Apple breaks their silence on ‘net neutrality,’ remains open to alternative sources of legal authority

“Apple entered the net neutrality debate, urging the government to continue prohibiting Internet service providers from discriminating against web sites and online content,” Aaron Pressman reports for Fortune. “But in a short, four-page filing, the iPhone maker did not take a stand on just how such regulations should be implemented, a key question as the Federal Communications Commission considers rolling back its own 2015 net neutrality rules.”

“‘Broadband providers should not block, throttle, or otherwise discriminate against lawful websites and services,’ Cynthia Hogan, Apple’s vice president for public policy, wrote to the agency. ‘Far from new, this has been a foundational principle of the FCC’s approach to net neutrality for over a decade. Providers of online goods and services need assurance that they will be able to reliably reach their customers without interference from the underlying broadband provider,'” Pressman reports. “Apple also opposes allowing paid prioritization… Allowing paid prioritization, sometimes called fast lanes for preferred content, would create ‘an internet with distorted competition where online providers are driven to reach deals with broadband providers or risk being stuck in the slow lane and losing customers due to lower quality service,’ she wrote.”

“Two years ago, under Obama-appointed FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, the agency adopted… rules on a determination that Internet service providers like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast were ‘common carriers’ similar to the old phone companies, an area where the law gives the FCC clear regulatory powers,” Pressman reports. “Trump-appointed chairman Ajit Pai is seeking to overturn the common carrier designation, which he and the ISP industry argues led to excessive regulation and deterred investment in broadband networks.”

“Apple didn’t take a specific position on the common carrier issue in its comments,” Pressman reports. “‘Apple remains open to alternative sources of legal authority, but only if they provide for strong, enforceable, and legally sustainable protections, like those in place today,’ Hogan wrote.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Note: FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, April 2017:

I favor a free and open Internet, as I think most consumers do.

My concern is with the particular regulations that the FCC adopted two years ago. They are what is called Title II regulations developed in the 1930s to regulate the Ma Bell telephone monopoly.

And my concern is that, by imposing those heavy-handed economic regulations on Internet service providers big and small, we could end up disincentivizing companies from wanting to build out Internet access to a lot of parts of the country, in low-income, urban and rural areas, for example.

And that, I think, is something that nobody would benefit from… so what we’re trying to do going forward is figure out a way that we can preserve that free and open Internet that consumers want and need and preserve that incentive to invest in the network that will ultimately benefit even more consumers going forward.

If you look carefully, a lot of… companies don’t say that they like Title II specifically, these particular regulations. What they say is that they care about the principles of a free and open Internet.

And so I actually think there is a decent amount of common ground there. And it’s just a matter of finding the appropriate legal framework to reach that common ground.

But the second point I would make is that these companies are the best evidence of the success of the light-touch regulatory framework that originated in the Clinton administration, and that’s something that I favor.

From the dawn of the commercial Internet in the 1990s until 2015, we had light-touch regulation, where the agency or where the country monitored the market, let it develop organically, and then took targeted action if necessary, if there was an example of anti-competitive conduct.

And it’s under that light-touch framework that the companies like Google, like Facebook, like Netflix were able to become globally known names. And that’s the kind of success that we want to promote in the future with light-touch regulation.

