U.S. FCC plans total repeal of Obama-era rules for so-called ‘net neutrality’

“Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai will reveal plans to his fellow commissioners on Tuesday to fully dismantle the agency’s Obama-era net neutrality regulations, people familiar with the plans said,” Margaret Harding McGill reports for Politico. “The commission will vote on the proposal in December, some seven months after it laid the groundwork for scuttling the rules that require internet service providers like Comcast or AT&T to treat web traffic equally.”

“President Donald Trump-appointed Pai’s plan would jettison rules that prohibit internet service providers from blocking or slowing web traffic or creating so-called paid internet fast lanes, the people familiar with the changes said,” McGill reports. “Pai also will follow through on his plans to scrap the legal foundation that the FCC’s old Democratic majority adopted in 2015 to tighten federal oversight of internet service providers, a move he contends has deterred the industry from investing in broadband networks.”

“The chairman’s approach, to be voted on at the FCC’s Dec. 14 meeting, would also get rid of the so-called general conduct standard, which gives the FCC authority to police behavior by internet service providers it deems unreasonable,” McGill reports. “The FCC will look to another agency, the Federal Trade Commission, to police whether internet service providers are acting in an anti-competitive manner.”

“The agency is expected to approve the rollback at its next meeting given the Republican majority,” McGill reports. “The move could also re-ignite interest in legislation to codify net neutrality rules, which Republican lawmakers and ISPs have pushed for this year. Some FCC watchers believe Pai’s dismantling of the rules could bring Democrats to the table to negotiate a legislative solution to the debate… Pai’s rollback of the net neutrality rules will top his list of deregulatory accomplishments since Trump appointed him chairman in January.”

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:
U.S. FCC plans December vote to kill so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – November 16, 2017
Apple’s call for ‘strong’ net neutrality rules is a hint about the future of its business – September 1, 2017
Apple breaks their silence on ‘net neutrality,’ remains open to alternative sources of legal authority – August 31, 2017
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

36 Comments

    1. What “MDN comments?” There are no “MDN comments” on this article. MDN simply provided the April 2017 public comments from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

      The only one who’s clueless is you. As usual.

        1. We don’t presume to know the best way to get there, but we support the concept of “Net Neutrality” especially as it pertains to preventing the idea of ISP’s blocking or otherwise impeding sites that don’t pay the ISP to ensure equal access. That said, 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 example). Regulations are static and the marketplace is fluid, so such regulation can often have unintended, unforeseen results down the road. We sincerely hope that there are enough forces in place and/or that the balances adjust in such a manner as to keep the ‘Net as neutral as it is today.MacDailyNews, August 2006

          That we have the same Take over three years later should be telling. Government regulations are not a panacea, neither are the lack thereof. It’s all about striking a proper balance where innovation can thrive while abuses are prevented.MacDailyNews, September 2009

          Make that “the same Take over a decade later.”MacDailyNews, July 2017

          “Net Neutrality” in concept is much different than so-called “net neutrality” selectively imposed. Delve into the nitty gritty of the FCC’s so-called “net neutrality” and it’s not so “neutral” after all. As with most everything governmental, the fight is for who gets to control so-called “net neutrality” and who is subject to/gets exempted from said control, not how/whether/if it works for the end user.MacDailyNews, July 2017

          1. “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”
            We prefer the government to be hands-off except in cases where we prefer them to be hands on. I’ve always found this to be an odd stance to take.

    2. 1. Those are not “MDN comments.”

      2. Many of my neighbors, who live in very nice homes and pay exceedingly large taxes for a litany of government “programs” from which they receive nothing, work for “giant corporations.”

      3. Without these “giant corporations” that you seem to think are faceless monsters but which are actually comprised of millions of people who pay the taxes that enable all of the ever-increasing entitlements that people of your ilk (Democrats, Liberals, Pajama Boys) unceasingly demand, there’d be nothing but hovels and soup kitchens littering the country.

      1. Yes. In this specific instance there are no “MDN Comments”.

        However, anyone who routinely visits this site knows MDN’s flawed position on Net Neutrality and their hypocrisy as I’ve mentioned elsewhere in this thread.

