Among other nonsense, the FCC is in the middle of determining whether it should preempt state laws that limit the provision of muni-provided boondoggles, er, broadband.  NetCompetition’s Scott Cleland reminds us why muni networks are such a bad thing for taxpayers and competition.

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This video shows a representative from Namecheap as he tries to describe Title II Net Neutrality, and the need for it.  Not surprisingly – because even the professional FCC lobbyists can’t tell you exactly what Title II Net Neutrality is – he stumbles along, and then finally comes to the conclusion that the entire Internet must be treated as a utility, and, anyway, all his group is really concerned about is that peoples’ access to information isn’t purposely slowed down by ISPs.

OK, now I get it.

What a deliberate mess the FCC has created.

The Agency and its edge-company supporters have long-claimed that the Commission’s efforts to create legally viable Net Neutrality rules aren’t about regulating the Internet. But, when I talk to folks outside the Beltway, it seems they think that’s what Title II is all about.  And they’re right.  In application, that’s what will occur.  The FCC (and its naive edge-company sycophants) are selling a false bill of goods here.  This authority cannot be cabined.  Someday, most anything touching the Internet will be regulated.  We’ll probably all have computer driver’s licenses to boot.

Oh, well.

As to slowing down traffic – no legitimate ISP wants to block information, etc. in order to gouge consumers.  They want to deliver what their customers want while making a reasonable profit, which is hard enough in competitive markets (and they are) without the FCC and some nebulous concept, benignly called Net Neutrality, regulating what they can offer.  Really, do consumers need this – especially Title II Net Neutrality, which is simply a game of extortion and rent seeking, being played by companies like Netflix and Google so they don’t have to pay their fair share?

No.

 

BTW – Net Neutrality professional lobbyists, Fight for the Future, “collaborated” with Namecheap to lobby the FCC for Net Neutrality with the Jumbotron, which features prominently in the background of this video.

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Slippery Net Neutrality

by Mike Wendy on September 20, 2014

The concept known as Net Neutrality is essentially a creature of the Left – a vessel into which it has poured all of its societal or other angst, framing a “problem” – which purposely has no defined edges – and then creating a “solution” to “fix” it.  If one has to generalize, Net Neutrality means the “non-discrimination” of content, applications, services or devices as they run over / attach to various points of the Internet.  In application (at this point in time), Net Neutrality “makes sure” that all the stuff flowing over the Internet from edge providers to end users gets treated equally and unmolested by the network providers.  When this occurs, the world is a better place.  So, we must have Net Neutrality, for without it, no one will ever be able to live freely again.  Ever.

It’s settled science.

Anyway, with the FCC Net Neutrality rule comment period over, the Commission’s work is cut out for it as it fashions its new (and needless) regulation in response to the DC Circuit’s ruling of last January. Now the real horse trading begins, meaning that after over a decade of “knowing” what Net Neutrality is, it seems that the slippery concept is, well, still pretty darned slippery, gelatinous and lugubrious.  And subject to negotiation.

Cut and dried it was never meant to be.  That would be easy.  Binary.  On, off.  But of course, how can one extort rent from that?

Pictured below are some of the characters in this debate and their versions of Net Neutrality.  Each of these versions, or combinations thereof, are still in-play as the FCC goes about figuring out how to “protect the Internet” from the “evil” ISPs through Net Neutrality.

5

This Philadelphia activist wants Net Neutrality to make the local cable provider pay more in taxes for schools, etc.

Al

This Minnesota Senator wants “simple” Net Neutrality.

Crawford2

This lawyer wants Net Neutrality to strip away the First Amendment rights of  ISPs.

Free

This Free Press lobbyist (left) and edge company lobbyist (right) want Net Neutrality rules which mean their clients never have to pay a single dollar to ship their offerings over the Internet to end users.

10

This woman wants Net Neutrality to screw her cable company.

Wright

 This Netflix lobbyist wants free “interconnection” as part of Net Neutrality.

9

 This activist wants Net Neutrality to bring about social justice.

Reporter

This Washington reporter (middle) wants to use Net Neutrality to rub elbows with powerful edge company lobbyists, and also write exciting stories about “good” vs. “evil” companies.

11

 This activist wants Net Neutrality to make the Internet free.

1

 These guys want Net Neutrality so they can do what they want on the Internet anonymously, while wearing cool masks.

Althea

 This Etsy lobbyist wants Net Neutrality to make all web pages load at exactly the same speed and quality under all circumstances.

Pots

 This Net Neutrality activist just wants to cook something at the Net Neutrality rally.

Barbara1

This lawyer wants “user-controlled quality of service” agreements to give the appearance that Net Neutrality via Title II is legal.

Wu

This lawyer wants to win his next run for political office, and in the meantime coin new phrases like Net  Neutrality, which create more jobs for lawyers, lobbyists and edge company freeloaders.

