FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai: Net Neutrality is a "Solution That Won't Work to a Problem That Doesn't Exist"


Net Neutrality is "a solution that won't work to a problem that doesn't exist," says Ajit Pai, a commissioner at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Pai is an oustpoken opponent of expanding government control of the internet, including FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's plan to regulate Internet Service Providers (ISPs) under the same Title II rules that are used to govern telephone-service providers as public utilities. Under current FCC regulations, ISPs are considered providers of "information services" and subject to essentially no federal regulation.

He is also sharply critical of President Barack Obama's very public push to influence policy at the FCC, which is technically an independent agency. Last year, it was widely believed that Wheeler, a former head of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, would not push for Title II. Pai calls the president's actions—which included "creating a YouTube video of with very specific prescriptions as to what this agency should do"—unprecedented in his experience. Coupled with the fact that "the agency suddenly chang[ed]course from where it was to mimic the president's plan," says Pai, "suggests that the independence of the agency has been compromised to some extent."

The FCC is scheduled to vote Thursday, February 26 on Wheeler's plan.

Pai explains his opposition to Title II reclassifcation to Reason's Nick Gillespie. Citing independent studies of American competitiveness and booming investment in telecommunications infrastructure compared to Europe, Pai argues that consumers are thriving and the market is doing its job.

Regulating the internet like a utility company, says Pai, will threaten the kind of innovation we've taken for granted over the past 20 years. "Do you trust the federal government to make the Internet ecosystem more vibrant than it is today?" Pai asks. "Can you think of any regulated utility like the electric company or water company that is as innovative as the Internet?"

Runs about 30 minutes.

Produced by Todd Krainin. Cameras by Meredith Bragg and Krainin.

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INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT: This is a rush transcript and should be compared to video and audio for accuracy.

reason:  Recently, the FCC chairman Tom Wheeler said that he's going to move forward with the FCC regulating the Internet under Title II regulations. That'll change the regulatory structure from that of an information service to a telecom. What is the most important thing that people need to know about that switch?

Pai: I think the most important thing that people need to know is that this is a solution that won't work to a problem that simply doesn't exist. Nowhere in the 332-page document that I've received will anyone find the FCC detailing any kind of systemic harm to consumers, and it seems to me that should be the predicate for certainly any kind of preemptive regulation—some kind of systemic problem that requires an industry-wide solution. That simply isn't here.

reason:  So you're simply saying the Internet is not broken.

Pai: I don't think it is. I think by and large, people are able to access the lawful content of their choice. While competition isn't where we want it to be—we can always have more choices, better speeds, lower prices, etc.—nonetheless, if you look at the metrics compared to, say, Europe, which has a utility-style regulatory approach, I think we're going pretty well.

reason:  The FCC recently redefined broadband, but using standards from the last roundup of where we were in terms of the number and variety of Internet connections. One of the things that people say is, "Well, we need to regulate the Internet because local ISPs like Time Warner or Comcast have an effective local monopoly on service." Is that accurate, and would that be enough of a reason to say, "Hey, we gotta do something"?

Pai: I certainly think there are a lot of markets where consumers want and could use more competition. That's why since I've become the commissioner, I've focused on getting rid of some of the regulatory underbrush that stands in the way of some upstart competitors providing that alternative—streamlining local permit rules, getting more wireless infrastructure out there to give a mobile alternative, making sure we have enough spectrum in the commercial marketplace—but these kind of Title II common carrier regulations ironically will be completely counterproductive. It's going to sweep a lot of these smaller providers away who simply don't have the ability to comply with all these regulations, and moreover it's going to deter investment in broadband networks, so ironically enough, this hypothetical problem that people worry about is going to become worse because of the lack of competition.

reason:  But you're also saying it doesn't exist. So do most people in America have a choice in broadband carriers, and do they have more choice than they did five years ago, and is there reason to believe they'll have more choice in another five years?

Pai: I think there are hiccups any given consumer might experience in any given market. Nonetheless, if you look on the aggregate, Americans are much better off than they were five years ago, ten years ago. Speeds are increasing; the amount of choice is increasing. Something like 76 percent of Americans have access to three or more facilities-based providers. Over 80 percent of Americans have access to 25 mbps speeds. In terms of the mobile part of equation, there's no question that America has made tremendous strides. Eighty-six percent of Americans have access to 4G LTE. We have 50 percent of the world's LTE subscribers and only 4 percent of the population.

reason:  Many will say that part of the problem is that if Europe, for instance, is so much more advanced than we are in terms of the speed of connectivity, the price of a connection, and the variety: Is that just wrong?

Pai: That is wrong. If you look at the Akamai State of the Internet report, for example, or other objective data, there's no question that America is better off, especially considering our relatively lower population density—in terms of deployment, speeds, prices, whatever metric you choose. Moreover, if you look at investment, in the U.S. it's $562 per household. In Europe, it's only $244.

reason:  Why is that important?

Pai: I think it's important because we want to have a strong enough platform for innovation investment and online options as possible, but you won't get that if the private sector doesn't have the incentive to risk capital to build those networks. It's a pretty tough thing to build the nuts and bolts of the Internet, and if the regulatory system is one that second guesses you every single step of the way, regulates your rates, tells you what service plans are allowed or now, regulates the commercial arrangements you have both within users and companies, you're going to have the European situation essentially.

reason:  The critics of Title II, and I think we'd both count ourselves among them, will say these are laws put in play essentially in around 1935. It's for old-style telephone companies, and actually the FCC helped create a monopoly there. I don't know if he counts as your boss, but he head of the FCC Tom Wheeler says, "No, we're going to place the Internet under Title II, but we're going to use a light touch," and his predecessor Julius Genachowski also talked about that, and we're going to do a lot of forbearance. What is the forbearance process, and how would it actually work?

Pai: Forbearance is a process set up by Congress in 1996 to allow the FCC not to enforce a particular statute or regulation if it determined that that statute or regulation was no longer necessary to enforce in the public interest. And essentially, over the years, the FCC has said, "If a particular aspect of the marketplace is competitive, then we won't enforce regulations relating to it. But think about the weird jujitsu that the FCC will have to do in this context. On one hand, on a macro level, it's going to have to say that the broadband Internet access market is so uncompetitive that we need preemptive sweeping regulations along the lines of Title II. On the other hand, it's going to have to say the marketplace is competitive enough that we don't need to enforce a lot of these regulations. That's a conceptual problem that I don't think the proposal does a good job of addressing.

reason:  You've talked about the proposal as being well over 300 pages. There have been accounts that actually that's mostly footnotes and addenda, and that the rules are about eight or 10 pages. Is that accurate?

Pai: The rules are eight pages. However, the details with respect to forbearance, the regulations from which we will not be taking action—that alone is 79 pages. Moreover, sprinkled throughout the document, there are uncodified rules — rules that won't make it in the code of federal regulations that people will have to comply with in the private sector. On top of that, there are things that aren't going to be codified, such as the Internet Conduct Standard, where the FCC will essentially say that it has carte blanche to decide which service plans are legitimate and which are not, and the FCC sort of hints at what factors it might consider in making that determination.

reason:  What goes into something like that where you're saying, okay, "we're the regulators and we're here now, and you've got to pay attention to us, but we're not going to tell you what you actually need to do." I mean, that's passive-aggressive to the max, but is that a decisive strategy to say, "We want you to jump, but we're not going to tell you how high"?

Pai: I think part of the problem is that the rules don't give sufficient guidance to the private sector, regardless of whether they're public or not, and part of the reason I want them to be public soon, in advance of the vote, is I think the American public and particularly the people who'd be affected by it, deserve to see what regulations are going to be adopted before they're formally adopted.

reason:  We will eventually get to read the document, but this question of the secrecy of the document, where somebody — and maybe this is a bridge too far — but it's almost McCarthyite where we've got these regulations, and they're going to affect you, and you'll get to read them eventually. Why wouldn't the FCC just put the document out into the public when it was announced that it was going to be voted on? What is the history of the kind of secrecy of rule making or documentation in the FCC, and does this represent a break with that?

Pai: Under the rules, only the chairman has the authority to disclose this document, and he's said both to congress and the public that he's not going to do so, and he's cited the traditional practice of the FCC, which is to not reveal these proposals until after they're voted on. And he's absolutely right, that is the traditional practice. However –

reason:  Is that a good practice?

Pai: Well, I think in this case, it absolutely is not. If you look at how great the public interest is in this issue, the folks who have been advocating for net neutrality have told us repeatedly that the Internet is something unique among the FCC's responsibilities, that 4 million people have commented, the president himself has made specific comments about it, and so I think if ever we were to make an exception to the traditional practice, this is it. Moreover, it's not that big of a leap to say that the FCC should be as open and transparent as the Internet itself. Simply publish the rules, let the American people see it, and I think they can make up their own minds. Now, one of the additional arguments that have been made is that we need to keep this document confidential so that various commissioners can suggest changes, etc., but by and large, I don't think it's a big surprise as to how the vote is going to come on February 26, and to the extent that that was the concern, I think it's misplaced. I think we should just get the document out there to the American public, especially to the extent that this wasn't our proposal in the spring, and it wasn't our proposal in the summer. This came, essentially, at the insistence of the White House, which I said, to this day, is asking the FCC to implement the president's plan.

reason:  What will the vote be? What's your prediction?

Pai: Most astute observers say that it will be 3-2, with the three Democrats in the majority, and the two Republicans, myself included, in the minority. But hope springs eternal, and if I can persuade people with either a tweet, op-ed, appearance, or newspaper statement…

reason:  You've criticized the proposal for not being public. When will it become public, and when will there be a kind of commenting period that goes into effect?

