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No, the World Will Not End Because the FCC Repealed Obama’s Net Neutrality

No, the World Will Not End Because the FCC Repealed Obama’s Net Neutrality

Markets > Micromanagement

The FCC has voted 3-2 along party lines to repeal the 2015 Net Neutrality rules enacted during former President Barack Obama’s administration.

You know what’s going to happen? NOTHING.

The way people have behaved, even threatening FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai and his family, you’d think there’d be chaos in the streets. In fact, a security threat interrupted the proceedings:

2015 Net Neutrality

Okay, so the first question is what are the rules that Obama’s administration passed? Back in 2014, Obama pushed the agency “to impose upon internet service providers a creaky regulatory framework called ‘Title II,’ which was designed in the 1930s to tame the Ma Bell telephone monopoly.” This meant that broadband providers had to treat all traffic equally so they could not block or slow content or provide better speeds for certain websites.

FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai sat on the board at the time and he voted no. He was disappointed that the board “chose micromanagement over markets.” He was correct as he points out in his Wall Street Journal op-ed:

This burdensome regulation has failed consumers and businesses alike. In the two years after the FCC’s decision, broadband network investment dropped more than 5.6%—the first time a decline has happened outside of a recession. If the current rules are left in place, millions of Americans who are on the wrong side of the digital divide would have to wait years to get more broadband.

The effect has been particularly serious for smaller internet service providers. They don’t have the time, money or lawyers to cut through a thicket of complex rules. The Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, which represents small fixed wireless companies that generally operate in rural America, found that more than 80% of its members “incurred additional expense in complying with the Title II rules, had delayed or reduced network expansion, had delayed or reduced services and had allocated budget to comply with the rules.” They aren’t alone. Other small companies have told the FCC that these regulations have forced them to cancel, delay or curtail upgrades to their fiber networks.

The rules also slowed a company from introducing new services due to fear of non-compliance. A major company shelved an idea for “its out-of-home Wi-Fi network” because those in charge did not know if the FCC would approve. Last May, Pai heard from 19 municipal internet service providers (city-owned nonprofits) that had to “often delay or hold off from rolling out a new feature or service because we cannot afford to deal with a potential complaint and enforcement action.”

Pai’s Rules

The burden on people and companies, the market overall, led Pai to develop new rules that concentrate on transparency. The way that people have acted online today you’d think that Pai just ordered the end of the world. He did not (emphasis mine):

This is why I’m proposing today that my colleagues at the Federal Communications Commission repeal President Obama’s heavy-handed internet regulations. Instead the FCC simply would require internet service providers to be transparent so that consumers can buy the plan that’s best for them. And entrepreneurs and other small businesses would have the technical information they need to innovate. The Federal Trade Commission would police ISPs, protect consumers and promote competition, just as it did before 2015. Instead of being flyspecked by lawyers and bureaucrats, the internet would once again thrive under engineers and entrepreneurs.

You know what’s so great about the free market? Competition. Power of the consumer. This means those companies have to tell you if they plan on throttling Netflix or make you pay for certain sites. The companies HAVE to tell you everything you’re signing up for.

Jon Leibowitz, a former employee at the FTC, wrote in WSJ:

That’s because the FCC plan would restore power to police the internet to the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC, my former agency, is an experienced cop on the beat in this area. It protected internet users from unfair, deceptive and anticompetitive practices for the two decades before the FCC’s 2015 rule, which removed its jurisdiction.

Consider the core principles of net neutrality, which I have long supported: unfettered access of the entire (lawful) internet and transparency about broadband providers’ practices. The FTC worked on those issues for years. In 2000, it conditioned AOL’s acquisition of Time Warner on the combined company’s commitment to treat competing internet providers operating on its network fairly.

Leibowitz continued (emphasis mine):

With its authority restored—and assuming the agency prevails in a challenge to its power pending in a federal appellate court, as is likely—the FTC can hold internet providers to their public promises to maintain an open internet. Every major broadband provider has committed not to block, throttle or unfairly discriminate against lawful content. The FCC’s plan would compel providers to give customers clear and detailed information about their practices—commitments both the FTC and state attorneys general will be able to enforce, since false public disclosures violate the law.

In other words, you can still do everything you did before!


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Twitchy’s going bonkers. So funny.