        So by your statements 2. and 3. you are saying, “I [and my neighbors] got mine, and I can afford whatever I need to pay. So, screw the rest of you.”

        Good for you.

        But, your callousness to the rest of the world is showing. How do you think a lot of those “giant corporations” got going? When they started would they have had the money to survive a tiered system of internet prices and services where the then extant “giant corporations” get preference? Many of those that are now “giant corporations” would not exist today if it was such an environment back then.

      2. Those millions of people employed by corporations do not make policy. And the people in charge who do make the policy are not faceless. I remember when AT&T CEO Ralph de la Vega stated at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia that “AT&T doesn’t need to play that game” of implementing wifi calling because their coverage was already so good. By that comment, he showed that he was pretty clueless about the lousy cellular reception available to millions of “faceless: customers. While I’ve found that many of the AT&T customer service folks are very polite, they can actually do very little to improve the reception available to me in places where I use my cell phone every day and is supposedly covered by LTE. I just have a hard time believing that if AT&T management is for a particular policy, that it’s going to translate into something that will benefit me.

      3. Re First 2014, Then 2016:
        Yes, they pay for the Fire Department and it does not come because their house is not on fire.
        Yes, they pay for the Police Department and it does not come because their house is secure.
        Yes, they pay for EMS and it does not come because they are well.
        Yes, they pay for the schools but do not use them because they are empty nesters.

    3. Former FCC Chair Tom Wheeler- who prior to his term was a lobbyist for both the Telephone and Cable industries- explains what this is all about and why repeal of these rules is not a wise decision. BTW- He wrote them and signed off on them.

      Yesterday on Bloomberg Technology

  1. The term “net neutrality” has been bashed around so much that it’s basically meaningless nowadays; originally, it meant that the Internet Service Providers were supposed to be “dumb pipes,” which showed no preference as to the provider of the data which was coming across to the user, including any data which they themselves might be providing (like AT&T providing their TV services over their own Internet channels). But people have twisted it around to mean whatever they want it to mean, because the people say, “ugh, net neutrality good.” Without, of course, knowing what this particular version of it – whatever it happens to be – is.

    1. “…which showed no preference as to the provider of the data which was coming across to the user, including any data which they themselves might be providing…”

      It also meant (and means to those who want true Net Neutrality) that it the ISPs are dumb pipes for the users. No preference as to connections to ISPs.

      Case in point: If I test my connection speed to my ISP’s server, I almost always get 300+ Mbps down and 75+ Mbps up. That’s more than the contracted 250/50 for which I pay. BUT, if I do the same test to ANY (yes, *ANY*) other ISP in the local region (say within about 200 miles of my home, some physically closer than my ISP’s local node) I get *at most* 200 Mbps down and 35 Mbps up, and routinely significantly less than that: <150/<25.

      There is no reason for that to be happening other than throttling data rates when their routers know data is being routed through other ISPs. I would expect slightly lower data rates and slightly higher ping times due to the extra hop, but not the typical factor of two.

      MDN's position on Net Neutrality is a farce. They even call it "So-called Net Neutrality" in virtually all their headlines and comments about it over the last few years. HOWEVER, in one article where it looked like MDN might be charged more by their host and ISP and other service providers for MDN's services as compared to others, MDN came out as being 100% against such a situation.

      MDN is the stereotypical case of "Screw all the other guys because it does not negatively affect me, but in the specific case where it negatively affects me, I am absolutely against it."

      Hypocrisy at MDN is paramount when it comes to Net Neutrality.

      The vast majority of ISPs are communications companies, not content generators. Only a small subset, typically the top tier of big guys, are also content generators. Even those guys have different divisions (most often wholly owned subsidiaries that are legally separate companies) that are content generators.

      Treat the ISPs as the communications companies they are. Regulate them as the common carriers that they are. Treat those companies (just the specific subsidiaries) as the content generators that they are. Don't mix the two (as Pai is doing) to make it so that the parent companies (especially the big companies) can do whatever they want, charge whatever they want, prioritize whatever they want, declare winners and losers whenever they want.