Pai: The FCC will vote on February 26 on this proposal. At that point, the document could be released at any time. Given the sheer breadth of this document, as well as what I would expect to be my dissent, at least one of my colleague's dissents, then typically the majority takes time to respond to our arguments, and there's a back-and-forth between the majority and minority. That takes, in some cases, weeks to iron out, so we could be well into March before this document sees the light of day.

reason:  There's also a question of what happens next. Because I'm assuming that all of the ISPs, or at least some, will sue to say this is another example of the FCC trying to assert authority or jurisdiction when it doesn't have any. I mean, that's a foregone conclusion. Does that suggest that Congress is the body that should be writing these rules?

Pai: I think so absolutely. When the Verizon v FCC decision came out a year ago, without knowing we'd end up here, I said, At this point the FCC's now been struck down twice by the courts in its attempts to adopt Internet regulations. The time has come for us to seek congressional guidance. We're trying to fit what some would consider to be a square peg of regulation into this round hole of the Communications Act, which as you pointed out, is over eight decades old.

reason:  What role did the White House play in creating the Title II decision? A year ago, everyone was saying, "Well, Wheeler is not going to go with Title II. He's a former lobbyist or employee of the cable industries. He's not going to do that." So what role did the White House play in enforcing this decision?

Pai: I think the White House changed the landscape dramatically with the president's announcement shortly after the midterm elections that he wanted the FCC to adopt Title II regulations and said—and it's still on his website—"I ask the FCC to implement this plan."

reason:  Now the FCC is technically an independent agency, right?

Pai: It is and always has been.

reason:  So is it a break with past protocols of the president kind of demanding certain things?

Pai: It is a break in my experience. I've served under a number of different chairmen during administrations of Republican and Democratic affiliation. I've never seen anything as high profile as this. There have been other examples of presidents weighing in with a letter or a phone call, that kind of thing. But creating a YouTube video of a website with very specific prescriptions as to what this agency should do, followed by the agency suddenly changing course from where it was to mimic the president's plan, I think suggests that the independence of the agency has been compromised to some extent.

reason:  How will the success of Title II regulation, with or without forbearance, be measured? We know from 1995 till now, over the past 20 years, we can say the rate of increase of speeds, connection, pricing, etc. it's followed this course. How will we know if Title II is successful, say, 10, 15, 20 years from now?

Pai: I think we'll have to use as objective a metric as we can to measure such things as broadband availability, especially in areas of this country that are harder to serve. I think we'll have to look at prices to see whether they've increased or not, and this plan in particular opens the door to billions of dollars in new fees being added to people's broadband bills.

reason:  Why does it do that?

Pai: If you look at your phone bill, you'll see a line that says, "Universal Service Fee." That applies only to your voice service right now. But treating broadband internet access as essentially telephone service, the FCC explicitly opens the door in this document to the assessment of universal service fees at the federal and state level.

reason:  Now I'm assuming that proponents are also saying, "No, that's part of the forbearance. We won't actually insist on that." Is that accurate, or is it just that the problem is there are few cases where the government grants itself power and then doesn't eventually start exercising it.

Pai: If you were able to see this document—which you are not—you would see that it explicitly says that in a few months, it says, that we, the FCC, are expected to get a recommendation on how to consider broadband for purposes of this universal service fund fee program. Given the trajectory of the universal service fund policies from the lifeline program to what is called [e-rate?], etc., agencies spending billions of dollars and is looking to expand it even further, it's impossible for us to spend money from the universal service fund on this programs without including contributions from the providers, which are essentially fees based on broadband connections.

reason:  Wireless voice has been regulated under Title II for some time now, right?

Pai: Wireless voice has. Wireless data has not.

reason:  Does wireless voice give us any indication of whether or not Title II will be a real heavy millstone, or does it show that being regulated under Title II reduces or retards innovation? What's the experience?

Pai: I think there are a number of lessons to be drawn there. First, wireless voice, if you look at the data prior to the introduction to the smart phone, wireless voice was essentially a commodity that you didn't see a lot of innovation or investment in that space, for obvious reasons. It's not something that carriers were spending a lot of time thinking about and investing in, but once mobile data used stared to explode with the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, all of a sudden, you saw carriers scrambling to upgrade their networks, to spend more money on spectrum to deliver some of those high-bandwidth applications and so forth, so this argument that wireless voice having been regulated by Title II has been a success and so we can do the same for mobile data is absurd on its face. Secondly, I'm not an engineer by training, but if you look at what some of the engineers are saying about wireless voice in particular, some of the next generation of voice products, such as voice over LTE, require very specific things like priority coding in order for them to work. But if net neutrality rules are as strict as they appear to be, then things like priority coding are necessarily going to be in the crosshairs, and so I think there's a dispute between how do you advance high bandwidth applications like data and how do you preserve the ability of people to innovate when it comes to applications like voice that require low latency, and I don't think net neutrality does a good job of addressing either of those.

reason:  Everyone says they want a free and open Internet. What are the points of agreement, and then where does it get fuzzy?

Pai: I think former Chairman Powell put it best when he said in 2004 that there were four basic Internet freedoms that he thought everyone should agree with: the freedom to access lawful content of one's choice, the freedom to access applications that don't harm the network, the freedom to attach devices to the network, and the freedom to get information about your service plan. Everybody, or virtually everybody agrees on that. I certainly do. The question is how do we operationalize that? In my view, the federal government is a pretty poor arbiter of what is reasonable and what is not, and it's exceptionally poor when it comes to having a track record of promoting innovation and investment in broadband networks. That's something the private sector has done a remarkable job on its own.

reason:  What are the instances that Net Neutrality proponents can point to where ISPs or other network operators have actually arbitrated those open network principles?

Pai: There are scattered examples that people often cite—an ISP that nobody's ever heard of called Madison River almost a decade ago—some have targeted Metro PCS, which was acquired by T-Mobile. Metro PCS, upstart competitor of course, basically had no market power to speak of compared to the other carriers, wanted to make a splash in the marketplace, so it offered its consumers virtually unlimited data plans for $40, so you could stream YouTube for example without it counting against your data cap, all for $40.

reason:  But it was basically you could only stream YouTube videos, right? The rest of the web, you really couldn't get on it.

Pai: Exactly. So critics called it a net neutrality violation, called it a walled garden which was bad for consumers. And it's telling that they didn't go after one of the major incumbents, which now they complain about vociferously. They went after an upstart competitor.

reason:  So it's basically someone saying, "We're going to give you less for less, but if you want it, you can have it."

Pai: You either get to eat all you can eat at a restaurant, or you don't get to eat at all.

reason:  So that's the idea of net neutrality? 

Pai: Essentially.

reason:  So then Metro PCS merged with T-Mobile, and then that became kind of moot, and Verizon carried that court case into its final stages.

Pai: Exactly.

reason:  So what do you think are the main drivers behind net neutrality? From my perspective, when I look at things from a kind of public-choice economics angle, what I tend to see are companies like Netflix, Amazon to a certain degree, Google, eBay, other players who are very big and have done very well with the way that the Internet works now. They kind of want to freeze everything in place, and this to me seems a lot like the robber barons who were, when rail roads were starting to be regulated were like, "Great, let's regulate things and fix our market positions." Is that wrong to think of that in those terms?

Pai: I certainly think there are particular companies that might see a strategic advantage in having the FCC inject itself for the first time into the nuts and bolts of the Internet's operation. So for example, regulating the rates and terms on which ISPs and edge providers have to interconnect. That's something that, if you're not getting what you think is a good deal through private commercial agreements, might be helpful to have an FCC backstop. I think there are a lot of other people, smaller entrepreneurs and innovators that we hear from that are worried that ISPs might end up acting as gatekeepers and keeping their content off the web.

While I understand their concern, I nonetheless think that No. 1, there's no existing example of that, and No. 2, the way to solve that is through case-by-case adjudication using the anti-trust laws or Federal Trade Commission authority, or even FCC authority to the extent we have it. It is not imposing Title II regulations, which ultimately and ironically are going to limit the progress of this online platform. I think all these startups and innovators are based here for a reason. It's because we have the best Internet infrastructure in the world, but that network doesn't have to exist. People don't have to invest in it, and ultimately, this could be counterproductive for them too.

reason:  You've called out Netflix in particular, which has probably been the most vocal proponent of net neutrality and of Title II regulation. They apparently have a system where the way that they code some of their streams, they gain an advantage on existing networks by the way that they code it that essentially they've created a fast lane on today's Internet. Why would that be wrong?

Pai: So to be clear, I don't think that Netflix should be subject to regulation, but when it came to this question, we heard an allegation in the fall from people who are pushing open video standards—everyone from ISPs to Level 3 to Limelight and the like, and they wanted to create a system in which essentially, traffic would be recognized as being video traffic, and then you could optimize the network to deliver it more efficiently, better experience for the end user. Netflix, we heard, was encrypting some of that traffic to make it difficult, if not impossible, for that traffic to be recognized as video traffic, so I simply asked them: What's the gist of your response to these allegations, in particular, allegations that they had done encryptions selectively, and they had picked in particular, encryption against the ISPs that were using open video standards before encryption…

reason:  So that they were kind of sliding by with that and not having to stay in the same line that all other video was…

Pai: Exactly. And if the interest is truly in a free and open Internet, then one could make the argument that what the company's arguing for when it comes to ISP behavior should apply equally to edge provider behavior?

reason:  How did they respond?

