U.S. FCC reversal of so-called ‘net neutrality’ rules expected to be published Thursday

“The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is expected to publish on Thursday its December order overturning the landmark Obama-era net neutrality rules, two sources briefed on the matter said Tuesday,” David Shepardson reports for Reuters.

“The Republican-led FCC in December voted 3-2 to overturn rules barring service providers from blocking, slowing access to or charging more for certain content,” Shepardson reports. “The White House Office of Management and Budget still must sign off on some aspects of the FCC reversal before it takes legal effect.”

“Congressional aides say the publication will trigger a 60-legislative-day deadline for Congress to vote on whether to overturn the decision,” Shepardson reports. “The December FCC order will be made public on Wednesday and formally published on Thursday, the sources said. A spokesman for FCC Chairman Ajit Pai did not immediately comment.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last December regarding the call by U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD) for Congress to pass ‘net neutrality’ legislation:

There is a right way and a wrong way to do things. The former is harder, but lasting; the latter is quicker, but ephemeral.

Real net neutrality legislation is the solution to the FCC/FTC regulatory seesaw.

SEE ALSO:
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

42 Comments

      1. then I am afraid that we do not have two choices, TT. The current Congress has proven to be incredibly ineffective at dealing with standard business, no matter how long the timeframe. Giving Congress a 60-day period to take action basically means that no action will be taken. Net neutrality legislation will never even come up for a vote. McConnell and Ryan will ensure that it does not.

        1. Actually I was referring to people studying true NN to understand what it is and why it is like it is and not this mythical magical pill that will immediately stream equality to the world.

          And as far as Congress, their tax reform will do more for internet access, speed, reliability and expansion than any regulations Obama put forth. After all, competition in a booming economy with fewer restrictions makes it easier for choices in many (but not all) places.

          Again, even as a Conservative, I feel the GREATEST possible avenue for build-outs to rural communities would be to replace the cell phone give away with a $50 credit per household for internet service. One of the biggest overheads for an ISP is constant connects/disconnects and illegal connections and the signal leakage these cause. Having a system like this will ensure higher subscriber percents and better infrastructure not to mention a shorter ROI time for companies who stay out of rural areas because of the sub-per-mile cost.

    1. Trump is destroying the fabric of this country and the dignity and respect that the office of the POTUS and this country had earned over generations. Poof! America becomes the laughing stock of the world and Trump is the lead clown.

  1. Good.

    Now, there should be a focus on FaceBook, Twitter and Google to force them to provide all citizens equal access to their platforms regardless of political views or they need to be punished severely. If these large enterprises fail to honor the right of citizens to express themselves then they need to be dealt with more harshly than a baker who refuses to participate in a marriage of homosexuals.

    1. I assume you would also support legislation requiring public speakers to argue both sides of every issue, the press to disseminate views they oppose, the churches to lend their pulpits to the preachers of other faiths, public assemblies in favor of an issue to give equal time to opposing speakers, and letters to the government avoid seeking redress for any grievances. All that is possible if you just ignore that pesky First Amendment, which protects us against government infringements but protects private advocacy.

      Facebook, etc. could be required to accommodate all views equally if they were common carriers (just as the Birmingham Bus System has to accept all passengers). However, the majority of the FCC has specifically rejected the view that entities operating on the Internet are, or could be, common carriers. That is exactly why the Commissioners are repealing the Net Neutrality Rule.

      Since the companies are not public utilities but private parties, they can do essentially anything that the free market (and the antitrust laws) let them get away with. They certainly cannot be forced to disseminate political views they find repugnant. As botvinnik pointed out in another context, if you do not agree with that you can try to convince Congress and the states to repeal the First Amendment just like the Eighteenth.

      Of course, like the bakers, Facebook and Twitter cannot operate a public accommodation—a business open to the general public—and discriminate against someone on the basis of their race, national origin, sex, or disability. If you don’t like that, try to repeal Amendments 13 through 15.

      1. Well, well… censorship by a corporation as a first amendment right…

        Wasn’t the internet itself invented with public funds? No terms for everyone’s 1st Amendment rights for that? Can my carrier put a 5 ms delay and bleep certain speech?

        1. Absolutely.

          Haven’t you heard of Citizens United andHobby Lobby? The Supreme Court assures us that corporations have the same rights to free expression and religious freedom as natural persons. That includes protection from government infringement of their right to avoid endorsing social, religious, and political views with which they disagree.

