Net Neutrality

FCC Commissioners Request Delay of Title II Vote: "Future of the Entire Internet At Stake"

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Ajit Pai/Twitter

Warning that "the future of the entire Internet [is] at stake," two FCC commissioners have requested that the chairman publicly release the specifics of a proposed regulatory overhaul and delay an upcoming vote by 30 days in order to give the public a chance to assess the details.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is set to vote Thursday on a 332 page proposal put forth by Chairman Tom Wheeler that would shift the regulation of broadband Internet service from a Title I information service to a more heavily regulated Title II telecommunications service. The outlines of the proposal have been described by Wheeler, but, as is common at the FCC, the full proposal has not been released.

The agency's two Republican-appointed commissioners, Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly, both of whom oppose the proposal, which is backed by Wheeler and the agency's two commissioners appointed by Democrats, issued a public plea for Wheeler to "immediately release the 332 page Internet regulation plan publicly and allow the American people a reasonable period of not less than 30 days to carefully study it."

Wheeler seems intent on moving forward with the vote anyway. "We cannot afford to delay finally adopting enforceable rules to protect consumers & innovators," he posted on Twitter yesterday. The "FCC received more than 4 million comments" on the proposal during the last year, he said. "It's time to act."

Pai argues that the regulations up for a vote this week are vastly different than those that were considered last year. Wheeler revamped his proposal to include the shift to the more heavy-handed Title II regulation after President Obama urged the commission to adopt strict rules late last year.

Along with Sen. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), Pai also argues that there's precedent for making the rules public, and a history of calling for extended public review of FCC policy changes. As USA Today reports:

There is precedence for the FCC chairman to make rules public, the commissioners and Rep. Chaffetz said. In 2007, then-chairman Kevin Martin released to the public new media ownership rules and the entire FCC testified in a House hearing prior to the final vote in December.

A senator who supported the FCC's postponement back then, Chaffetz notes, was then-senator Barack Obama. "He specifically noted while a certain proposal 'may pass the muster of a federal court, Congress and the public have the right to review any specific proposal and decide whether or not it constitutes sound policy. And the commission has the responsibility to defend any new proposal in public discourse and debate,'" Chaffetz said citing the original letter sent by Sen. Obama to Martin.

At this point, it seems all but certain that the proposal will remain under lock and key until after the vote. We'll have to pass it to find out what's in it. 

Watch ReasonTV's interview with Daniel Berninger about net neutrality and Title II after the jump:

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  1. I’m sure things will work out just as well for Obamanet as they did for Obamacare.

    1. “The internet is now a series of error states…”

  2. So why can’t the two commissioners release it themselves? Is there a law that says they can’t? What would happen to them if they did?

    1. Would you honestly notice if they were subbed out for 2 other people? I doubt anyone but their families would.

    2. ^This

      At least one of the commissioners should go Snowden on them and just release the regulations.

      Dare them to jail you. Of course, it isn’t my ass that would be thrown in the clink making it easy for me to pose as a tuff gai.

      But I would contribute to any legal fund started to get the guy off for releasing the regs.

      1. I smell a kickstart campaign…

  3. “We cannot afford to delay finally adopting enforceable rules to protect consumers & innovators,”

    What a joke. Once innovators are required to ask permission and obey orders, they will find something else to do. The internet will basically be frozen in time. Which, of course, is what they want.

    1. You mean the state doesn’t want people to have access to an unregulated and highly efficient mechanism that allows them to communicate, effectively anonymously, in real time?

      Why on earth would they oppose such a thing?

    2. The less important something actually is, the more they push it as something that has to be done RIGHT NOW…or the children will die or something.

      1. The cynic in me thinks that the main reason for the secrecy and urgency is that the FCC is making a power grab to steal some turf from some other agency (maybe the Federal Trade Commission?).

        They don’t give a shit about the proles or what they think. What they are scairt of is that the other bureaucrats might get wind of their plan and thwart it.

        1. There’s an overwhelming proportion of tech geeks that are totally on board with this, which I STILL can’t get over.

          Ars Technica ran another article about this delay the other day and there were ZERO comments questioning the wisdom of Title II reclass.

          It’s fucking insane.

          1. They’ve been promised a Comcast hate-fucking in the ass, so yeah, the twerps are all on board.

            I’d pay to see the looks on their faces when they realize what they really got.

            1. Netflix should have sued Comcast for violating the gentlemen’s agreement when they decided to say “Fuck you, pay me.”

            2. You mean when the power they give government to do unto Comcast is used to do unto them? That realization?

              Yeah, and they’ll be like totally surprised.

          2. These tech nerds may know a lot about the technology behind the internet, but they know nothing about the economy behind it. That’s why they don’t understand why this is so very bad.

            1. Or about the government dragging behind the economy.

    3. “We cannot afford to delay finally adopting enforceable rules to protect consumers & innovators,”

      Rules meant to fix what problem now?

      1. “We cannot afford to delay finally adopting enforceable rules to protect consumers & innovators,”

        Actually, this is the necessary and sufficient explanation of Net Neutrality, where “enforceable rules” = “FCC needs more funding to hire enforcers.”

  4. They first have to pass the regulation before the commoners can find out what is in it.

    1. Every now and then I wonder how much Ms. Pelosi regrets coining that phrase. It’s so useful.

  5. “We cannot afford to delay finally adopting enforceable rules to protect consumers & innovators,”

    The Internet is collapsing! Everyone run! RUN!

