Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: The Internet is free again; killing Obama-era rules will remove the FCC as political gatekeeper

“The FCC on Thursday voted 3-2 to approve chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to repeal ‘net neutrality’ rules backed by the Obama Administration that reclassified internet-service providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934,” The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board writes. “By effectively deeming the internet a utility, former chairman Tom Wheeler turned the FCC into a political gatekeeper. The rules prohibited broadband providers from blocking, throttling and favoring content, which Mr. Wheeler ostensibly intended to help large content providers like Google and Netflix gain leverage against cable companies.”

“But as always in politics, treatment under the rules would depend on ideology and partisanship. Even as liberals howl that the Justice Department’s lawsuit to block AT&T’s merger with Time Warner is motivated by President Trump’s animus to CNN, they want FCC control over the internet. The left’s outcry at Mr. Pai ‘killing’ internet freedom has been so overwrought that the FCC meeting room had to be cleared Thursday for a security threat,” The Editorial Board writes. “Bans on throttling content may poll well, but the regulations have created uncertainty about what the FCC would or wouldn’t allow. This has throttled investment.”

“Mr. Pai’s rules would require that broadband providers disclose discriminatory practices. Thus cable companies would have to be transparent if they throttle content when users reach a data cap or if they speed up live sports programming. Consumers can choose broadband providers and plans accordingly. The Federal Trade Commission will have authority to police predatory and monopolistic practices, as it had prior to Mr. Wheeler’s power grab,” The Editorial Board writes. “Mr. Pai’s net-neutrality rollback will also support growth in content. Both content producers and consumers will benefit from increased investment in faster wireless and fiber technology. Apple is pouring $1 billion into original content to compete with Amazon, Netflix and YouTube. Disney is buying the 21st Century Fox assets to compete with Netflix and other streaming services, build leverage with cable companies and establish a global footprint.”

“Consumers will also benefit from the slow breakdown of the cable monopoly,” The Editorial Board writes. “Technology and markets change faster than the speed of regulation, which Ajit Pai’s FCC has recognized by taking a neutral position and restoring the promise of internet freedom.”

Read more in the full editorial here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in July:

“Net Neutrality” in concept is much different than so-called “net neutrality” selectively imposed. Delve into the nitty gritty of 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.

As we wrote back in August 2006:

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.

And as we followed up in September 2009:

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.

Make that “the same Take over a decade later.”

NARUC regulators respond to scrapping of so-called ‘net neutrality’ regulations by U.S. FCC – December 15, 2017
Republican senator calls on U.S. Congress to pass ‘net neutrality’ legislation – December 12, 2017
Millions of people post ‘net neutrality’ comments on FCC docket; many are fake – December 12, 2017
U.S. FCC rejects calls to delay vote to repeal so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules – December 5, 2017
Dear Aunt Sadie, please step back from the so-called ‘net neutrality’ ledge – November 27, 2017
U.S. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: Killing Obama-era rules for so-called ‘net neutrality’ will set the internet free – November 22, 2017
U.S. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai: How the FCC can save the open internet – November 21, 2017
U.S. FCC plans total repeal of Obama-era rules for so-called ‘net neutrality’ – November 21, 2017
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


  1. If the Web becomes too complicated, too fraught with security concerns, then its proliferation may stop – or slow down. It should be kept open. It should be kept free. One of the major reasons for the Web’s proliferation is its simplicity. A lot of people want to make the Web more complicated. This simple model has had a profound impact by starting to become ubiquitous. The most important thing for the Web is not to become more complicated. By collective agreement. Sure. Go for ubiquity.

    Source: Steve Jobs: The Unauthorized autobiography

    Check out this book on the iBooks Store: https://itunes.apple.com/nl/book/steve-jobs/id924800720?l=en&mt=11

  2. I think we may be a long way from a final solution. We’ll have to wait to see how it all turns out. The only thing I know for sure is that the statement from the WSJ editorial board “Consumers can choose broadband providers and plans accordingly” is not true for millions of Americans, and saying it’s true does not make it so.. I have only one provider that I can access. I have no choice. When I am unhappy about something and complain about slow speeds, I get a “Yeah, we’re sorry.”

      1. And even if you have a few cell carriers, are they SO different? Seems to me they are slight variations on a theme. You get a little more of a with one, but a little less of b.

        It’s not real competition – and neither will this be, even if you can access multiple possible providers.

        I don’t see how this is any different from privilege access to freeways. The Internet should be like freeways.

      2. Seems to work out fairly well in Europe:
        The old monopolies that laid or “own” the cables (BT in UK, KPN in NL, etc.) have to let other service providers rent that infrastructure.

        So, the cable infrastructure is one part, and the services delivered over it are separate part, for which there are lots of competitors. Same with Gas, same with Electricity.