Pai: Well they responded that they employed encryption. To preserve the privacy of their customers, they didn't deploy it selectively. In any case, there weren't any ongoing FCC proceedings.

reason:  Netflix was also involved in a kind of large battle—it's not quite net neutrality, but they were saying basically that Comcast in particular and a couple of other large ISPs that customers were suffering through extended buffering times where the quality of the stream and the reliability wasn't so good. The ISPs said, "Look, Netflix is generating a huge amount of traffic, and we need to build out our networks in order to handle this traffic and prioritize it." And Comcast in particular, they have a new deal with Netflix where Netflix basically pays them more so that they get a faster pipe into the ISP. Is that the way the system should work? Is there any reason to believe that ISPs were purposefully slowing down the stream of Netflix to their customers so that they could go back to Netflix and say, "You better pay the toll, or people are going to get a real choppy image?" 

Pai: From a procedural standpoint, neither of those parties ever filed a formal complaint with us, so we don't have what you might consider objective evidence from the parties as to what exactly the nitty gritty of the situation was. So all I can say is based on what I've read in the press. That said, I think the nature of the dispute illustrates the folly of involving the government in referring some of those disputes in real time. We simply don't have the ability to determine who was right and who was wrong I don't think. Even if we had the legal authority to do it, which I don't necessarily think we do, but ultimately, if you look at the end result, these arrangements, which have been commercially reasonable according to both parties given that they signed it, have been good for consumers. Again, if there's some kind of systemic problem when it comes to peering and transit, and other kinds of interconnection, I'm certainly willing to have an open mind about it, but I think in the absence of that, we should let the commercial arrangements work themselves out.

reason:  When you say it's been good for consumers. That gets lost in a lot of this, where we're talking about this as if it's a battle between Comcast and Netflix or this company and that company, but ultimately, the measure of all kind of economic regulation, and certainly anti-trust law, is how it effects the consumer. That Netflix has to pay more to deliver its service, or the ISP has to eat more costs, that's not the same thing as saying the customer is in a bad position.

Pai: Exactly, and I'm an antitrust lawyer by training, and that's why I view everything through the prism of consumer welfare, and that's why I find it amusing when some of my coworkers say, "Oh, you're just shilling for ISPs or looking out for big business." At the end of the day, my sole concern is: What is going to produce a better digital experience in the digital age, and I truly believe that removing some of these regulations that are impeding on IP-based investment and getting rid of some of these antiquated regulations, is the best way to promote competition, promote consumer welfare—not over-the-top 80-year-old regulations that have been proven not to work.

reason:  Mark Cuban recently said at a tech conference, that in letting the FCC enforce net neutrality, "The government will fuck everything up." Do you agree with that?

Pai: Well, as an FCC regulator, I certainly can't say that I agree with his use of one of the seven dirty words (laughs), but I will say that the gist of his sentiment is absolutely right. I mean, do you trust the federal government to make the Internet ecosystem more vibrant than it is today? Can you think of any regulated utility like the electric company or water company that is as innovative as the Internet? I think what he, what Marc Andreessen, who developed the Netscape browser, what other entrepreneurs are seeing is that this is something that's worked really well, and there's no reason for the FCC to mess it up by inserting itself into areas where it hasn't been before.

reason:  You've also been critical of the idea that if the U.S. government gets involved in the regulation of our Internet, that that sends a particular message to other countries that's not particularly good. Explain what you mean by that.

Pai: On the international stage, a lot of foreign governments, especially oppressive governments, would love nothing more than to have more direct control over both the infrastructure of the Internet and the content that rides over those networks. The U.S., to its credit, has spoken with a single voice against such efforts, but I think to the extent to Title II and the FCC's plans to micromanage the same nuts and bolts of the network, it becomes harder for us on the international stage to make that case, to persuade other countries to go down the same road. And I would note that this is the exact same position that the Obama administration itself took in 2009 and 2010 when one of our ambassadors at the State Department said specifically that he was concerned that Title II style regulation would send a negative message to oppressive governments and would lead them to block or otherwise degrade certain kinds of Internet traffic.

reason:  You mentioned the "seven dirty words." Reason interviewed Michael Powell, the FCC commissioner about 10 years ago, and at that point, there were two issues that were kind of forward: One was the double standards of regulating over-the-air broadcasts—television and radio—by one standard—and then cable and other things under the First Amendment. Essentially the FCC has content-regulation power over what goes on on broadcast. He was a proponent of saying there should be one standard, and he was saying it should be the First Amendment, that broadcast television should have the same legal standing as, say, a newspaper or a cable TV channel. Where does that stand now? It's odd because the vast majority of people get even their over-the-air broadcast content all though a pipe, all though cable. Is there any movement on that? Is there any sense that the FCC is just going to say, "Let's just get rid of content regulation once and for all"?

Pai: A couple of years ago, the Supreme Court rendered a decision which kicked that question back to us, and we've been looking to the agency's leadership to formulate a response, and thus far, I'm not aware of any particular proposal the chairman is going to put on the table with respect to that, but if he comes up with a new way to thread that needle, I'll certainly approach it…

reason:  Is it time for us to just grow up and say, "You know what, the content regulation that was put in place for broadcast material—we should just get rid of that"?

Pai: I think that's one of the things we're heard from people who say that times have changed from the days of [the Pacifica case] back in the 1970s. At the same time, we also hear from a number of people who say that a lot of folks who still rely on over-the-air broadcasting count on that medium being safe for kids within that window of time, so those are the balances and considerations we're going to have to figure out. But there's no question it's one of the challenging issues especially given the legal context. 

reason:  The other thing huge then had to do with ownership rules and media concentration. We have a company like Comcast, and then Comcast and NBC and Time Warner are merging, but you don't hear the same fears really that you did a decade or 20 years ago that two or three corporations own all of the media. Have we moved past that once and for all, or is there a reason to be worried about a company like, say, Comcast becoming a major deliverer of content as well as a major content provider, as well as politically a huge player?

Pai: I've been very outspoken in my opposition to the media ownership rules, which in some cases remain unaltered since 1975, and I think that outside of major markets, and even inside major markets, you see newspapers shuttering, you see radio stations struggling, you see TV broadcasters finding it more difficult to do the hard legwork of gathering local news and distributing it. I think in that context, it's incumbent upon the agency to modernize its regulations, to recognize that cross ownership has some virtues. If you have a radio station and a newspaper, they can collaborate and distribute the news over multiple platforms. That makes a lot of financial sense. And it's good for the consumer at the end of the day. It's been almost eight years since we last looked at this.

reason:  So you're saying that in fact, in the Internet age, people can get news even if the same person—let's say, Lady Bird Johnson, who owned TV and radio stations in Austin, Texas—you would still be able to get a wide variety of news.

Pai: Absolutely. And I think about my own news consumption, and I'm a very active user of Twitter, and I use that more or less as news curation, and so I get a lot of my news through links I find through Twitter.

reason: Talk a little about your ideological geneaology. Where do your ideas come from? You're obviously very pro-free market. You mention you're an antitrust lawyer by trade. You're a Republican appointee by Obama, so what are the ideas that motivate your thinking process in terms of regulation?

Pai: I think, going back to college at Harvard and then law school at the University of Chicago, I was exposed to a view of the world through the lens of economics that recognized that when government is relatively restrained in terms of its intervention in the economy, there is unbounded possibility for the consumer or the citizen, and that's why I've been outspoken since I've been at the FCC in favor of policies that I think will get the government out of the equation to the extent necessary to allow innovation to flourish. And I think there's no question that capitalism, generally speaking, has been the greatest source of human benefit—much greater than any government program that's ever been designed. If you look at how many people have been lifted out of poverty by free market ideas, it's tremendous. And it's that kind of innovation that people often take for granted, because we live naturally in the moment, and so it's hard to see the sweep of history, but I can tell you that for people as old as me, I remember 20 years ago when the Internet was at its inception, it was hard to get news, it was hard to do certain things that we now take for granted on a smartphone. But now, thanks to people in the private sector taking the risk, investing the capital, and being able to count on a regulatory system that didn't micromanage them, that's delivered unparalleled value.

reason:  How did you ever get appointed under Obama?

Pai: (laughs) I guess I slipped through. No, I was recommended by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for one of the Republican positions, and by tradition, the Senate minority leadership gets a fair degree of deference, and I had the good fortune to get the president's agreement as well.

reason:  Would you have any sense what the Internet will look like in 20 years, or if we'll even have the Internet?

Pai: Boy, it's tough to forecast, but I do think we are going to be incredibly connected in ways we can't even conceive. My wife sometimes think I'm crazy when I say this, but it's not inconceivable to say we'll have a future in which people will have chips embedded in their arms, which contain all sorts of information they're able to connect wirelessly using those chips to all kinds of services and applications, from healthcare to ecommerce. The car is going to be incredibly connected in ways that might obviate the need for active management of the car. The Internet of things, in short, is going to be tremendous, and I think that's something both as a consumer and as a former commissioner I guess I'll be at that time, I can't wait to see.

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  1. While competition isn’t where we want it to be?we can always have more choices, better speeds, lower prices, etc

    Yes. Service providers should compete on the above and not on blocking traffic for favored cronies.

    1. They already do compete on those metrics, of course. And, contra the tin foil hat brigade, nobody’s traffic is being outright blocked.

      To the extent that competition is limited it is usually geographically, and usually due to municipal government-approved monopolies.

      1. I agree. There is a last mile issue that will take a couple of decades to overcome before real competition can flourish.

        1. Wouldn’t the best way to allow competition to flourish to be, instead of making sure everyone is at the same starting line- eliminating the registration fee to the race?

          1. “same starting line” = net neutrality.

            AT&T wants to use their near monopoly status to put their cronies at mid-race.

            1. yes, same starting line is bad. It doesn’t allow competition to flourish, it allows it to be controlled.