          I happen to think that is silly, but I don’t get to decide what either the First or Second Amendment means. The Supreme Court does get to decide… and has. Unless it changes its mind, Twitter has exactly the same power to control its platform as you do to control who puts a political sign in your front yard.

        1. It doesn’t matter if I am fine with it. That is the law.

          As of the day when Loving v. Virginia was decided by the United States Supreme Court in 1967, a majority of the citizens in 15 U.S. states found interracial marriages to be “immoral and offensive to their faith.” In 1948, when the California Supreme Court became the first U.S. court to find that an anti-miscegenation law violated the Equal Protection Clause, the electoral majority in an additional 14 states believed weddings between white and black U.S citizens were “immoral and offensive.” That is 29 states out of 48.

          According to the U.S. Supreme Court—not me—there is no more basis in the U.S. Constitution for deferring to honestly held religious beliefs opposing same-sex marriage than to beliefs opposing different-race marriage. The government isn’t allowed to decide that some religious beliefs are entitled to protection while others are not.

          If people could break the law just because they find it “immoral and offensive to their faith,” the various Civil Rights Acts and judicial opinions implementing Equal Protection would be unenforceable. A baker (like anyone else) is free to avoid participating in same-sex weddings. All he has to do is treat all weddings the same by refusing to make money off any of them.

          If they choose to do business in the public marketplace, Facebook, Twitter, and the baker can be coerced to make their services available equally to all comers, regardless of race, color, creed, nationality, sex, disability, or previous servitude. Aside from those protected classes, businesses cannot be forced to make their services available to persons whose politics they disagree with.

          Certainly the government has a duty to avoid interfering with the free exercise of religion without a legitimate compelling state purpose. The courts—not just me—have found Equal Protection to be just such a compelling purpose.

          In any case, that is a side issue from the subject of this thread. I don’t think that Facebook or Twitter are claiming that Net Neutrality is an article of religious faith.

          1. No it’s not the law. The law is in the Constitution and it is the freedom of expression with regard to religious beliefs. All laws are subservient to the Constitution. Your fascist interpretation is not the law.

          2. It’s not my “fascist interpretation.” If you don’t like it, complain to the Chief Justice. I don’t claim to be an infallible interpreter of the Constitution, but (in practice) the Supreme Court is.

            Obviously, all laws are subservient to the Constitution, but we are talking about situations where Free Exercise of Religion (1st Amendment) is in a direct conflict with Due Process (5th Amendment), Equal Protection (14th Amendment), and possibly other constitutional rights. They can’t both prevail. Something has to bend or both will break. I don’t get to resolve these conflict situations and neither do you. That is why we have courts.

            The inevitable result is necessary compromise. “Congress shall make no law infringing freedom of speech,” but it can nevertheless outlaw some forms of expression (like child pornography or crying ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater). The constitutional liberty interests of the victims outweigh those of the offender.

            Similarly with free exercise of religion. Mormons (from the main LDS body until 1890, and fundamentalist groups since) have been prosecuted for bigamy quite regularly. Members of the Native American Church have been charged with drug offenses. Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christian Scientists have had their children subjected to life-saving blood transfusions. Whites whose faith forbids race-mixing have been forced to open their lunch counters. And so forth.

            The judicial balancing test is deeply rooted in the Constitution: the state absolutely cannot interfere with religious beliefs, but it can place reasonable limits on religious behavior if there is no less restrictive means reasonably available to safeguard a compelling (and constitutional) state purpose.

            Sorry, Kent, but that is the law.

            1. So, what is your solution? Are you saying that no law of general application, even if it is required by the Fourteenth Amendment, can be applied to anyone who claims an exemption under the First Amendment Free Exercise Clause? That the police and courts cannot touch anyone who claims the defense of sincere religious belief? Please explain how you think that can be implemented without giving every criminal a “Get out of jail free” card.

              I get it that you think that people who share your sincere views on same-sex marriage should be given a religious exemption without any compromise. Remember, though, that the Constitution doesn’t allow favoring your beliefs over others, as if they were an established state religion.

              So, how about the Free Exercise rights of followers of the Aztec traditional religion who believe that the sun will not rise without a sacrifice of human blood? If that’s too much, how about your next door neighbor who insists on his religious rights as a haruspex to slaughter sheep in his front yard and read the omens in their entrails? How about Muslim extremists who see jihad as their religious duty? (Note: our words “assassin” and “thug” both come from devout religious sects.) How about the cult leader who already has four underaged “wives” and insists on his sincerely-held religious duty to recruit your daughter at her junior high?