SEE ALSO:
Trump administration gives thumbs up to overturning FCC’s rules for so-called ‘net neutrality’ – July 19, 2017
]Apple’s deafening silence on so-called ‘net neutrality’ – July 14, 2017
FCC kicks off effort to roll back so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – May 18, 2017
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai explains why he wants to scrap so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – April 28, 2017
FCC Chief Ajit Pai develops plans to roll back so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – April 7, 2017
U.S. FCC chairman wields weed whacker, takes first steps against so-called ‘net neutrality’ – February 3, 2017
How so-called ‘net neutrality’ will fare under President Trump – January 26, 2017
New FCC chairman Ajit Pai vows to take a ‘weed whacker’ to so-called ‘net neutrality’ – January 24, 2017
President Trump elevates Ajit Pai to FCC Chairman – January 23, 2017
Outgoing FCC chief Tom Wheeler offers final defense of so-called ‘net neutrality’ – January 13, 2017
Under President Trump, Obama ally Google may face policy setbacks, including roll back of so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – November 18, 2016
Jeb Bush on FCC and so-called ‘net neutrality’ regulation: ‘One of the craziest ideas I’ve ever heard’ – March 8, 2015
Who loves the FCC’s overreach on so-called ‘net neutrality?’ Telecom lawyers – March 5, 2015
Legal battles loom over FCC’s so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – February 26, 2015
U.S. FCC OKs so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules on party-line vote – February 26, 2015
U.S. FCC’s rules for so-called ‘net neutrality’ expected to unleash slew of court challenges – February 26, 2015
EFF: ‘We are deeply concerned; FCC’s new rules include provision that sounds like a recipe for overreach’ – February 25, 2015
The U.S. FCC’s Orwellian Internet policy – February 25, 2015
Democratic FCC commissioner balks at so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – February 24, 2015
FCC chief pressed to release proposed regulations governing so-called ‘net neutrality’ – February 23, 2015
FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai: Obama’s plan a monumental shift toward government control of the Internet – February 10, 2015
Congress launches investigation as Republicans claim Obama had ‘improper influence’ over so-called ‘net neutrality’ – February 7, 2015
FCC chairman proposes to regulate ISP’s under Title II – February 4, 2015
U.S. congressional Republicans’ bill aims to head off Obama’s so-called ‘net neutrality’ plan – January 17, 2015
U.S. Congressional proposal offers Internet rules of the road – January 15, 2015
U.S. FCC says it will vote on so-called ‘net neutrality’ in February – January 3, 2015
FCC hopes its rules for so-called ‘net neutrality’ survive inevitable litigation – November 22, 2014
Obama-appointed FCC chairman distances himself from Obama on so-called ‘net neutrality’ – November 12, 2014
What does so-called ‘net neutrality’ mean for Apple? – November 12, 2014
AT&T to pause fiber investment until net neutrality rules are decided – November 12, 2014
There’s no one to root for in the debate over so-called ‘net neutrality’ – November 11, 2014
U.S. FCC plays Russian Roulette with so-called ‘net neutrality’ – November 11, 2014
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner: Republicans will continue efforts to stop misguided scheme to regulate the Internet – November 10, 2014
Tech Freedom: Obama cynically exploits confusion over Title II, misses opportunity to lead on legislative deal – November 10, 2014
Obama want FCC to regulate the Internet; Cruz calls it ‘Obamacare for the Internet’ – November 10, 2014

19 Comments

  1. So, Apple agrees with Chairman Pai.

    The net and users will be protected by the FTC and whatever new rules/legislation arise after the FCC is defanged. The FCC was corrupted by Google’s money and assistance (data) to the Obama campaign.

    To make it simple: Google paid Obama (via campaign contributions of money and personnel) so they could own ad tracking and basically build a monopoly. Obama used the FCC to deliver the goods.

    Three must-read articles in order to understand the issue:

    LA Times: FCC Democrats caved to Obama on net neutrality rules

    The Telegraph: Obama wades into ‘net neutrality’ debate

    The Intercept: Google’s Remarkably Close Relationship With the Obama White House, in Two Charts

    As Pai says, the Internet worked just fine when the FTC held sway. These moves will help spur innovation by removing corruption.

    1. That is not what the Apple Statement says.
      Nice try.

      The ISPs want the FTC- a toothless, captive agency in charge because they already own it. The reason they fear the FCC is that as a common carrier they can actively regulate them to include the option of requiring equal access.

      Remember when the Bell Monopoly was broken up? The equal access rules meant any company could enter the business and offer Long Distance Telephone service. They had to pay the local incumbent whose wires ran to your house, which is only fair, but they were free to compete for your business.

      In short order the cost of Long Distance in the US plunged as consumers had a large number of companies competing for their business instead of the take it or leave it model of the Bell System.

      This is what the ISP/Cable and TeleCom companies fear: actual competition with no local monopolies. In Nashville, AT&T is fighting Google’s roll out of Fiber despite a long track record of selling access to their utility poles to many other carriers. They do not want to let Google in even if Google pays the market rate for access to the utility poles that AT&T owns. Under equal access, AT&T would be required to let Google sell you service or any other ISP.

      The American ideal is supposedly competition but in Telecommunications all the companies seek a monopoly. You do not see Verizon building FIOS in areas where AT&T Fiber exists. you never saw Time -Warner Cable build in areas where Comcast, or Cox or Charter were the incumbent. These companies have carved up our country and are working on concert- as a cartel- to keep things just as they are: a monopoly.

      Mr Pai is pushing the interests of the ISP, Cable, TelCo lobby. What he is not doing is acting in the consumer’s interest.