              1. Hence the best solution would be to eliminate the (mostly) government-ordained monopolies. But since that appears to be impossible, common-carrier regulation is going to be very appealing.

            2. I know for me it is totally worth it to have some sociopaths at the FCC control the internet in exchange for dealing with a situation that doesn’t exist and even if it did exist wouldn’t be a problem.

              I mean just look how honest the NSA has been with us. You can totally trust government. AMIRIGHHHT?

            3. Uverse is a no contract service. I use it to watch Netflix.

              I don’t watch Uverse cable at all.

              I’ll need some mroe evidence that ATT is trying to harm me.

              Then I will switch to Consolidated or Comcast.

            4. um…. wrong again – government regulation means MORE barriers to entry by competitors not less.

              What happened when the phone industry was deregulated – long distance costs dropped and cell phones became affordable and widespread. The regulations served to keep ATT as the sole phone service provider.

              As Ronnie said “government isn’t the solution, government is the problem.”

    2. Yes, it’s absolutely abominable that any company be allowed to decide who they want to do business with and for how much. Burn the fuckers!

      1. It’s sad that many people will see your sarc as a real comment.

        1. And agree with it.

      2. its amazing how far it has actually gotten – the government overreach is just accepted and nobody questions whether it is even legitimate at all.

      3. I mean, how dare GM award supplier contracts for car seats to only their favored crony suppliers.

    3. Show us the current cases of svc providers blocking traffic in favor of their cronies……. How many documented cases of such are there and what exactly is being blocked and why?

      The Netflix-Comcast matter is settled – and was never correctly reported so was not well understood by most people.

      I’m *not* a Comcast fan, but Netflix rapid growth dumped huge amounts of isochronous (time-sensitive) video streaming traffic on Comcast’s access networks that negatively impacted performance for all traffic on Comcast’s (and other ISPs) networks.

      Bandwidth is not an infinite resource and it is not free. Adding bandwidth on the scale needed by Comcast to respond to Netflix growth demands takes a lot of time and money.

      Netflix growth was driven by new customers, each providing a revenue stream that helped fund that growth – but Comcast and the other ISPs did not have requisite additional revenue streams to fund the network growth on their end driven by Netflix.

      Net-neutrality is a very complicated matter, but in truth is, by nature of the currently free Internet, best handled by market forces – not the corrupt hand of government.

      1. at least someone else gets it!

    4. Large service providers want to use the FCC to freeze the market as it is.

      1. of course they do. Thats what “liscences are really for – to keep competitors out of the marketplace.

  2. This is a prime example of the messaging problem for those against NN.

    CEO of Tumblr not entirely sure how bandwidth markets work, while attempting to defend tier 2 regulation in the recent Net Neutrality bill.

    “I confess, not my area of expertise,”- Karp

    The people who understand how markets work and want to minimize government interference are against NN and type II regulation.

    The problem is that there are morons like Karp who DON’T understand how markets work but think that government intervention will stop the evil Comcast from “throttling” the internet.

    They Just. Don’t. Get. It.

    1. It’s about who pays. Either Tumblr pays or comcast pays. Tumblr would rather the government make comcast pay.

      1. But that’s the thing. Comcast isn’t going to pay. Neither will AT&T or the others who own their own pipes. They will just stop expanding the network and make it all one slower speed for everyone in order to comply with type II regulations.

        A lose-lose for the consumer.

        1. yes- but as your quote shows, these people dont’ understand how markets work. They see that the government is willing to be their hammer and they see the nails.

          1. Idiots like Karp don’t, and he represents a good chunk of the leftist morons who see no evil in government interference.

            But the reality is that many at the top of these organizations know exactly how this works and if they can use the government hammer to help them bring their competition down then they are all for this.

      2. Spencer – That the thing here, this change does not alter the fact that BOTH have to pay.

        Both companies purchase bandwidth and associated services as necessary to source/sink their data traffic to/from the core Internet with little regard for who is on the other side sending/receiving.

        That’s the nature of the Internet.

        Title II will not change that and that’s just one of the reasons many are concerned about what Obama really has in mind with this fundamental transformation of the Internet if you will.

      3. Tumblr can’t pay because they don’t have any money. Comcast isn’t going to pay, they are just going to pass on the costs to consumers.

        Tumblr is essentially telling the government to raise prices for Internet users to subsidize their business.

    2. OK, so forget him. Google are the undisputed experts on internet innovation:

      On Wednesday, Google said it would oppose efforts by large Internet providers to speed up, slow down or manipulate Internet traffic that their customers request. Although Google has recently spoken out on net neutrality through industry groups and think tanks, this marks the first time since 2010 that Google has staked out an explicit position of its own on the policy.

      “If Internet access providers can block some services and cut special deals that prioritize some companies’ content over others, that would threaten the innovation that makes the Internet awesome,” wrote Google in a message to Internet activists Wednesday. “No Internet access provider should block or degrade Internet traffic, nor should they sell ‘fast lanes’ that prioritize particular Internet services over others.”


      Game. Set. Match.

      1. They’re saying that no ISP should do things that no ISP has really done.

        I can’t wait for Google to have to contend with massive amounts of traffic inbound from peers.

        I imagine they’ll start enforcing the provisions of settlement free peering agreements that require equal traffic exchange and payment for the traffic in excess.

        Should they choose to let their peers send more traffic towards them then Google sends out, they’ll find themself in the position of having to upgrade their network based on the demands of some customers while passing the costs to all customers, OR metering.

        Should be interesting to see what they do.

        1. They’re saying that no ISP should do things that no ISP has really done.

          Then who cares about this?

          1. Apparently someone cares enough to try to regulate it.

            Most people here care about solutions that have no problems. It’s never a good thing.

            1. Why is AT&T fighting it if they don’t want to block/prioritize traffic?

              1. Why would you fight against prohibition unless you secretly use illegal drugs?

                Why would you fight against CCTV unless you’re doing something wrong?

                Why require a warrant if you have nothing to hide?

                That’s horrible thinking and poor logic.

                Seriously, though, it’s about not allowing ATT to approach netflix and tell them that they need to pay more due to their disproportionate bandwidth use. Either way the cost will get passed on to the customer. It’s about whether comcast charges more or netflix does- netflix wants the government to force comcast to be the bad guy.

                1. So Comcast wants to protect their legacy content business by blocking others?

                  Then divest them. They are no longer an ISP.

                  1. no. they want to offer the same level of service for less money to the end user. they cant do this if all their end users are netflix subscribers (they have to increase bandwidth and that costs money that they need to recoup, etc.)

                    netflix can’t exist or grow without comcast growing it’s bandwidth. comcast knows this. netflix knows this. Comcast says, you’re customers are eating our bandwidth. if you want us to increase it to support your growth, you need to shoulder the costs of some of that burden.

                    Netflix knows people will still buy internet, but might NOT buy netflix if the bandwidth cant support quality streaming. Netflix knows one day it will have to pay comcast if they want to continue to grow… OR they could lobby the government to make that type of payment request illegal.

                    1. Spencer – that is a rational depiction of a unique business dilemma. You are obviously pro-Comcast though.

                      Why can’t Comcast compete on content? Don’t you think neutrality protects small content guys in theory? Why can’t Comcast just charge for data then? Like wireless? I have no issue with LTE and Verizon will let you watch NFLX all day on LTE.

                    2. Comcast isn’t a content provider in this business. they are a service provider. why can’t netflix make their streaming take up less bandwidth? They make NO money with out comcast.

                      Comcast CAN charge for data, but would rather not. They know it’s bad PR if they do this- netflix knows it’s bad PR if they up their fee.

                      I’m not pro comcast for any reason other than they aren’t going to the government to solve their problems via regulation. There are a myriad of potential solutions to this problem that don’t involve regulation. Why not go with those?

                    3. Look, all the law firms on K street have done assessments and they are not getting their usual cut of business from the big business billions that the internet has spawned, they need a foot in the door, and the SCOTUS is feeling left out of the loop, and government wants to try to keep up on the newest tech their grandchildren run circles around them with.
                      Furthermore Homeland Security and the NSA are in dire need of some “non official” bandwidth restrictor tools that don’t involve DOS attacks so they can make attacks on rogue nations behind cover of ISP and other large players in the backbone.

                      So government has a need. We the people are the government, and if we want to be safe and run the world, we need all our corporations working with us, exempt and in the dark.

                      Controlling pipe speeds and selectively denying anything is a big step forward to that end.

                      Why deny those who provide rule of law and global domination with the tools they need to make war and hammer anyone they want at any time in secret ?

                      Aren’t you a Patriot ?

                    4. Why can’t Comcast just charge for data then?

                      They could, but that’s going to piss off their customers who are accustomed to a particular level of service at a particular price (they’ve also got a lot of customers locked up in contracts that would need to expire before they could roll something like that out). It’s less risky for them to ask Netflix to pony up than to ask their customers to pony up. But at the end of the day, somebody has to pony up.

                    5. Well, my bias is obviously toward the content creators and not the pipe.

                      This is not about a “government takeover” of the internet.

                    6. Well, my bias is obviously toward the content creators and not the pipe.

                      Which demonstrates your utter lack of understanding of this issue and the actual dynamics involved.

                    7. Like Google? They don’t get the internet either?

                    8. Google is in bed with the sociopaths who run the government you fucking statist boot-lick twat.
                      Ive had enough of your disingenuous assertions PB, You are one of the dumbest fucking people to blabber on this forum, why people dignify you with answers is beyond me. but if you insist on coming to a place where you will be called on your lies and political posturing, can you please make a coherent or rational argument at least once a day, its really disappointing to see you getting dumber and dumber by the day. Maybe you should see a doctor about your LSD habits.