              My guess is that you would not be so keen to support an unlimited right of Free Exercise in any of those cases. If I am wrong, please explain how you would fix the problem.

            2. “like child pornography or crying ‘Fire’ in a crowded theater”

              Most respectfully…

              Both overused, and IMO inappropriate, examples of limitations of free speech. Clearly, free speech doesn’t apply when you’re breaking OTHER laws. In the case of child pornography a slew of the child’s rights are being violated, in the case of the theater it’s reckless endangerment. Neither is a speech issue. It’s as much a speech issue as communicating doing a drug deal.

    2. You need to make up your mind which side of the fence you are on. Sometimes you are the die-hard Constitution thumper whining about perceived infringements on your rights. The next minute, you call for government control of virtually everything in the name of “equal access”?

      Based on your history, equal access only matters when it is *your* viewpoint that you feel is underrepresented. Figures.

      1. Facebook and Google are essentially public monopolies. They eradicate all upstart competition (like Snapchat). Their platforms are where people communicate. The Bell System was a highly regulated monopoly for decades and was required to provide “universal service” as the price for having monopoly status. Likewise, now it is entirely reasonable to require the new public platforms to provide universal service to all regardless of political viewpoint. This is not a strange request. The internet itself was built 100% on freedom of expression. Only recently have idiot leftists found that they love to censor and demonize all those with whom they disagree. Well, to that I say “go to hell” and I urge the government to shutdown any efforts by these companies to stop the free flow of ideas. These companies, interestingly, seem totally OK with the free flow of ideas about pedophilia, Islamic terror recruiting, killing the President, forced abortions, etc. etc. etc. Allowing the freedom of expression of people who believe in liberty, limited government, and Christianity is a small and very reasonable expectation. Requirement.

      2. Kent,

        You yourself point out the difference between the Bell System in 1970 and Facebook in 2018. Ma Bell “was a highly regulated monopoly for decades and was required to provide ‘universal service’ as the price for having monopoly status.” Facebook isn’t regulated at all (that’s what repealing the common carrier aspects of the Net Neutrality Rule means) and therefore isn’t required to provide service to anybody

        Yes, Facebook (like Twitter) has a dominant position in the marketplace, but it got there through competition in an unregulated free market, not through the governmental award of monopoly franchises. It beat MySpace because it attracted more customers, not because the State gave it a leg up. Facebook will undoubtedly lose its dominant position when something more trendy comes along.

        In the meantime, it enjoys the same privileges regarding its own legal freedoms as any other corporation. Do you really support efforts by the government to force private parties
        to publish views they do not support? First Amendment, anyone?

        1. They aren’t treated like monopolies because they aren’t monopolies. They have plenty of competitors. Ma Bell didn’t.

          Back before mobile phones, a farmer I know lived on the boundary between two telephone exchanges. He had to put phones from General Telephone in his house and from Southwestern Bell in his barn. Calls between the adjacent buildings were billed as long distance. He had no freedom of choice because both companies were regional monopolies granted and enforced by the government.

          Anybody who doesn’t want to use Facebook is free to use an alternative. The company is wildly more successful than its competitors, but that’s what sometimes happens in a free economy. The alternative really is Communist. Commercial success, even to the point of market dominance, isn’t a monopoly. Just because Facebook is successful doesn’t mean that it has to give outsiders access to its customers.

    3. The key point in the Baker case is that it was NOT an individual baker on his own. It was a corporation. The argument was that it was the corporation that could not discriminate.

      If the organization of the business had been individual or partnership, perhaps it would have turned out differently.

      Best regards

    4. “there should be a focus on FaceBook, Twitter and Google to force them to provide all citizens equal access to their platforms regardless of political views”
      Spoken like a true liberal.

        1. Hey, I’m not the one begging the government for help. You’re what I like to call a “Damore conservative”. You like the ideas, but don’t have the power of conviction in yourself that’s a must for conservatives. So, like the “powerless” groups before you, you want some government action to help you out rather than pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, getting yourself in the POSITION to make some change in those companies, then do it.

          So, yeah, you’re useful to me in that you vote (R), but not for anything more than that.

  2. Passing this pro-big business, hackneyed, retrograde abomination would set back the commons. While O’Bummer did badly by not apprehending Hillary for allowing Russia to spy on her homebrew server, he did good by passing Net Nutrality which I hope the Congress thwarts these bad people in the executive branch.

    1. until the middle of the final year of Obama’s Administration. The FBI did not recommend criminal charges. Test you blame Obama?