      1. The internet is not a utility.

        By getting government out of the business of telling ISPs how to run their servers, current FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is working hard to undo rules governing so-called net neutrality (initiated by former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, Obama appointee), putting consumers back in charge of how the internet — and the businesses responsible for building and maintaining the countless millions of internet connections and switches powering the internet — should operate.

        Through the so-called net-neutrality rules, the FCC put five unelected government regulators between consumers and internet service providers, drastically expanding the FCC’s power. By regulating the internet as though it is a utility, such as an electric company or a water company, the FCC inserted itself into the middle of the data transactions made between every recipient and sender, of every bit and byte.

        Decades of internet and networking innovation, enabled by the government’s earlier hands-off approach, have slowed to a crawl because of Wheeler’s overreach, but Pai’s quest to reduce regulations on internet providers and other telecommunications companies will once again get government out of the way and turbocharge consumers’ internet experience.

        1. F14T16, I don’t necessarily agree that the legal framework that should be used to regulate ISPs is Title II (because, frankly, I don’t know that much about it). But I do believe regulation is necessary here.

          And I think you are wrong about the internet as utility. The internet, like telephone, is a utility. One way to view the issue is to ask the question, “If I did not have this service, would I be at a severe disadvantage in my ability to interact with others in my particular civil society?” When a new technology is first introduced, the answer to this question is almost always “no,” since society has existed without the service up to that point. But once a service has been fully integrated into a particular society, the answer may change. No question that not having a telephone in the 1930s, ’40s, ’50s put one at a serious disadvantage compared to other members of your societal group. Same for electricity in the 1930s (thus the big push for rural electrification under FDR). When the internet and WWW first became available to individuals in the 1990s, it was a cool novelty. But today, if an individual wants to make purchases, obtain government services or benefits, obtain telephone number and address information, find medical information, etc., he or she is at a tremendous disadvantage if he/she does not have access to the internet. Information, forms, applications for jobs, and much more are more expeditiously (and in some cases, exclusively) available on the internet. (And no, going to the public library is not an equivalent substitute, any more than borrowing your neighbor’s phone was in the 1930s.)

          So, the internet is in my mind (and the minds of many others) a utility. The real question is, what is the best way to regulate this utility?

          1. It is a mistake to force ISPs to treat all data alike, ignoring the different needs of the various kinds of data traveling over the internet.

            Wheeler’s rules stuck your favorite Netflix stream onto the same slow road as spam email, preventing the data you want from getting to you when you want it and how you want it. Paid prioritization allows service like Netflix to satisfy your Stranger Things episode with fewer problems and greater reliability.

            Some data types are more tolerant of delays or temporary congestion. For instance, the bits comprising an e-mail don’t need to arrive at a recipient’s computer all in the same order they were sent. Other kinds of data, primarily video, are less tolerant of delays.

            The Internet will work better with less regulation and allowing prioritization agreements.

            The Internet wasn’t broken. If it ain’t broke, don’t “fix” it – and certainly not in the stifling way Obama/Wheeler imposed.

            1. Your ability for cognitive dissonance and deliberately mis interpeting information is truly astounding. Maybe fox should hire you as a contributor. I’ve seen some bay shit crazy things come out of your mouth, but deliberately mis representing an Apple statement is pretty low even for you… if this ain’t satire I fear for you and your descendants.

            2. There is a difference between data types and data sources, Firsty. Netflix and Amazon both offer streaming video – a common data type. If all video is handled a certain way for the “benefit” of the Internet, then that is at least equitable. If Netflix’s video content is handled differently from Amazon’s video content across the Internet or various geographical areas dominated by a particular ISP, then that would not be equitable.

              In the end, I pay for a max data rate (which is rarely, if ever, delivered) and total throughput defined by a data cap. In that context, why should my ISP control the manner in which my bits are handled? If I want to spend my bandwidth on 4K video streaming, then that is my right. Unfortunately, even though I live near a major U.S. city, I have only two viable ISP choices – Comcast and Uverse.

            1. Yup, my IP address is blocked, no explanation, no discussion. MDN is now a toxic alt right echo chamber with dissent simply and deliberately suppressed. Just stupid self-reverential incendiary articles promoting deplorable nonsense.
              #USkakistocracy
              #MDNfail
              #desert of denial™

              This message will self destruct in 5. 4. 3….