    GET TO DE CHOPPAH!

    1. Yeah, things are so terrible right now. Last night I had to wait a whole 15 seconds before my Netflix stream got up to 1080p quality.

  6. Wheeler seems intent on moving forward with the vote anyway. “We cannot afford to delay finally adopting enforceable rules to protect consumers & innovators,” he posted on Twitter yesterday. The “FCC received more than 4 million comments” on the proposal during the last year, he said. “It’s time to act.”

    “We need to move as quickly and un-transparently as possible to get our slimy, little mitts on this thing that has managed to grow and flourish without us for the past 20 years.”

  7. This is absolutely insane. No matter how you feel about the issue, why can’t we see the regulations?

    1. Because fuck you, that’s why.

  8. No Administrative Procedures Act requirements? Notice & comment? Does that not apply to commissions? Like the commissioners substitute for the public in deliberation?

    1. No pass for a commission, same as any agency, says so here ? http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedi…..rocess-fcc

      So what’s the issue? Disclosing the proposed rule before the commissioners vote on it?

  9. Most transparent administration ever.

    My god, what is Obama going to get his hands on next. He is out of control.

    1. Good thing he beat that warmonger McCain, and imagine having that dummy Palin as VP instead of Biden.

  10. I think that the administration is not only overreaching on this, I think they don’t realize the backlash that’s going to happen once the public sees the regulations. Nerds will go over it with a fine-toothed comb, and a lot of people will be screaming their heads off. Many “net neutrality” advocates will be unpleasantly surprised, and Silicon Valley will be in an uproar. And since that’s where a lot of Democrat campaign contributions come from, Democrats in Congress will be in a huge bind. They don’t want to head into 2016 with angry donors and voters. It will be an issue handed to the GOP on a platter: they can advocate for less regulation on the internet, and be on the side of much of Silicon Valley.

    It’ll handicap all Democrats in 2016, whether or not it goes down in flames before the election.

    1. This.

      But the mission will have been accomplished.

      1. And then the GOP will vow to “repeal and replace it.”

    2. But the problem is that even if everyone agrees it sucks they won’t simply revoke the new rules and go back to the way it is.

      No instead you will have the 2015 Olympics of Nerd Rent Seeking. Each group of urinated off nerds will go all in lobbying to get just their one hobby horse issue “fixed”, but at the end of the day the guvt will still have more control over the internet.

    3. I don’t know. There are huge numbers of geeks that are for this. HUGE.

      They don’t realize that Google, Netflix, Facebook, et. al. are acting EXACTLY like TWC, Comcast and Verizon in advocating for this.

      They are retarded.

      1. They are advocating for “net neutrality,” not for 300+ pages of who-knows-what. They’re like the people who wanted “health care reform,” and then were unpleasantly surprised by Obamacare.

  11. The stupidity/mendacity hurts my brain. We cannot possibly wait 30 days? Because… what? What’s been happening that’s so terrible and urgent?

    You got lots of “comments” last year? Wow! How many were complaints of actual abuse, and how many were simply whining about what could happen or how mean Comcast is? If I get enough people to start emailing the government about how ugly plaid is, I should expect the government to start going after clothing designers?

    Fuck you, Wheeler.

  12. At this point, it seems all but certain that the proposal will remain under lock and key until after the vote. We’ll have to pass it to find out what’s in it.

    How about a compromise? Keep the proposal under lock and key until after the vote, and keep the FCC under lock and key after the vote.

  13. The only legitimacy the FCC has (or any other any other government organ) devolves from the constitution they keep wiping their asses on. They ignore that at their own peril.

    1. Actually, I think they ignore it at OUR peril.

      1. Little doubt it’s at OUR peril.

  14. “Warning that “the future of the entire Internet [is] at stake,” two FCC commissioners have requested that the chairman publicly release the specifics of a proposed regulatory overhaul and delay an upcoming vote by 30 days in order to give the public a chance to assess the details.”

    So, the future of the entire Internet is at stake, and some unelected bureaucrats get to vote on it. But don’t worry, they have a whole 30 days to read a 3 inch thick regulation, digest it, listen to comments, and then decide on said future of the Internet.

    If that doesn’t make you poop your pants, I don’t know what will.

    The Internet, for all intents and purposes, didn’t exist 30 years ago, and the government did not predict this world of instant messaging, video sharing, smart phones, apps, etc. Yet now they think they’re qualified to plan what how the Internet will operate for the next 30 years? Or 100? Words fail.

    1. Look, they don’t have time to worry about little details like that.

      THEY HAVE THE FUTURE OF THE WHOLE INTERNET TO PLAN, M’KAY?

    2. Planning to smother something to death counts as a plan on how to operate it.

  15. Republicans used to fight tooth and nail against allowing Democrats seizing government control of the Internet. I doubt it had anything to do with Republicans being good guys or anything like that. Republicans usually stand the most to benefit from the truth not being strangled to death. Pussies. Looks like their inability to put up a fight is going to cost all of us big time.

  16. Obama believes in total transparency concerning the inner workings of the previous administration.

  17. Don’t they realize that Net Neutrality must be imposed so that we can find out of what it is comprised.
    “We’ve got to pass the bill to find out what’s in the bill.”

  18. Sending a message via the internet will just get the message lost.

    I suggest using rope. Tied in a 13-loop knot. Five of them. On a tree across from the FCC building in DC.

  19. Great picture. Love how Obama’s photo is sticking out of the report.

    Wonder if the photographer set that up.

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