      Tell me, how do you feel about the current raft of Trump Administration officials that are deemed unworthy of a security clearance, yet have been working with intelligence of the highest order for many months? How does that compare?

      It is sometimes difficult to figure out your biases. You are clearly pro-Republican and regularly spout GOP talking points. But, every once in a while, your rationality comes to the fore and you say something that makes sense.

  3. Let’s put it this way…

    Breaking the net neutrality rules allows your ISP to put a TAX on the content providers. Of course, any significant TAX will get passed on to the users.

    This means that while your ISP price might not rise – you may have to pay more for Netflix, Youtube, etc.

    In particular, Comcast can charge say Netflix or Amazon for streaming video fees that they do not charge themselves for their own streaming services. Theoretically, they could charge such high fees that that Netflix would have to raise their price so much that they would be non-competitive.

    Free competition is the hallmark of the theory of capitalism. Thus Those who want to repeal net-neutrality rules are socialists.

    1. “Comcast can charge say Netflix or Amazon for streaming video fees that they do not charge themselves for their own streaming services.”

      Yes, maybe, but Netflix and Amazon do not have to pay for the costs of building, running, maintaining, or upgrading Comcast’s network. The more popular streaming services get the more costly this network becomes. Customers of Comcast who do not use services like Netflix or Amazon streaming currently pay ALL of this cost. The notion that customers, both comcast customers and non-comcast customers can get a “free lunch” is the definition of socialism. Paying the true cost of service or product is free competition. Current Net-Neutrality rules can, and often do, skew the economics of network construction to the detriment of large sections of America, especially those in rural and low density suburban areas. Take a look at a map of high speed network availability in America and if you aren’t in a city, your network speed is low. We should do something fast to solve this problem. Intelligent rules about network access can go a long way in improving the situation.

        1. The core of net neutrality rules prohibit different treatment data based on content. Broadly, this means an ISP cannot either block or throttle stuff like Google’s ads. In this case, Google makes money using the network owner’s pipes. The other problem is high data users- the Netflixes of the world. Since no throttling is allowed, Netflix requires a whole other level of network resources and management. Netflix does pay interconnect fees in the millions but this is just to cover costs at the “beginning of the network”. Their bandwidth requirements “down the line” are enormous. Customers only see the slowdowns and have no understand of network requirements. To be clear, I’m not attacking either Google or Netflix- I’m just using them as examples. I’m saying payments are a two way street.

          In my view, the pay structure needs to change so the network can run better and be expanded faster.

          The oposing view is below: some want political gain on this issue and few think about the network except to pay their bill.

  4. Considering what we’ve seen so far from the current administration and Congress from March, 2017:

    Congress just voted to let internet providers sell your browsing history

    S.J. Res 34 = Senate Joint Resolution number 34. This resolution was entitled “Protecting the Privacy of Customers of Broadband and Other Telecommunication Services,” 81 Fed. Reg. 87274. It was a deceitful resolution because the Republican justification for the change was that the FTC, Federal Trade Commission, should be providing regulatory protection of Internet user’s privacy online, not the FCC.

    Except, the Republicans offered NO bill actually allowing the FTC to regulate user’s privacy online. This left NO GOVERNMENT BODY with the ability to regulate and protect user’s privacy online. IOW: The FTC does NOT actually have any ability to regulate user’s privacy online, despite lies to the contrary on the floor of the House of Representatives.

    Considering the fact that user’s privacy on the Internet is protected by the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution, this is a ludicrous state of affairs created by elected officials who swore to uphold and protect the US Constitution. What then do we call this resolution? Treason?

    Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R Tennessee) was the mouthpiece for S.J. Res 34 in the House. Her being confronted with THE FACTS of the matter resulted in one of my very favorite moments in the House during 2017. She was forced to admit that the FTC has no regulatory ability regarding user’s privacy on the Internet, making the entire justification for the resolution a farce. Nonetheless, Republicans in the House then voted FOR the resolution, which was later approved by the POTUS.

    It is because of this change in regulations that MDN correctly states:

    Real net neutrality legislation is the solution to the FCC/FTC regulatory seesaw.

    Considering the above, I see no chance of the current administration and Congress to offer, let alone approve of, REAL Net Neutrality in the USA at this time. They are puppets of the Corporatocracy whose only goal is the financial abuse of their customers. More directly, I am of course pointing at these corporations:

    • Comcast
    • Charter/Time Warner Cable/Spectrum
    • Cox
    • Verizon
    • AT&T

    …Etc. A complete list is available HERE:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_broadband_providers_in_the_United_States

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