                    9. “This is not about a “government takeover” of the internet”
                      Quit lying to yourself you delusional twat the rest of us care about our freedoms.
                      God i hope you get deported to a totalitarian nation

                    10. Additionally, this forces non Netflix users to subsidize Netflix users through higher Comcast charges.

                    11. ***Ding ding ding*** Thom wins

                    12. Verizon will let you watch NFLX all day on LTE.

                      So will Comcast. But Comcast lets you do so for $50/mo while VZW will charge you $600 for the privilege (7.5 hrs of streaming video per day is 75 GB per month; this is not cheap).

                    13. Why can’t Comcast compete on content?

                      Why the hell can’t Comcast compete on whatever the hell it feels like? Don’t like the fact that Comcast’s privileging of its own content makes your Netflix run slower? Fine. Go out and get Fios. AOL showed how well the walled garden worked.

                    14. Brendan’s statements are not pro-Comcast. Imagine you are Comcast – you budgeted for X growth in bandwidth in 2010/2011.

                      Actual bandwidth growth greatly exceeded your forecast primarily because of Netflix video streams.

                      Now you have two problems:

                      One, manage your network right now 24×7 to maintain the best overall level of performance and reliability possible for *all* services given the extraordinary additional and growing loads from Netflix.

                      Two, you have to figure out how to get the money, people and time to add more bandwidth, how much to add and how fast it can happen. Bandwidth is not an infinite resource, is not cheap and takes time to increase.

                      Also, at that time, no one knew if Netflix was going to succeed or fail crushed by it’s loading of the Internet.

                      So, be fair to all parties. I want net-neutrality, but not at the cost of having Title II (which I am all too familiar with) levels of government controls everywhere on the Internet.

                    15. What does Comcast have to gain by *creating* network problems as perceived by the customers using “small content guys” services?

                      Why would they want to increase their support load and decrease their being perceived as a provider of good service?

                      Comcast and other ISPs have very strong incentives to provide the best service possible to all sources and sinks of data traffic…

                      Their reputation requires that. It’s the nature of being an ISP.

                    16. So what you want is for comcast charge your average internet user more for data to protect a corporate behemoth like netflix and you want thousands of pages of regulations to do it?

                      Now some of us know that ultimately the end user is going to pay here no matter what either through higher internet bills or through higher netflix bills but I would think a deep thinking free lunch advocate like you would be upset about regulations dumping on the little guy to protect netflix.

                2. actually it is about the government getting their foot in the door. Once they do that it is only a matter of time before they start taxing and regulating the shit out of the internet and its users. Like the FCC they can also determine what is ok to broadcast or not,,,,, which is not their business to determine what people can and should be able to read write or see on the Net.

                  that’s the big problem not necessarily just price and competition.

              2. Because regulations cost money even if you are already complying with them.

              3. To establish themselves firmly in the oligopoly for the next 25 years or so.

          2. It’s one of those statements that says nothing.

            The real issue is what effect this will have on ISPs that face abusive peers and attempt to remediate the issue by requiring payments for overages, dropping peers who continuously transmit more than they receive, allowing paid peer links to saturate, etc.

            Each one is content neutral but the “free unicorns for everyone” crowd will cry that ISPs are censoring or blocking.

          3. Brendan is exactly right.

            “Then who really cares about this?”

            That is the $64 trillion dollar question.

            Occam’s Razor says those who benefit the most from this radical regulatory regime change are politicians and their rich cronies – they gain power and money.

            Unfortunately, it is that simple.

            This is all about power and money gained from the government giving itself significantly increased control over all aspects of the Internet.

        2. Hey, I don’t think ISP’s should kick puppies. We should really have a law that makes sure they don’t ever try any puppy-kicking schemes.

      2. Yep, because a near-monopoly search provider and the owner of YouTube – one of the web’s largest bandwidth consumers – among other bandwidth-sucking properties like consumer cloud services certainly wouldn’t have anything to gain by taking a particular position.

      3. Please see my comment above. They are rent seeking because it’s THEIR content they are worried about being slowed down.

        They could always expand Google Fiber and then market it as neutral to run the other dudes out of business.

        1. I live in Georgia (about the ninth largest state) and Google will have fiber rolled out in only three small neighborhoods by 2020.

          1. I know. Why would they invest if they can simply get the government to ensure all the ISPs do exactly what they want? I think you have made my point.

            1. So Google is stating the opposite of what they really want?

              1. NO- google wants to force other people to shoulder the costs of bandwidth so people can access their services without interruption. If they do this, they don’t have to compete with their own ISP.

                It’s good business for them… well, crony business, but very self interested in the short run.

              2. Google is an incredibly minor ISP with a kooky model. They stuck their toes in the water and are going to get out. The increased value of their content businesses under NN far outweighs the damage done to their ISP experiment.

              3. You’re picking a company whose primary source of revenue is advertising as the crux of your argument? Your retardation really knows no bounds.

          2. And that’s where it’ll stay. NN increasing overhead and decreasing profitability will make new bandwidth loadouts at the consumer level a losing proposition.

            We’re likely to see the bandwidth oligarchs refocus investment to closed, private networks instead of leveraging their internet backbone in the Enterprise space, which is basically how the market looked before broadband took off.

      4. Google loves NN and the FCC, they’ll capture the regulatory agency to freeze Google’s dominance.

      5. Google wants net neutrality because Google pushes huge amounts of video, and doesn’t want the ISPs to start charging it for the privilege of hogging their networks.

        Cronies gonna crony. A strong wind of fish farming is usually a good indication some cronying is going on.

      6. I’m shocked, shocked I tell you, that a company that is a high bandwidth consumer would insist it shouldn’t be charged extra for its high bandwidth consumption.

        Nope. No conflict of interest there. None whatsoever.

        1. But the “remedy” for Youtube traffic should not be to block it.

          1. Charging to carry it is not blocking it.

          2. Why shouldn’t it be allowed to be? If some company doesn’t want to carry YouTube, then consumers will have the choice of access with and without YouTube. –

          3. Your remedy will be the government allowing the ISPs to charge more when they invest more, i.e. pushing the consumer to pay for it instead of Youtube.

            1. That’s what he wants.

      7. No Internet access provider should block or degrade Internet traffic

        Yeah OK, cool. I’m down with that as a general guideline.

        nor should they sell ‘fast lanes’ that prioritize particular Internet services over others.

        Heyyyy, where did this come from? Why can’t they sell faster access to those who want faster access?

      8. Fuck Google. They have turf to protect. They are hardly unbiased.

        Read the chapter in Declaration of Independents where they discuss the airlines industry regulation. From 1929 when regulations were introduced until 1975 (by memory) when they were lifted the same 5 carriers retained almost exactly the same market share. The market was essentially frozen in place. That’s what net neutering will do – neuter innovation and suppress new players.

        1. But it kept the Hoi Polloi off the planes, the stewardesses were hot, and the food was better – and included in the price of the ticket.

      9. “No Internet access provider should block or degrade Internet traffic”

        This is the same Google that purposely games or even outright omits internet search results to appease the highest bidder, right?

      10. Google owns Youtube. Of course they want utility pricing for their content.

        It will be interesting to see if Google drops Google Fiber now.

  3. How did this guy manage to get in his position with thinking like that?

    How does it happen more often?

    1. This guy is a ‘minority’, so Democrats figured he must *really* be a Democratic stooge in disguise.

  4. OT: William Saletan up to his idiocy again:


    1. Personally, I view the GOP as a greater threat to me than ISIS.

      1. Unless you’re a photojournalist hanging around the Syrian border, you’d be right.

      2. Ah yes! But is the GOP a greater threat to you than the PROGTARDS like Tony?

    2. “Anyone who has watched Obama’s genteel response to his Republican tormentors shouldn’t be surprised at his delicacy about Islam. He resists generalizations and looks for common ground, whether the context is terrorism or domestic politics.”

      *slurp* *gurgle*

  5. I don’t think Pai understands what is going on here.

    This is about taxation and control, that is all. It is a solution that will work just fine for a problem that does exist.

    Imagine how much easier it would be to sell AGW if people did not have access to google, to discussion boards, to the infinite amount of information they currently do.

    The fact that we can sign on and look up anything we want, that we can discuss any topic with a myriad of people must really burn the statist’s asses. It certainly stymies a lot of their efforts, and that is the problem. The solution is to fuck the internet to death.

    That is what is going on here.

    1. Do you guys ever consider not being paranoid whackjobs?

      1. Just because he is posting from his Prepper Shelter with his ammo clip loaded?

      2. Why the big rush? Why not let everyone see the regs?

        Being paranoid does not mean that people are not plotting against you. Sometimes being paranoid is pretty healthy.

        Also, go fuck yourself.

        1. Notice how they don’t reply to that question. Why can’t we see what is in it?

          1. Both of those turds always do the same thing. When confronted with an undeniable argument or you expose an obvious lie they just ignore you and pretend it didn’t happen. In their minds they can wait two minutes and re-engage on a different subject and their credibility is magically restored.

            The truth is that their mere arguing almost any position does damage to that position just because it is a known liar arguing it.

            1. The best response they can come up with is an ad hom. That tells you everything you need to know.

        2. Why the big rush?

          This issue has been on the stove for at least three years.

          Go back to your Prepper Shelter.

          1. This issue has been on the stove for at least three years.

            Maybe, but the proposed rules have not been released, shit-for-brains.

            I know, we have to pass the rules to see what’s in there. Perfect prog logic.