Yes, yes, yes! Liberty wins. Covfefe in everyone’s xmas stocking!

To paraphrase the vile, venal pantsuit witch who should be in prison, “Ah ain’t noways tarred of winning.”

Thank you, Trump. I just might vote for you next time…

Didn’t a Federal judge or two rule that the FCC didn’t have the authority to regulate the internet?

    The Packetman in reply to MarkS. | December 14, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    They ruled that the FCC couldn’t regulate the internet providers as long as they were Title I, but that they could if they reclassified ISP’s as Title II.

    Which they did.

Oh my, I’m getting the vapors! How evah did the internet survive without these regulations?

Remember, that scummy traitor obama gave US control of the Internet away to the fascist nations of the world:

Obama gives away the internet and, with it, our liberty:

We’re all going to die?

Net Neutrality: shared entertainment costs a la Obamacare.

Net Neutrality was an idiotic concept from the beginning, designed by people that had only a vague idea of how both the Internet and businesses actually operate.

They thought in their idiocy ‘Companies are going to start charging people more for Netflix! We must make sure they remain “FAIR” and they can’t throttle the speed!!

Fortunately it was repealed before companies really adapted.

Anybody with a quarter of a functioning brain understands what would happen. When you tell companies you can’t charge people that use more bandwidth more, they don’t just say ‘well OK I guess we’ll just eat the cost’. They charge EVERYBODY more.

Companies SHOULD be able to charge a millenial that streams and downloads terrabytes of data every month more than a senior that uses their internet twice a month to use the Skype on the Internets to talk to their grandkinds.

FCC is like so many government agencies, exercising far too much power due to Congress’ inability to pass unambiguous legislation. Thus leaving interpretation of these deliberately vague and ambiguous statutes to unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats.

This is the true meaning of “we had to pass it to see what’s in it”: not just that no one could read all the way through many of these Acts of Congress, but that even if one had the time and motivation to read the whole thing one still would not know “what’s in it” until it’s finally interpreted by the bureaucracy (and occasionally by litigation).

Does FCC have a mandate to rule on “net neutrality”? Perhaps, but if so it shouldn’t as this is something that should be decided directly through legislation. Not because legislators are wiser than the Commissioners, but because they are directly answerable to the electorate.

(Now, why is that that evil cellphone carrier allowed to charge me more if I consume 200GB/month than if I limit myself to 2GB? And would we really all be better off if they were forbidden to do so?)

Hi —

I’m Jennifer from Credit Card Services, and I’m calling you today to tell you that a federal government that can’t manage a simple thing like the Do Not Call Registry has no business tryingto manage something five orders of magnitude more complex like the internet.

Press *1 to be removed from our call list. Riiight.

“You know what’s so great about the free market? Competition.”

Yes . . . if I want fast broadband internet I have the choice of Comcast . . . or Comcast .

    Or like my buddy in the boonies you could go with a data plan from Verizon, Att etc.
    Life isn’t fair or he’d have broadband. Instead living in the country he doesn’t get broadband and probably never will. He’s the first house at a mile from the main road. There are about ten more past him.
    So he pays more for a data plan and uses free wifi when he out and the place offers it.

    iconotastic in reply to ras752000. | December 15, 2017 at 2:02 am

    Or CenturyLink or Verizon. And that doesn’t even consider satellite.

    And in more populated areas there are even more providers–or at least there were until bureaucrats took control of service offerings.

Escaped from RI | December 14, 2017 at 6:36 pm

Funny, before Saint Barrack of Hawaii (Peace Be Upon Him) decided we needed net neutrality, way back in the year of His Obamaness 2015, I could watch movies on Netflix and get YouTube etc. I’ll bet I can tomorrow as well.

Can one of the attorneys here tell me on what basis the Democrats are threatening to sue?

    They have a strong case – it rests totally on “muh feelings are hurt”.
    So much past precedence means it’ll probably sail through right to the SC, where rainbow unicorns will fart out the answer.

“Every major broadband provider has committed not to block, throttle or unfairly discriminate against lawful content. ”

Because of course, these companies have always kept their commitments and are renown for having excellent customer service.

while the repeal of Net Neutrality will probably not cause much change in the way ISPs operate, initially, things can change.