        This is competitive, because the infrastructure “owners” have to break out their own “rental” part of the service that covers upkeep of the physical network. Their content division is also a customer, like the competing service providers.

        1. Competition at its finest. Unless I’m wrong, cell providers in the USA have a similar arrangement with the tower infrastructure owners. Despite the constant drumbeat from the government controlling LEFT, the free market will thrive …

          1. Are you being sarcastic?

            Our service is good, and seems to be lower cost than USA. When I say renting the existing infrastructure, that is probably more for legacy phone line and older generation coaxial cables. Of course, new optic cables are laid all the time, and seems easy to do.

            My house is 100 yrs old, it has older coaxial cable already piped in, I can get optic cable the last 3 meters, no problem — yet I run my home business with unlimited data at 100Mb/s over ADSL via phone line with no problems.

            My internet connection is deemed “slow” by most Europeans. I could pay a little more and get 200Mb through the cable which I don’t use at the moment (I haven’t gone through all the available packages from all the competitors for a while, and I don’t want TV with it).

            1. “Are you being sarcastic?”

              Are you serious?

              Very enlightening take and all I was saying hope it catches on in the U.S. despite the hyper-hysterical typical naysayers on the Left.

              Also appreciate your personal use information of the internet, you got it figured out …

          2. GeoB,

            Even by your standards, the contradiction here is breathtaking.

            MacBram describes the system in effect in most developed nations other than the US: government-enforced net neutrality laws similar to, but much stronger than, the Obama-era FCC regulations.

            In most places, the government draws impermeable lines between four separate levels—infrastructure owners, ISPs, content providers, and consumers—and then powerful government regulators proactively enforce the principle that nobody on one level can interfere in any way to help or hinder the competing parties at any other level. The abuse of vertical integration to disadvantage one’s competitors is strictly prohibited.

            As a direct result of that system, most other developed nations (and many Third World countries) have greater innovation, better service, and lower prices than in the US.

            You first praise that system as “competition at its finest,” which makes perfect sense… until you condemn the government control that makes the system possible and insist that “the free market will thrive.” You say this while praising the new FCC action to promote vertical integration and allow its use to suppress competition on all four levels.

            1. I don’t agree with your projection interpretation of net neutrality regulations in other countries.

              The Business model described by MacBram makes perfect sense and the free market will reign without your leftist government control religion …

            2. “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but no one is entitled to his own facts.” — Daniel Patrick Moynihan

              “Everyone can make up his own facts, but no one is entitled to an opinion different than mine.” — GeoB

              The “business model described by MacBram” IS my “projection interpretation of net neutrality regulations in other countries.” It exists because—and only because—of what you call “leftist government control religion.” To repeat, that system has provided most of the world with more innovation, faster service, and lower prices than we get from the unregulated market in America.

              If the British Government had not intervened in the free market, British Telecom (ex-The Post Office, but now a private entity) would still have a 100% monopoly of infrastructure, Internet service, landlines, cellular service, and probably veto power over content as well. If the US Government had not intervened in the 1970s and 80s, the original Bell System would have a similar monopoly in America.

              Those are facts, not my interpretation.

            3. ““Everyone can make up his own facts, but no one is entitled to an opinion different than mine.” — GeoB”

              I don’t appreciate when you fabricate a FAKE QUOTE to denigrate my post. Now I know you are a lying fake prosecutor because that practice is not only despicable, but violates the very nature of a trusted profession.

              I believe you and demoted FBI agent Stronk could trade notes and get along just fine …

            4. “If the British Government had not intervened…”

              “if” is never “those are facts.” “If” is always conjecture.

              “If ifs and buts were candy & nuts, what a wonderful world it would be.” – Dandy Don Meredith’s mom.

            5. Until 1982, BT had a monopoly on telecom services in the UK. Even with the Government ordering a free market, it had only one minor competitor until 1991. What makes you think the monopoly would ever have been broken without government intervention? Same goes for the Bell System, which was broken up by the Government, not the free market.

            6. OK; let’s now avoid that IF, since you keep trying to hide behind it (the word is too small, so there is no way you can hide behind without being clearly seen).

              Until the British Telecom (and AT&T in the US) were broken up by the government, the pricing of their services was significantly higher, and the variety of offerings was significantly lower, than a few years after the government intervention. I don’t know the details in the UK, but in the US, long-distance phone calls around the US could cost as much as $0.50 per minute (domestic!) on AT&T. A few years after the break-up, they went down to $0.10 (famous Sprint commercials with Candice Bergen, early 90s), and that was on the same infrastructure, before VoIP made it more efficient.