      1. A farce? Hypocrisy? Seriously?

        Here are MDN’s words:

        We don’t presume to know the best way to get there, but we support the concept of “Net Neutrality” especially as it pertains to preventing the idea of ISP’s blocking or otherwise impeding sites that don’t pay the ISP to ensure equal access. That said, 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 example). Regulations are static and the marketplace is fluid, so such regulation can often have unintended, unforeseen results down the road. We sincerely hope that there are enough forces in place and/or that the balances adjust in such a manner as to keep the ‘Net as neutral as it is today.MacDailyNews, August 2006

        That we have the same Take over three years later should be telling. Government regulations are not a panacea, neither are the lack thereof. It’s all about striking a proper balance where innovation can thrive while abuses are prevented.MacDailyNews, September 2009

        Make that “the same Take over a decade later.”MacDailyNews, July 2017

        “Net Neutrality” in concept is much different than so-called “net neutrality” selectively imposed. Delve into the nitty gritty of the FCC’s so-called “net neutrality” and it’s not so “neutral” after all. As with most everything governmental, the fight is for who gets to control so-called “net neutrality” and who is subject to/gets exempted from said control, not how/whether/if it works for the end user.MacDailyNews, July 2017

    1. you mean fundamentally transforming the united states of america. i still don’t know what he meant by that, unless, maybe, he was just fundamentally opposed to the principles upon which this country was founded, in which case, one would think he’d be regarded an enemy of the state, otherwise, i don’t get it, unless, of course, i do get it, in which case, i can’t say i’m unhappy he’s gone, i mean, wtf, how do charismatic enemies of the state get elected, seriously, i mean, history has some very clear examples but, omg, is this what happens when we consume too many empty calories, no omega fatty acids. i realize i can be annoying, i mean, i’m not disputing that, sorry, i had caffeine, i’m really messed up.

  2. The FCC is now the bought and paid for tool of Neo-Feudalist aristocrats. While these fools are in control, expect NO representation of We The People. It’s all about Feed The Rich. To hell with democracy. All hail the corporatocracy.

  3. First of all, let’s divide the wireless and wired internet- they do similar things, but have very different pricing and capacity. The wireless internet is a competitive market nationally and should be left alone for the most part.

    The wired internet is a totally different matter. It has become the master utility as the web has replaced the mailbox, the magazine, the newspaper, the radio, the telephone and increasingly the television. It is not a competitive market in most of the United States and as a result, your geography determines what kind of internet service you get and how expensive it happens to be. In an age where being online is so big a part of life, that has created a digital divide that impacts business, government, individuals and non-profit organizations.

    Our government has a direct interest under the Constitution to assure that each and every American has reasonable access to high quality, reliable and fairly priced data/ISP service. Not to give you service, but to make sure it is available. Advocates from the ISP/Telecom and Cable lobbies, like Ajit Pai, try to equate wired and wireless service to claim a competitive marketplace, which is a joke. 5GB of Wireless Data from AT&T or Verizon is not the same as 1 TB of wired service from Comcast, Charter, AT&T Fiber, Google Fiber, or Verizon FIOS despite both having similar pricing. 1 HD movie on iTunes could burn through your entire month’s data allowance on LTE and not be a big deal on a wired connection. There is no equivalence between wired and wireless as the primary ISP for your home or business.

    This leaves most broadband ISPs in a de facto monopoly position and they would like to use it to squeeze more money out of your wallet by creating virtual fast and slow lanes for the handling of the data that comes to your device from servers hosting the web sites and services you use. ISP lobbyists and apologists will conflate traffic routing they already can legally do with prioritization of data for profit which is what repealing the Obama eras FCC rules will allow. They are very different things and the one they are pushing for will allow profiteering on a significant scale.

    If there were a truly competitive market for landline broadband internet in the majority of the United States, I would have no opposition to the repeal of the Wheeler FCC rules at issue. Since that is not the case, consumers are trapped into taking what the ISP offers or face degraded or no service. In a competitive market, you could say goodbye to an ISP abusing data prioritization for another that does not, but most Americans do not have that option.