At the moment, ISPs can set different plans with different pss through rates for different prices. I have a a relatively low speed plan which fits the needs of my family very well while not breaking the bank. This is fine. Unless, my ISP throttles my data exchange rate in order to accommodate higher paying customers. So, if ISPs can charge just about anything that they want for service AND, they can structure their fees to accommodate the desires of their customers, exactly how does removing access guarantees allow them to raise more capital to invest in infrastructure? Well, I suppose that they can charge customers for access to certain sites. Or they could charge certain sites a fee to allow customers of the ISP to reach that site. And, as most of the infrastructure is owned by just a few companies any competitor has to use another company’s infrastructure, so how does this encourage wide area competition? In other words, the only way that ISPs can become more profitable and better investments is if they can generate higher revenues. And that requires that they charge their customers more, somehow, or get the increased revenues from fees from internet companies, such as Netflix, to allow access to that company’s site. This, in turn gives the company increased leverage to control which other companies the ISP allows access to.

The stated purpose of the original Net Neutrality rules was to eliminate the arbitrary filtering of internet content. It was meant to guarantee that every customer of any given ISP would be able to access any site which was not being run in violation of US laws. Now all we have is a promise not to “block, throttle or unfairly discriminate against lawful content” from the very companies which have been caught doing so in the past. I’m confident, aren’t you?

    Connivin Caniff in reply to Mac45. | December 15, 2017 at 6:48 am

    Mac45, don’t let the thumbs down from all these idiots bother you. They don’t understand simple game theory, much less these neutrality issues. It will be in the interest of ISPs NOT to improve their infrastructures, so that they can keep bandwidth at a low level in order to maximize their throttling ability. What do they care about improving services? – Each ISP provides internet in a monopolistic duopolistic environment, so they can charge as much as they want anyway. You would think that these morons would understand that, but they just have to knee jerk because neutrality regulations were promulgated when DRats were in charge. Let’s just hope these knee jerkers will be consistent, and at last quit moaning about their uncontrollable, can’t-drain-the-swamp, sky-high cable rates.

      the main argument for repealing the regulation on net neutrality was that the ISPs couldn’t make any money [investments in infrastructure were down and investors were scarce]. So, exactly how do people expect ISPs to make more money? There are three ways. They can increase their customer base [and this would likely require investment in infrastructure which they claim not to have], increased charges to existing customers and fees to allow access to down stream commercial sites. If competition is increased, this will reduce the revenues of current providers, as they will lose part of their customer base. The loss of revenue will have to be made up somewhere. And, there is not a large potential customer base out there, anymore. In most metropolitan areas, the number of people who do not have residential broadband internet is a fraction of 1%. Not a big untapped consumer base there, is there. So, we will have to see how the ISPs intend to increase their revenue.

        Connivin Caniff in reply to Mac45. | December 15, 2017 at 3:10 pm

        The ISPs are in a monopoly or duopoly position where they have no problem raising prices. Actually the internet portion of their business should be treated as a utility, just like electricity or gas – or – allow others to compete head to head with them (what I prefer). Now, every time somebody tries, they face lawsuits and big-money political opposition.

Obama’s FTC changed the internet classification from Type I to Type II enabling the imposition of the net neutrality regulation.

The article isn’t clear if the FTC changed the the internet classification back to Type I regulation or if it’s still Type II.

Has Damocles left one one of his errant swords hanging around the internet?

The idea was that with Hillary in charge, objectionable sites could be regulated out. The first was to be Drudge,
How soon we forget.
Now they can’t.

Man, this site is a small pocket of sanity. Most of the people I know don’t have a clue about net neutrality and are either far lefties who are screaming like it’s the end of the world, or well-meaning people who have bought into the Left’s arguments on this issue.

“PSA from Chairman …” This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Mad Decent.

Koch Brothers Are Cities’ New Obstacle to Building Broadband

The connection between the TPA and the Koch brothers emerged from investigative reporting by ProPublica and others.
This work has revealed that the Taxpayers Protection Alliance is a front advocacy group, part of a network of dark-money organizations supported in part by the Koch brothers. (The funding seems not to come from the Koch family directly but instead is funneled through other Koch-funded groups.) TPA’s most recent IRS filing shows it received about half a million dollars in contributions in 2016, but the sources of these contributions are blacked out.

Explain again how the Koch Brothers are contributing if the names are “blacked out”.
Seriously, it could be Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Hoffa or Judge Crater contributing.