              Before the break-up of AT&T, you had to pay to AT&T every month to rent a phone from them. You weren’t allowed to buy any phone you like and hook it up; you could only use one of the very few models from AT&T, and even those you couldn’t buy — you had to pay monthly lease in perpetuity.

              These are just some of the prime examples of government interventions to stop massive abuse of monopoly position.

          3. GoeB, it seems you totally missed the point. Rather, you got it exactly bass-ackwards. The electric utilities own the power line poles, but they are required to rent them out to others who wish to use them, like the phone company, cable companies, etc.

            The main point is: you are endorsing the utility approach. But the FCC Jackson just threw the utility approach for the internet out the window.

            1. We must be talking about two different things.

              My main point is the British business model with the right amount of free market competition, absent political government regulation (net neutrality, would work well in the U.S.

              Maybe, maybe not. We shall see …

            2. The point of my “fake quote” was that you are utterly misrepresenting both what MacBram actually said and what the regulatory situation in the UK actually is. The British Government regulate telecommunications and the Internet more than any American FCC Commissioner would ever dream of trying. It is not even remotely a case of unregulated free market competition.

              Making up something that isn’t true once might be a mistake. Repeating it after the error has been pointed out is…

              A Lie.

            3. Once again, your reading comprehension is extrapolating different meaning according to your own bias.

              I never mentioned either to confirm or deny “British regulation.” My response to a later post is I like the business model in principle, but without government regulation. So, you LIE.

              Practical or pie in the sky we shall see. The Internet BOOMED just fine for decades until 2015 when the liberal government control freaks and Obama changed the law. No surprise to see a FAKE conservative again DEFENDING liberals …

            4. The British telecommunications “business model” IS “government regulation.” There is no way to get there in a free market. What part of reality are you able to grasp?

            5. God are you clueless.

              I’ll say it for the THIRD TIME in a succinct version but I doubt it will sink into your skull.

              I like the British model without net neutrality (government regulation). Unable to grasp a business concept alien to Libtard beliefs?

              Gee, what a surprise …

            6. And I like going barefoot while wearing shoes. That is just as logical as supporting a business model that entirely depends on government intervention to Force fair competition, only without government participation.

            7. You are hung up about browbeating (bad!) ***regulation*** of any kind, especially those implemented under Obama’s administration.

              If you look at net neutrality regulation as “freedom, or perhaps protection, from unfair abuse” by internet servic providers, you would feel more positively about it.

            8. “You are hung up about browbeating (bad!) ***regulation*** of any kind, especially those implemented under Obama’s administration.”

              Not true. Strong believer in environmental regulations getting stronger in some areas. My pet cause where I devote over 50 volunteer hours a year is clean water …

            1. Except for the “minor” detail, GeoB, that if the tower were owned by either Verizon or AT&T, which most of them are, they wouldn’t allow the other company on the tower unless the government made them. Because local governments don’t want a proliferation of towers, they generally grant permits only if the owner agrees to allow other companies onto the mast.

              In an unregulated free market, AT&T would make Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint pay for their own towers. Third-party tower owners would rent to the highest bidder, who would pay a premium to deny their competitors access. Because towers—and the facilities that bring data to the tower—are not cheap, the first company into an area (usually the landline incumbent) could deny access to any other by forcing them to duplicate all the infrastructure, which would usually be cost-prohibitive.

              As a result, any given area would have only one cellphone carrier and the lack of competition would essentially mirror the high-speed broadband local monopolies. The only thing that keeps that from happening is the government regulations that force cell tower owners to act as common carriers. The “British Business Model” that the FCC has expressly rejected is to treat broadband providers as common carriers, too.

    1. Not only that but the same federal government that says they are doing this for the sake of competition, is being lobbied to prevent completion from municipal internet providers were no competition exists.

  3. Got some points there.
    Now will the SJW Snowflakes even read it, let alone comprehend it?
    Not a chance.

    Back to your regular scheduled screaming and crying that the Internet will end in two months or something.

    1. As you can see, your point about the left has begun.

      Steve’s quote (first post) is spot on and I can only imagine he would not be in favor of the legislation passed in 2015 by the government regulator in chief.

      WSJ insightful editorial is favoring the new law as well as MDN. Good enough for me …

  4. This is where the left’s hysteria has hurt it. When EVERYTHING is turned to 11 and an ‘apocalypse’ it becomes easy to just say ‘they’re crying wolf’ again. And of course the internet wont die. But it will cost more and these scumbag monopolies like verizon or time warner cable will f’ their customers every chance possible. They do so now, and they will have even more latitude coming up.

    The concept that there will be more competition amongst MONOPOLIES is oxymoronic and something MDN cannot get through their thick right leaning skulls.