    2. First, Then…
      Ah yes, the bait and switch then when it’s in the corner you want (a completely indefensible corner) outright kill it.

      Anyone with more than one active brain cell can tell the FTC is not the place to put the authority over the Internet if you want true Net Neutrality.

      The Internet (and any sub component of it) is an information TRANSFER system–in general parlance it is a COMMUNICATION system. The Internet itself (and virtually all of the ISPs and carriers that make up the Internet in the U.S.) are not information sources but rather information transfer systems, i.e., communication systems.

      Communication systems come under the authority of the FCC. Period. Information source systems come under the authority of the FTC. Period. Just because some idiots want to claim that ISPs are not communications providers but rather are information sources does not make is so.

      If the “authority” to control the Internet in the U.S. is placed under the FTC and the FTC tries to create then enforce any new, restrictive regulations, the restricted parties will sue en mass claiming the FTC has no authority to regulate a COMMUNICATION system. And, guess what? They’ll win.

      What will be the outcome of that?

      Well, it will take a few years for the lawsuits to wind their ways through the legal system. Then there will be further years on appeal. Then the courts will order it back to the FCC. Then it will take a year or more for the FCC to formulate new regulations and implement them.

      A transfer to the FTC will cause a delay in any effective enforcement of Net Neutrality by five years minimum and possibly a decade or more. Within that timeframe the ISPs will have free reign. They won’t be required by law or enforceable regulation to not have paid prioritization. They won’t be required to even carry information through their system if they don’t want to do so. We will get a “fast Internet” for those who pay more and a “blocked Internet” for those who won’t pay extortion fees at all.

      Only a die hard anti Net Neutrality person would promote moving control over the Internet to the FTC.

    3. You have a strange way of skewing everything to support your worldview, Firsty. But you can comfort yourself with fantasies, if you like.

      Obama was a far better POTUS than Trump could ever hope to be – far better informed, inclusive of diverse inputs and opinions, well-reasoned policies, superior diplomat and communicator, compassionate…better in every way that matters. Our descendants will ultimately pass judgement on the Presidents of the 21st century and, based on his first eight months, I do not believe that future historians will be kind to Trump.

  2. Ajit Pai, former Verizon Lawyer/Lobbyist is Butt-Boy for the ISP, Cable and TelComs and wants to make sure you keep paying the most possible for the least service tolerable.

    These companies pretend to want an open and competitive free market while fighting it tooth and nail behind the scenes. Their lobbyists are using state legislatures to ban local utilities from offering internet service and ones already in business from expanding services.

    Most Americans do not have a competitive market in land line home internet. The ISPs have not slowed spending for expanding service- they have spent their money buying up content providers: AT&T has purchased DIRECTV and is in the process of purchasing Time-Warner, Verizon has bought up AOL and Yahoo, Comcast has bought NBC-Universal, Charter has purchased Time-Warner Cable

    1. It is incredibly hypocritical that the GOP espouses the preeminence of individual rights and freedoms and champions States’ rights over the federal government, but then flips and passes state laws to prevent localities from governing according to the wishes of the community. Hypocrisy incarnate.

  3. Simply stated, just let me know what side Comcast agrees with and I’m SPRINTING to the other side. And anyone that stands for protecting Comcast is… well, anyone that can proudly state “I love and stand by Comcast” has their own issues and they don’t need name calling from me!

  4. Background:
    I’ve been the Technical Authority on a few dozen filings with the FCC for the authorization to implement a new communications system. I’ve been the overriding Filing Authority on several more. I’ve been the Technical Authority or Filing Authority of a few non U.S. submissions for authority to operate a new system.

    I’m currently overseeing the design and development of a new system that will distribute world-wide over a petabyte of information to end users each and every day. (That’s not a big as Amazon Web Services [which includes Netflix] or Google, but it’s a lot and not insignificant in the scope of things.)

    This newest company is very concerned with Net Neutrality. TRUE Net Neutrality as are their investors. Any form of paid prioritization, actively induced latency, or active blockage will have a huge negative impact on this service as the service is all about getting information to end users live. Their whole customer set is made up of users that need information NOW, not 10 or 30 seconds from now. If the company has to pay extra for a “fast Internet lane” through some carriers then their business might not be viable. (There is only a subset of customers for which the cost is irrelevant if they can get the information NOW. The majority of their customers trade off immediacy versus cost.)

    This is but one real-world example of why Net Neutrality is important.

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