    In terms of streaming video, that means AT&T could give priority to data from DIRECTVNOW- which they own or HULU which they are soon to own an interest in (via Time-Warner) over other services from Amazon, NETFLIX, Apple, Sony, Dish (Sling TV), etc. The same is true of Comcast who has a streaming service (in beta) and owns about 30% of HULU. OTT Video services like CBSN (an advertising supported 24 hour news channel), SKY News, Curiosity Stream, Filmstruck, Qello, Broadway HD, The Blaze, Free Speech TV and others could be put at a disadvantage with slower loading, more buffering or higher distribution costs because they are not owned by or affiliated with the ISP.

    This deregulation would put ISPs in a position to profiteer from both the content suppliers and end consumers- meaning higher prices or lower cost service just because they can.

    This is not in the best interest of consumers individually or as the nation as a whole. It is not in the interest of commerce and enterprise unless you are the price gouging ISP. It is not in the interest of not for profits, of education or science.

    The Telecom and Cable lobbies have spent more money than any other in recent years on lobbying and this is their holy grail. The FTC has not shown itself capable of effectively protecting consumers or policing misconduct, but would be in charge of this industry if the FCC is stripped of or relinquishes it’s authority.

    That is what this is all about.

  4. Those greedy money makers finally found the perfect environment for their slave-wages-high-income-driven business with the Trump administration MacDailyNews editors so much admire.
    I want to see their reaction when their iCloud accounts start to take a day to sync contacts because Microsoft or Google made an arrangement so that Apple becomes low-priority traffic. Some call it competition. I’d call it cartelization. The results are there to see, be it in healthcare (highest prices in the world), education (one of the highest prices in the world) or even tap water (either expensive or very low quality).
    When are people gonna understand that in terms of infrastructure, the competition is almost impossible because of physical constrains (like duplicating or triplicating sewage or water distribution or electric cabling or network cabling)?
    But that’s just the beginning, folks, just the beginning. Then they’ll slow down every beacon of freedom, i.e. all progressive and left leaning websites, building the perfect Orwellian society in the name of freedom.

    Every time someone talks about freedom, it’s because they are going to do the exact opposite. I hear you, Mr. Pai.

    1. “Every time someone talks about freedom, it’s because they are going to do the exact opposite.”

      Yup, that would be the Democrat Party and its members now control the media and education markets. And we all know they want to CONTROL our free speech replaced by PC speech codes that pander to their identity political mindless groups that keep them in power.

      Sad they do nothing to control the skyrocketing costs of health care, higher education, housing and the list goes on …

      1. Both Democratic Party and it’s sibling orwellian-wise-financially-corrupt GOP want to make the average American a corporation slave in which their life is absolutely dependent on the will of the markets, may I say, the will of the money cartels of Wall Street. In order to keep himself alive, the average American has to obey and pay (obey to have the salary and pay to keep the economy rolling).

        If you give a deep thought on the issue, the PC speech is defined by both parties, because they define what are “the correct politics”. Whoever is out of that should be carefully destroyed. Just look at Bernie Sanders: do you believe talking about the thousands of Americans which will die without proper healthcare is PC? I don’t think so. It’s bold and, in the eyes of the sickening-money-laundering-wise establishment, like Hillary and Donald, it’s really, really politically incorrect!
        Although for Donald Dump PC is more about not being an asshole and rude with everyone which does not look or think like him, like progressives, blacks, muslims…

        1. The corporation slaves are the in the pocket politicians. Citizens beneath both institutions are collateral damage following the rules as handed down by the lawmakers with their hands out.

          I like Bernie, alas, the corrupt Clinton machine that took over the DNC and Democratic Party quashed any hopes of a fair and honest election process. The party is bought and paid for by corporation slaves you mention. Had she won, what type of slave be it corporate or elected, what’s the difference, world would we be following?

          And absolutely not, Poltical Correctness is entirely designed, owned and enforced by the Democrats and their willing accomplices in the media.

          President Trump has been dumping PC since he got off the escalator in Trump Tower announcing his run for president.

          Case in point: It now OK again after the vanquished PC tyranny years to simply say, Merry Christmas.

          Merry Christmas, everyone … ⭐️🎄

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