    I am a big free market proponent. And if the reality of our telecom provers weren’t that most people have only a single broadband monopoly to choose from, I would be on board with MDN and this idiot FCC chair. If we all had a local cable company, and FiOS, ATT uVerse, and google fiber to choose from, yea, you could give the market a chance to compete.

    But wishing wont make it so. The vast vast vast majority of america has at best one local broadband provider that is a monopoly. So it’s a joke.

    But it’s also not end of times. The internet will get jankier, and the more expensive. Maybe the left can learn not to make everything so hysterical, so it’s not so easy to disregard the histrionics.

    I’m not holding my breath either way, but MDN has been dead wrong on this topic from day 1.

  5. So, to be clear, the repeal of Net Neutrality is ok, because ISPs can fsck you over as long as they tell you how they are fscking you over. I suppose if I had a choice in cable provider and could count on competition to keep the ISPs honest, that might work. Since I have no choice, regulation used to keep me treated fairly. That goes away thanks to a shithead ISP lawyer put in charge of the agency regulating ISPs.

    1. To be more clear. Get the government involved deeply and you will have an internet that runs as well as the post office with costs rising like education and health care…..count me out.

      1. The Post Office is mandated by the Constitution. As described by originalists, the provision was intended to assure effective mass communications across the republic. Exchanges of information, then as now, were considered a key underpinning of democratic governance. A lot of polluted water has sludged under the bridges since then

  6. “We prefer the government to be hands off until we want them hands on.” —MDN

    At this time, there’s no governmental body that can do anything for you if the liberals at Comcast/NBC determine that MacDailyNews is hate speech and should be censored…or determine that MDN should PAY to have access to those customers. Sure the FCC can “look into it” if someone complains, but by that time the ad revenues would have dried up.

    A majority of Republican voters wanted to see a replacement in place before handing over the reins to Comcast. If I had a business that depended on ad revenue, I’d be worried. What if Comcast supplanted a website’s ads with their own? “You’re using my cables, so you see MY ads”.

  7. If this were coming from someplace besides the WSJ editorial board, I might pay attention, but this is a publication that has been taken over by Rupert Murdoch, who is recognized for his Right Wing views.

    I had been a reader / subscriber of the Journal beginning at age 18 (and I’m no spring pig), but when it was bought by Murdoch, I ceased looking to the Journal for news.

    1. I always love it when the so called enlightened LEFT uses guilt by association tactics, stereotypes and puts everyone into an identity group.

      The WSJ is the best newspaper in the free world, always has been, and has improved dramatically the last decade particularly in visual journalism. The editorial side and the business side work independently.

      Obvious since you don’t like the owner and don’t read the paper — you would never know …

  8. Not to worry. Come 2021, President Warren will appoint an FCC chair to re-regulate ISPs as common carriers so fast your head will spin. We’ll probably also see a return of sane media ownership limit rules and a breakup of Comcrap and AT&Turd.

    And the return of 50% corporate income tax rates and the treatment of capital gains as ordinary income will help pay for Medicare for all, and the elimination of the Social Security tax cap will make Social Security permanently viable with major benefit increases for the poor and middle class.

    The disaster of Donnie Two Scoops is going to be temporary, and after this there won’t be another Rethuglican president for at least 50 years.

    1. She would only do that if the deregulation experiment proved to be a bust. If technological advances, consumption patterns, and responsible media management co-evolved to a new equilibrium, there would be no need for the President to act against ISPs. We’ll see, won’t we?

      The tax reforms likely to be enacted momentarily are a windfall for corporations, and in the short run, shareholders are more likely to be rewarded than wage earners. — However, because the tax cuts are permanent, behaviour of the wealthy is likely to change in the direction of philanthropy, if only because the English language lacks a superlative that exceeds “filthy rich” or “obscenely rich.”

      As for Social Security, the only rational way to run that insurance program is to reset the retirement age as average life expectancy increases, which few politicians ever had the stomach to do. It made them unelectable.

      And if Warren is President it could only mean that Republicans continued executing one another in their circular firing squad until their casualties made them a political minority. So your prediction of 50 years could happen.

      Such fun, spinning fantasies. We all have them, left, centre, right, and wrong.

          1. Head scratcher, indeed.

            I did not know the word “unelectable” was exclusive and subject to copyright usage laws.

            Even if so, a good thing: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery …

  9. Anti-Net Neutrality propagandists always like to spout about “competition” and “consumer choice”, but it’s a total crock. WSJ wrote above, “Consumers can choose broadband providers and plans accordingly.” NO, THEY CAN’T! There is no “free market” in internet services. There is, at best, a duopoly, in most neighborhoods – Verizon’s FIOS and one of the cable companies. When the government stops allocating monopolies to cable companies, THEN we can talk about “competition” providing an antidote to predatory practices by unregulated ISPs. Until then, the “free market” hacks are full of $%^&.

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