            1. Did the Oturds get their government minder in every news agency of note in the country ?
              Recall… anyone claiming they would try to do this before with their neutral news crap was called paranoid as well –

              Well, they tried, but it leaked out and they got caught and the outrage was so rampant they back off and STFU…

              So they, the demolib obababimiliarbots at the FCC now know, just keep it all secret until the ax has fallen.
              Citizen slaves can just take it up the backside in horror afterwards, no use projecting the penetration.

      3. The irony fucking burns considering that net neutrality supporters routinely sell their position on the idea that in the absence of beneficent government, the greedy KKKORPORASHUNS would bamboozle us with false information and withdraw access to their super-subversive uber-important vBulletin circle jerks.

      4. Tony|2.25.15 @ 11:58AM|#
        “Do you guys ever consider not being paranoid whackjobs?”

        Mirror, mirror, on the wall….

      5. You do the same fucking thing about private companies.

      6. Did you ever consider NOT having Obama’s statist juice dripping down your chin and Harry Reid’s proggie cum dribbling out your asshole while telling us how wonderful the world would be with JUST A LITTLE MORE REGULATION AND LAWZ!!!

      7. This coming from the guy who tried to argue that the reason you wouldn’t support a bloated welfare state is that you’re a racist. Paranoid whackjob much?

      8. From the guy moving to NZ over Trump?

    2. The people doing the selling are the ones who sold you on fraudulent AGW denialism.

      1. Could you unpack that for me? Are you saying that the net neutrality opponents are fraudulent AGW deniers or are you saying that the people pushing net neutrality are the same people pushing the bullshit of AGW?

        Because the only proven fraud in the global warming debate (remember, it’s called climate change now) comes from the side that thinks the government should have more control over your life.

    3. The people doing the selling are the ones who sold you on fraudulent AGW denialism.

  6. Google pay 97$ per hour my last pay check was $8500 working 1o hours a week online. My younger brother friend has been averaging 12k for months now and he works about 22 hours a week. I cant believe how easy it was once I tried it out. This is wha? I do……


    1. Not for long, sucker!

  7. What difference does it make and why would liberals be against it. This will continue to help liberals get elected as more and more conservative sites and bloggers are censored or their license, that will be required, will be denied. I just don’t understand. After all once the liberals get their license the conservative will never try to take them back. And the taxes, worse service and other cost incurred plus the slower speed that everyone will end up with is just the cost of the liberals controlling the internet. So this will continue to censor the information that goes out on the net to the public, just like the MSM tries to do now. This is a win win for the left. Welcome to OBAMA-NET.

    1. So you’re one of those idiots who thinks this is about “censoring the internet”.

      1. It’s step 1. It doesn’t have to be, of course, but history demonstrates that people with power always want more power, and the hoi polloi can be scared into giving it to them.

        1. All it takes is different commissioners, which is why you don’t let their foot in the door.

      2. Coming from the guy who started out this comment thread by suggesting that without net neutrality, ISPs would censor the internet…

        You guys are on opposite sides of the same coin, each ironically thinking the other is a crazy conspiracy theorist.

        1. Neutrality is the incumbent standard. This regulation harms no one unless they want to block/prioritze traffic.

          1. “Neutrality is the incumbent standard”

            No it’s not. IF it was, there needn’t be new regulations.

          2. How the fuck do you know? We can’t even read the regs. Go fuck yourself.

            1. YES!

              They need to vote on it to see what’s in it…

              Where have we heard that before?

              1. Put this cream on your balls (assuming male) D_rwc, don’t bother reading the label.

              2. Well, what difference at this point does it make?

                And remember, Buttface is:

                Shillin for Hillary

                He’s cuckoo for Hillary

                He’s shillin for Hillary

                Lick those cankles, buttface, lick em, your master agrees that we have to regulate the internet.

              3. Well it’s a direct Obama command – as was described in the video – the big change and kiss that foreigners illegal backside and do the Alinsky –

                I have no doubt further down the road the 5th will be pled after declaring innocence and it will be years and years of rumors of corrupt decisions and insane fines slammed on the right before it finallly becomes “the years old reality admitted by the MSM” then of course years of “investigating” and ” deleted evidence” and all the lying sacks of crap claiming in the face of overwhelming certainty that it never really happened it was just maybe one or two rogue employees somewhere in some city….


          3. Nice to know that someone has already read all 300+ pages of the rules. Which of the FCC members that are voting on this are you, now?

            1. You forgot to tell him to go fuck himself.

              1. The sock puppet just assumes that.

          4. Neutrality is the incumbent standard.

            No, it is not. That’s why a reclassification of internet service providers as telecoms instead of information services is necessary in order to carry the regulation forward. The court slapped down the previous attempt because the FCC lacked the authority to impose them under the incumbent standard.

            This regulation harms no one unless they want to block/prioritze traffic.

            Blocking and prioritizing traffic are entirely different things, so separating them by a slash as if they were interchangeable is ridiculous. Traffic prioritization already takes place on your ostensibly-neutral incumbent internet networks, which generally results in a better consumer experience at the expense of “fairness”. Treating the traffic to Joe Blow’s blogspot page with 4 unique visitors per month identically to high def Netflix content being streamed to 50 million users simultaneously; or treating grandpa Joe who checks his email and Facebook twice a day identically to xx420blazeitgamerxx playing WoW with 15 torrents going in the background 12 hours a day, is as fair and equitable as it is ridiculous. If Netflix wants to pay to get network preference over Joe Blow’s Tumblr, or if XYZ ISP wants to charge Netflix more for pushing high def content to 50 million people on it’s network, that should be left to the interested parties to decide. Concerned consumers can apply pressure in whichever direction they want through traditional means.

            1. Too complicated, that will never work.

            2. Neutrality is the incumbent business standard. Which is why this topic is a head-scratcher for most people.

              The internet looks just fine to the vast majority of us. And yes, the government can fuck it up – like with domain restrictions.

              1. Neutrality is the incumbent business standard.

                Bingo! (well, more or less. As I said, traffic shaping and prioritization does already take place). (Relative) neutrality became the prevailing standard in the absence of regulation, and going forward there is plenty of pressure from all the stakeholders to ensure that a proper balance is struck. NN via title II is a solution in search of a problem.

              2. Neutrality is the incumbent business standard.

                This is false. You have no idea what you’re talking about.

                1. Never mind. I fucked up.

          5. Neutrality is the incumbent standard.

            Obviously, we need hundreds of pages of regs to change nothing? Is that you line?

          6. They are reclassifying the internet as a public utility and you say censorship will never enter into it.

            We are not as stupid as you are.

            I saw television before it was regulated. It was very well done, well written and acted and explored very important subjects. I vaguely one show about a mixed couple that was particularly good in a time where that subject was verboten.

            Then it became regulated and we got Howdie Doodie which has since evolved into The Sex Box and Law and Order. What came out of the gate as pretty intellectual very quickly became pap, idiocy and propaganda for the masses.

            I don’t think you believe any of the shit you argue, turdpolisher.

            1. He is pretending that TV and radio aren’t censored.

              Question. How many times can you say “FUCK” on TV?

          7. Neutrality cannot be both the incumbent and the new proposed state.

            And what the regulation really does is attack property rights and stifle expansion and innovation in one of the industries that’s most vital to education, civic engagement, economic empowerment, and a host of things which improve the lives of people throughout this country and the rest of the world. If you’d like to see a predictive model for what this regulation will produce, I point you to the wired telecom industry that cellphones and the Internet has replaced.

            1. In a few weeks we will have some meat concerning the demon Obama and his destructive plans, yet I doubt the biggest evil and crimes will be detected right away- as the neocons always assume they are playing with human opposition.

              A few months we will hear rumors, a leak here or there ad people will ignore it.

              The demolibs in FCC power will TWIST and DISTORT the 332 pages of law as they have been commanded to do – in order to attack political opposition – and it will be caught flat footed because it will be so insane no normal person could imagine it, but the criminally insane demonrat of course will chuckle…

              So that’s what I look forward to, besides very quickly another $20 bill slapped on the price every month for fat pig sam and his pigging pigs.

      3. God, not even you could be that stupid. Which is why I must conclude that you NEVER EVER argue in good faith.

        You are such a worthless fuck.

        1. For you, dipshit. Because I like proving you wrong.

          Obama’s second term is on pace to be the best ever for private sector job growth

          Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com…..z3SmMVJ3Ye

          1. And which party has been in Congress the longest through the Obama years?

          2. The fact that you cite Business Insider proves you have crayon wax in your teeth. I don’t know how you type.

            That article has more caveats that a Donald Trump pre-nup. You are an idiot.

            I don’t think you know what “citation” means. Hint: it isn’t just a horse!!

          3. You do realize that it is pretty much just a factor of timing right?

            1. Timing has a lot to do with it. Obama has signed some great pro-growth policy like cutting regs on capital formation and divesting TARP.

              1. Yeah, Obama has cut SO MANY regulations!! It’s been almost obscene!
                Remind me how someone who is a “classic liberal” supports someone who championed TARP again?

        2. it’s a sock puppet. It’s already been exposed. Just reply to it assuming such, or ignore it.

      4. So you’re one of those idiots who thinks this is about “censoring the internet”.

        “This” in terms of NN may not be, although it’s odd that the people most affected by it–us–are forbidden to know what’s in it. But if you’ve been paying the slightest bit of attention to the real world, you’ll have noticed that free speech is under constant attack–and not just from progressives. Do you really think that authority to regulate the internet won’t at some point become regulating content?

        I don’t know your age but I’m old enough to be shocked by what speech is considered “harmful” nowadays. And attempts at censorship of political and cultural issues is older than either of us, as is the habit of governments to constantly expand their power. That’s not paranoia; that’s history.

