation and that you could just sue the offending company in court. Of course said company will have inserted a binding arbitration clause into the contract or EULA so the only option will be the rigged game of corporate arbitration.

        In Libertarianland there would be no FDA- you would just be trusting the free market to supply your child’s cold medicine. If your child does from their product you can get justice in the form of a lawsuit evan as your child’s body assumes room temperature.

        1. I assume you meant something like ‘If your child does SUFFER from their product….”

          This aspect of ‘Libertarianism’ is difficult. Having my own ideals along similar lines, I am constantly confronted with the fact that we are all inherently reluctant to take responsibility for our choices. Obviously, we live within an overall, global game of finance. Those who take the game to extremes think ONLY about making more symbols of wealth and power for themselves in their constant search for security and overcompensation for their often inherent insecurity. (I have a brother who I swear was born in that state of mind/spirit/whatever it is).

          The result is that pure ‘Libertarianism’ doesn’t work with we humans in our current state, from our cultures to our family experiences to our environment and probably to our genetics. I find that disturbing and disappointed. I strive for the ‘Libertarian’ ideal in my own life, which is the best I can do. Getting OTHER people to live that way is utterly HOPELESS. Imposing ‘Libertarianism’ on other is not practical. It’s easily as bound to fail as that horror of personal irresponsibility called ‘communism’. But I still consider it a goal.

          IOW: Forcing irresponsible people into responsibility via the law is inevitable at this point in our evolution on many levels. 🙁

          1. The Libertarian concept is one of those things that appeals to the mind but fails the test of human conduct- the same as communism. A few will work, but most will attempt to game the system.

            I like Thom Hartmann’s take on Republicans who call themselves Libertarians (but do not choose to join the Libertarian Party): They are NeoCons who like to smoke dope and get laid. Apart from that they are NeoCons.

            The problem with no regulation is that greed will overrule all in almost every case. Unbridled greed is economically and socially destructive.

            1. One of those things that appeals to the mind but fails the test of human conduct, not to mention HISTORY: Dem/Lib/Prog statism.

  2. All I know is Komcast is a monopoly where I live. Now, about this “if a company uses a whole lot of bandwidth, they should pay more” mess. Hmmm, to me that kind of seems like the way things should work. If this so called net neutral mess means a company like Netflix that does nothing but streaming video can still use a whole heap of internet power while a small company that doesn’t use much pays Komcast the same for access as Netflix, hey, that just seems wrong to me. But hey, wha’ do I know?

    1. @orenkoto

      It’s nice to see an argument against NN based on actual thought, substance and specifics, as opposed to the knee jerk “big government evil” argument we’re seeing so much of.

      You make a fair point, but I’ll tell you why I disagree.

      1) Since ISPs like ATT and Comcast are themselves selling video content (in competition with Netflix), they would have the right to charge competitors while paying no toll themselves, giving them an unfair competitive advantage

      2) the customer is already paying for his content. Such a toll charge on content providers would be charging twice for the same content

      3) a fairer way to deal with the issue you’re addressing is for the ISP to charge the customer a small fee per GB. This way he’s charged the same for his content wherever he gets it, and not penalized for using specific content providers. I’m not entirely in favor of this, but it’s one way of dealing with the problem u raise and WOULD be a huge incentive for the ISPs to invest more. This would be similar to water companies charging per gallon.

      When ISPs charge third party content companies like Netflix, the charge does get back to the customer, but not necessarily in an equitable way across varying providers.

      4) Given that ISPs are the real gatekeepers of the Internet, and if they had no restrictions on charging content providers, they’d have unfettered ability to choose winners and losers, and this could stifle innovation. This is the reason almost all non-isp internet companies are against this.

      1. Orenkoto

        Sorry I missread your post. I now see that you ARE supporting NN.

        Please consider my post another response to the folks YOU were disagreeing with.

    1. What is to stop them from expanding this?
      How did they arrive at just those four?
      What if they decide a fifth one is needed?

      There is no simple redress at that point.

      1. The FCC is an agency charged with regulating communications in the US. It is their right and obligation to protect the public interest regarding internet services and that is exactly in line with the actions taken recently.

        This whole episode would not have happened had the ISP’s not exhibited extreme rent seeking behavior toward their customers and so openly opposed market competition for the services. Americans pay some of the highest prices for some of the most marginal Internet services in the developed world. Americans also face a largely non-competitive environment for ISPs.

        If most Americans had a broad collection of viable options regarding broadband this action would not have been necessary. Ask yourself why we do not see Comcast growing it’s network except by acquisition of competitors- the same for Verizon, AT&T and others. They do not want to compete- they wish to operate as a monopoly without regulation.

        Verizon had plenty of money to buy out it’s partners in Wireless, AT&T enough to try to buy DirecTV, Comcast enough to try to buy TimeWarner Cable. None seem to want to spend a dime on competing in each other’s incumbent territories or building out their networks.

  3. There is also justifiable concern for the lust for power and control emanating from the private sector, in this case the ISPs, who wish to establish and control their monopolies. Our founders and even Adam Smith recognized that government regulation, acting as a referee, plays a necessary part in maintaining an open, fair, and competitive market economy. Regulations do not have to be static; there should be a standard practice to revisit, review, and revise as circumstances require.

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