      5. So you’re one of those deluded morons who still thinks, beyond all contrary evidence, that Democrats AREN’T obsessed with censorship?

      6. Once the principle is established that the FCC can regulate it, why wouldn’t the FCC go to town with regulations?

  8. Net Neutrality is “a solution that won’t work to a problem that doesn’t exist,”


    1. Oh, it will work alright. What Obama wants is a Communist China like control of the internet. That’s the goal, nothing less.

      1. You’ve achieved full blown insanity.

        1. You are such shitty troll. God, it is so sad. Go beat off to a picture of Chocolate Nixon, dipshit.

  9. “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy.”

    1. Best post of the day.

    2. Accord, H.L. Mencken: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.”

      1. “Never let a crisis go to waste.”

  10. From the beginning many of us have refereed to ‘not neutrality’ as a solution in search of a problem.

    Since there was no problem to fit the solution the FCC had to invent a problem so they could enforce their intentionally vague solution.

    In a few years when you are about to post to a comment section like this and you find yourself thinking; “Hmm could this post be defined as hate speech or an unfair attack on the government?”… Remember we warned you.

  11. Look, what’s the big deal? All of this will be moot in a few years when it’s determined that free high-speed Internet is a basic human right. Then government will finally take complete control and run things fairly.

    1. Free High-speed internet and nutella.

    2. M-O-O-T, that spells MOOT

  12. This Ajit Pai dude, he’d best get his behind back on the blue team plantation where he belongs. People of color are not allowed to think and express different ideas. He’s one of those damn Uncle Samirs that are ruining our democracy!

  13. Why is prioritizing traffic such a terrible thing? I’d rather my streaming video got prioritized over my email.

    Why all this talk about “blocking” websites? Is there any evidence that this has happened?

    Why does anyone think that regulating the internet under 1930s rules meant for the monopoly Bell system is a good idea?

    How can anyone advocating this not realize that politics and mission creep are inevitable? We’ll have studies “proving” that disabled immigrant lesbians have worse net access and need subsidies. We’ll have efforts to restrict “hate speech.” We’ll have diversity quotas, efforts to control campaign speech, and who knows what else.

    1. The NN advocates will tell you that prioritization is fine, but it’s about making sure Comcast can’t favor Hulu over Netflix, or its own VOIP over Vonage’s.

      The problem there is that once the government gets final say over this prioritization there is going to be a race for everyone to have their traffic classified as a priority. And we all know how that ends up getting sorted out.

  14. Exactly, and I’m an antitrust lawyer by training, and that’s why I view everything through the prism of consumer welfare,”

    What a bunch of BS. He makes excuses for things like Comcast owning NBC Universal (and hence the content) which they can then favor over other content (by means of pricing, speed, etc.) and all in the same breath they are considering the TWC/Comcast merger. There is absolutely nothing antitrust about that.

    I welcome title II with open arms if for no other reason that nobody will be forced to compete. The only reason they’ve done so recently is that Google (a juggernaut) had the funds to buy up dark fiber and make a splash. Which you could also argue, they don’t have the right to offer content either if they are operating as an ISP.

    1. Hey buddy…did you not read the article where 76% of Americans had 3 competing ISPs?

      I bet your town gave Comcast a monopoly and since you can’t fix that, you decided all of America had to be “fixed.”

  15. Why can’t we just get rid of monopoly ISPs at the local level? Regulations created those monopolies in the first place. Same thing with electric companies.

    1. It doesn’t really matter if you do in the short term. In most cases the investment involved is too brutal to be worth it. I’m stuck under Cablevision’s thumb even though FiOS is available a half mile from my house because Verizon has no desire to expand.

      1. I’m stuck under Cablevision’s thumb even though FiOS is available a half mile from my house because Verizon has no desire to expand.

        Huh. I wonder why? I’m sure that regulatory uncertainty has nothing to do with it.

        I count myself as one of the lucky ones. We were one of the first areas in the country to get FIoS.

    2. This would be the actual solution to the competition problem that NN advocates point to in justifying NN. The provider monopolies are basically exclusively local. Federal legislation can’t even address it. And NN is just going to incentive the monopoly ISP in those areas to decrease service and avoid upgrading infrastructure.

      1. Counterproductive government regulation begetting more counterproductive government regulation? Say it ain’t so!

    3. They did it with “electric companies” – one big problem is – only certain very fixed entities produce any electric power – those and those alone used to be our “electric companies” when producing something meant something.
      Now there are all sorts of “competitors” – they “buy electricity on the open market” – they scam and plot and plan and pay millionaires to play the “markets” ( the actual electric producer MUST play along with the newly government formed leeches)..
      Then the new “lectric’ co’s” send some smarmy lying couple of sacks to your doors, about 5 or ten times a year – trying to “bag you” for some “locked in lectric rates”…

      Well guess what genius ? You used to pay for one company to produce electricity and you use it.
      Now a thousand minorities and collegiate wannabes and lying solicitor con artists are what you pay for – so they can come knocking on your door and everyone else’s.. BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT DECIDED YOU’D PAY FOR ELECTRICITY AND HUNDRED THOUSAND MAKE WORK JOBS ON YOUR ELECTRIC BILL TOO- AS WELL AS CORPO PIGS PLUS MARKET COO’S AND CEO’S SUCKING DOWN 100X/Q who never showed up on anyone’s electric bill before.

      Get up and go answer the door, it’s the new twofers from the “not selling you anything” government spawned electric company X (don’t worry THEY aren’t destroying the earth they don’t make a single watt of electricity for anyone !)

  16. Quadruple the # of geo-synced birds; sell dishes for $20 each; voila, no more phony ‘problems’.

    It’s gonna happen sometime anyway.

    btw, anyone thinking this is not a political move is na?ve.

    1. No, it goes way beyond naive, it’s nothing less than fucking stupidity trusting the same bunch of politicians who have been lying to you for years, to actually not be lying this time.

      The internet as it exists today is the biggest threat to those in positions of corrupt power that has ever existed. It only makes sense that they want to control the internet.

      1. Bah. Why would the government fear a bunch of paranoid whackjobs?

      2. The right or center better get out in-front of this with a more correct, sinister, and fitting name instead of ‘Net Neutrality’.

        1. Obamanet it has been decreed.

        2. Full Accessibility Internet Regulations.

          Guaranteed winner.

    2. Complaint closing….

      2. Plaintiff/Appellant also prays for immediate injunctive relief such that all violations of 18 U.S.C. 2511* and all violations of Ark Code Ann. 5-41-103* are ordered ceased immediately for Plaintiff/Appellant’s name and seeks orders for the Federal Communications Commission to regulate “online” wire communications as a Title II common carrier and require ratings of all “obscene, indecent, or profane” JPG files communicated in interstate or world-wide commerce before indexed as soon as possible because this is already required by clear wording of U.S. law in 47 U.S.C. ?151*.

  17. Just wait until we ‘find out what’s in it’ and watch the lefties who were so up on this, shit their fucking pants.

    When you are an unquestioning sheep being led dumbly to the slaughter, you deserve what you get.

    So let it be written, so let it be done.

  18. I think this a push by the Obama Administration to create a tax on the Internet and provide free Internet access to illegals aliens thus giving them an even greater opportunity for amnesty and voting. ObamaPhone now here come ObamaNet.

    1. That is either true wingnut thinking or good snark – can’t tell.

  19. This is not a competition issue. This is a freedom issue. I am old enough to have been taught real history in school. This is one of many issues facing us today with freedom. If you look at Germany when Hitler was working on taking it over everyone thought they were free, the soon found out the bitter truth.

    We have a network that is right now free and open to anyone. Tomorrow that will change as long as we have men such as the FCC leader who is nothing more than a puppet and a senate and congress where both parties are owned by the white house we will loose one freedom behind the other, hence “the progressive party”. Wake up America

    1. I’m old enough to know that your pretty safe to just dismiss anyone that uses the phrase “Wake up xxxxx”.

    2. If you look at Germany when Hitler was working on taking it over everyone thought they were free, the soon found out the bitter truth.

      “Found out”? It wasn’t like he was making a secret out of it. Hitler was democratically elected by the German people. And he was granted dictatorial powers by German parliament. Germans didn’t believe in liberty or democracy, so they voluntarily abolished it.

      1. And for years before Hitler they had rule by decree, letting the president make law unilaterally.

  20. A judiciary independent of a king or executive alone, is a good thing; but independence of the will of the nation is a solecism, at least in a republican government. – Thomas Jefferson

    NO Govt entity has the Authority or Right to be independent of the Will of the Nation – and none of them have the right to regulate or monitor COMMUNICATION among law-abiding CITIZENS.
    They have not been authorized or commissioned in any way by the American Citizens.

    The courts are not bound by mere forms, nor are they to be misled by mere pretences. They are at liberty ? indeed, are under a solemn duty ? to look at the substance of things, whenever they enter upon the inquiry whether the legislature has transcended the limits of its authority. If therefore, a statute purporting to have been enacted to protect the public health, the public morals, or the public safety, has no real or substantial relation to those objects, or is a palpable invasion of rights secured by the fundamental law, it is the duty of the courts to so adjudge, and thereby give effect to the Constitution. ? Mugler v. Kansas, 123 U.S. 623, 661.

    1. OK. Interesting historical quotes but the right to control original fixed communications was protected in England in 1734 and expanded in 1766. This human right has been ignored by the United States until the United States was completely overthrown by America. From the Copy[rite] Act of 1790 to Citizens United of 2010 the judicial oligarchy destroyed the public morals of the United States.

  21. Has the time come for open armed insurrection of the ‘Elite Ruling Criminal Class’ in Washington?
    Sic Semper Tyrannis !

  22. I can’t comprehend how the typical liberal is somehow in favor of the government effectively controlling speech.

    In semi-related news, I heard on the radio today some lawmaker complaining about how TEH EVUL BROWNZ use TEH INTERWEBS to recruit/whatever. I see a connection!

    But when all you’ve got is a hammer, I guess all you see are nails.

    1. They think that they’re “on the right side of history” and that inevitably their views will be the only ones that control the government. Reality won’t be kind to them.

  23. The FCC a government agency, wants to control access so they can give priority to the so called smart grid, as well as NSA spying. They really don’t want to regulate internet access. They want to regulate YOU.


      Actually it’s not funny, and it’s exactly why they are criminals, with barky as their crimelord, as the video outlined.

  24. Even some FCC employees get what it’s really about. Not that it’s going to make a difference when Gruber’s “stupid” culls, out of false sense of fear, are always ready to be played for suckers eagerly surrendering the liberties that belong to all of us and therefore in no way solely theirs to surrender.

  25. Furthermore, what kind of rip-off did this current bunch of Republicans pull off at the polls? In the past they’ve tooth and nail fought against the government seizing the Internet.

    So looks like it’s goodbye to only thing in this country that was actually still working. The only thing Sam hadn’t gotten it’s claws into; the relatively free and unregulated Internet.

  26. A solution that won’t work to a problem that doesn’t exist — exactly like everything else the Obama Gang does. The “problem” is the excuse for action, not the reason. The real goal is ALWAYS increasing government control over the lives of ordinary people.

    1. I have faith the evil omachine has much in the way of already formed plans to go wrecking all their opposition with their newly usurped powers.

      Don’t just say government, because the slime in the WH is clearly behind the about face change directions takeover – and we saw what his Learner attack yielded.

      So rest assured, the stiking will be partisan, swift, secret, deadly, and unreported for many years.

      Then as the death grip is squeezing the last blood out ( as he did to the Libertarians just prior above referred ) ” it will become public knowledge “.

      Can you say permanently shriveled teabag, again ?

  27. Given that Reason is ostensibly a proponent of the Free Market, Individual Rights, and Property Rights Reason should be defending the rights of the owners of the data that flows through the Internet. After all, without content there would be no demand, no supply, and no Internet.

    Content producers and consumers both purchase Internet bandwidth from carriers at market price, which by the way, will not be regulated by the FCC. Ideally in a Free Market context, shouldn’t the producer and consumer, the very definition of a market, be able to communicate directly with each other unencumbered by outside interference and decide for themselves how to prioritize the data they have purchased?

    Now let’s inject the carriers, who have a fiscal duty to make profit any legal way. Should carriers be legally allowed to snoop on data, provide it to third parties, or to tamper with it for financial gain? Due to IP convergence would it not be advantageous for carriers to begin to prioritize voice and video traffic and charge premiums for them again? If carriers do begin to filter and throttle traffic based on current usage patterns instead of building out general purpose networks will innovative new services and by extension consumers not suffer because they are no longer subject to optimization?

  28. This is insane. Bye bye internet freedom, one of the remnants of free market innovation.

  29. Wish someone on this site that is a Republican and stayed home when they could have put Romney in office explain their thinking at the time. Have asked Luntz to have a panel on Fox for this but he declined.

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  32. If I can bring up a mundane issue like law, is there a communications law attorney out there who can explain a baisc question: how can the FCC magically determined that companies that were “information services” yesterday instantaneously become “telecommunications services” today simply because the FCC took a vote?

    There has to be some statutory or other law that defines what “information services” and “telecommunication services” are supposed to be. Surely the FCC cannot make it up as it goes along, any more than the Securities and Exchange Commission can decide one day that the National Football League is somehow a “stock exchange” as a justification for attempting to regulate football.

    Is there any legal basis for the FCC to make this determination? Or is this a blatant power grab?

    1. The 47 ?153 ?(24) “information service” was a legal construct or invention for the ability to send telecommunications without regulating telecommunication and has no real concrete definition and never has.

      Reno v ACLU, (1997) was an idiotic Supreme Court mistake where a chief justice endorsed a stipulation by the ACLU and declared “online” to be “a wholly unique new medium for world-wide human communications” despite being nothing but common carrier wire communications using time displaced modulation of signals and combining these with the radio medium seamlessly. There were over 55 million subscribers to “wireless” wired communications in 1997.

      A chief justice too old to be a judge ANYWHERE besides America (77) alleged to invent or discover a new medium instead of the development of common carrier wire communications these always were. (Oops)

      The unregulated medium for pornography this Chief Justice and his cohorts were addicted to viewing anonymously via GOOG will soon no longer exist. It will still be there but will finally become profitable.

      1. Cell-phones, nternet, wireless phones, and everything else transmitting information more than a few hundred miles was defined around 1934 in 47 U.S.C. ?153 ?(59) when the FCC was created to replace the Federal Radio Commission.

        Unregulated interstate and world-wide telecommunication should never existed.

        Caution: Granny G, Lord Most Honorable Alito and Lord Most Honorable Thomas were on SCOTUS in 1997 and are probably still addicted to anonymous access to pornography. Lord Most Honorable John Paul Stevens has not yet died and these three old geezers will try to protect this legacy.

        1. “Cell-phones, nternet, wireless phones, and everything else transmitting information more than a few hundred miles was defined around 1934 in 47 U.S.C. ?153 ?(59) when the FCC was created”

          Wow. That’s pretty good cook.

          1. Damned fingers.

            What I meant to say was, I am impressed that Congress was able to regulate in 1934 pieces of technology that would not exist for another 50 to 60 years.

  33. Based on sentiments expressed here it seems the Internet is too egalitarian in nature and under-monetized. I propose a more lucrative replacement: Corporate Routing Application Protocol NET. It will have the following features:

    1) Audio communication is fundamental to civilization and it is also a Necessity good and therefore can be priced at a premium. It should have it’s own dedicated network and receiver device, like a telephone.

    2) Since the advent of Television Americans have had an insatiable demand for video entertainment. This bandwidth intensive crucial service should have it’s own dedicated network and receiver device, like a cable box.

    3) The exchange of correspondence is vital for commerce. However the existing US Mail system and even email lacks proper prioritization. Correspondence should be filtered and prioritized based on the sender/destination’s status or the content’s subjective economic value determined by deep learning algorithms.

    4) The dissemination of text is central to the Information economy. However it is currently undervalued and compensation is mostly achieved through advertisement. The major carriers should combine efforts and enforce a paywall and micro-transaction service for all content so that each page view’s profit is maximized.


    1. Go for it. Let me know if you get anyone to use such a service.

  34. Ajit Pai is a man who has always eaten from silver spoons provided by his wealthy immigrant parents from India. Ajit Pai has never worried about costs of “online” or ANYTHING else. Mr. Pai’s wealthy immigrant perspective requires protecting the status quo or system enjoyed today. Ajit Pai sure has pretty teeth in his smile though, doesn’t he.

    This is the beginning of safe world-wide communications by wire where the minds of humans around the world can share knowledge from Iran, China, Russia, and the U.S.

    Carbon compound combustion will soon no longer power humanity.

  35. Not sure what he means when he says, “if you look at the metrics compared to, say, Europe, which has a utility-style regulatory approach, I think we’re going pretty well.” Yeah, if we were a developing nation, maybe. Not even in the top 10 in his own cited report for average connection speeds (Figure 14, Figure 15), #7 for % above 10 Mb/s (Figure 16). Sure, the more densely populated areas of the US look better, but it’s hard to justify his statement.


    1. “Sure, the more densely populated areas of the US look better, but it’s hard to justify his statement.”

      Those areas are the closest to “Europe” because Europe is densely populated.

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  40. This story landed in the local lefty rag yesterday; typical comment:

    “It’s hard to understand how anyone but a Trump supporter would be against net neutrality. Of course, even they should be for it.
    The party may be over, folks…”

    Trump opposers suffer from brain-damage.

  41. No topic brings outside retards in like Net Neutrality Regulation does. That’s impressive.

    One misconception: Just because overall-neutral networks are a good thing (which is a statement I’d agree with), doesn’t mean the government has to enforce it (the fact that it developed on its own should make that clear).

    As Bastiat says:

    “Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all. We disapprove of state education. Then the socialists say that we are opposed to any education. We object to a state religion. Then the socialists say that we want no religion at all. We object to a state-enforced equality. Then they say that we are against equality. And so on, and so on. It is as if the socialists were to accuse us of not wanting persons to eat because we do not want the state to raise grain.”

    Or in this case, the socialists accuse us of not wanting people to have unfettered access to the internet, because we do not wish for the government to define “unfettered access”.

    It’s OK, I hear the Brits under Theresa May are getting a well-regulated internet, I expect we’ll get the same treatment in a few years.

    1. “One misconception: Just because overall-neutral networks are a good thing (which is a statement I’d agree with), doesn’t mean the government has to enforce it (the fact that it developed on its own should make that clear).”

      And if they are, they will develop as a result of the market.
      Sevo’s law; “Any time a third party sticks a nose into a free transaction between two free parties, at least one of those parties loses”.

  42. Here’s the only way leftists could possibly learn a lesson:

    1. Democrat president gets elected in 2020 or 2024.
    2. Lefties push for “net neutrality” laws that place a huge amount of authority in federal agencies
    3. Republican president wins the following term
    4. Republican president uses the power of Internet regulation to throttle or block websites devoted to abortion rights, gay rights, Islam, and BlackLivesMatter.

    Sure, they might not even learn from that, but this is the only possible scenario in which leftists would question the wisdom of handing the Internet over to the federal government.

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