Philly2

 This Free Press advocate (middle, speaking), wants Net Neutrality to result in “media reform.”

Coffee

This activist wants corporations off of the Internet, while sipping $4 cups of Starbucks coffee.

7

 These activists want to use Net Neutrality rallies to look ironic.

Gigi2

 This former edge company lobbyist, now FCC official, (likely still ) wants the FCC to adopt most of Title II to give “teeth” to Net Neutrality.

Wood

 This Free Press lobbyist wants the “light touch” rules of Title II applied to Net Neutrality to “promote” robust infrastructure development.

Jumbo2

 This Jumbotron wants to lobby the FCC on Net Neutrality with pirated HBO videos.

LTE

 This rally organizer wants Net Neutrality to protect her free speech, especially when she’s playing “angel.”

Occupy

 ‘Nuff said.

Save

 These activists want Net Neutrality to “save the Internet.”

Wheeler1

The FCC’s Chairman just wants to get out of this Net Neutrality mess he’s created for himself without the Left putting his head on pike.

_________________

All of this, and so much more (like 3 million “comments” more), is being poured into the new Net Neutrality rule – one that will look more like a Jackson Pollock painting, or Oscar Mayer sausage, than “settled science.”  This will not result in good or sound public policy, however.  It took a decade to get to this point.  The Internet changes every year-and-a-half.  No “artful” rule can meet this challenge, especially for something that ain’t broke.

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Since mid-May reports have circulated that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is under such immense pressure from the Left to regulate the Internet via FDR-era rules that he’s about to squirt out a diamond from one of his orifices. Consequently, to reduce some of that pressure, especially as the Net Neutrality comment period deadline approaches, he’s gone out of his way to assure the Left that he’s really looking under the hood on the issue to make sure Google, er, consumers don’t get screwed by the “duopoly” broadband providers. And, you know, the resulting rule is going to be bad-ass tough on them.

He wants everyone to know that. Really.

But, lordy, for all his talk of late to clarify what this means, I’m just as confused as ever (maybe that’s the point).   So, I have five questions I’d love to hear Tom Wheeler answer to clear up the messaging mess he’s created.

Dear Chairman Wheeler:

1.  Some groups – like Free Press and EFF – believe that the FCC can “simply” reclassify information services as telecommunications services, thus allowing Title II POTS regulation of broadband providers. They believe further that the Commission can easily forbear from numerous Title II  provisions if it so wishes, thereby minimizing the law’s spread, and thus mooting from a political standpoint its potentially deleterious effect on the entire ecosystem. At the same time, the Commission has seemingly concluded that broadband providers are “terminating monopolies,” with you yourself saying last week that “meaningful competition” does not exist for these services. How, then, can the FCC forbear from any provisions of Title II when forbearance only works where competition exists – competition which you imply is plainly absent for wired broadband providers? Is this forbearance dance a chimera designed to get the FCC into the full metal jacket of Title II?

2.  What limits the FCC from using its 706 or Title II authority to regulate beyond broadband providers, to companies like Google, Facebook, Netflix, or even the average end user? Isn’t that the real aim of Net Neutrality – that is, getting the camel’s nose into the regulatory tent so that the Commission can someday regulate the medium much as it does with radio and TV?

3.  In one breath you praise the competitive zeal of the wireless industry. That the FCC and DoJ helped protect the industry’s competitive well-being by thwarting various mergers. That it’s the envy of the world in terms of technology, innovation and investment. That whole new competitive industries have been born as a result. Yet in another breath you seem to believe that Net Neutrality rules should apply.  So, what is it – is the market competitive, or is it not?  And if it is, how is the full version of Net Neutrality justified for these competitive services?

4.  You say that wireless is an “important pathway to the Internet” for many Americans. That it’s perhaps important enough to impose Net Neutrality rules. That “mobile first” (i.e., mobile trumps fixed broadband) espoused by numerous Internet edge companies is what’s driving the marketplace.  Yet you then decry that mobile broadband is not a “full substitute” to wired broadband. That it’s somehow a lesser technology, and always will be.  But, isn’t the broadband market just one market – one not arbitrarily broken into “better” and “lesser” technologies? Doesn’t consumer choice indicate as much?  If so, shouldn’t that take you out of the job of regulating because all these flavors of broadband abound, clearly revealing that the marketplace is healthy and doesn’t merit Net Neutrality (or other) regulation to serve consumers?

5.  All lawyer wiggle-words aside, isn’t the real trigger for Internet / Net Neutrality regulation something like, “I’m going to regulate whatever I want until SCOTUS or Congress, or both, specifically shut this racket down. Until then, hasta la vista, baby! Come and get me if you can.”? Stated differently, even when the competition you’ve protected or “created” (as in the wireless broadband space) still demands Net Neutrality regulation, isn’t this “standard” no better and arbitrary as “I know it when I see it”?  As you noted last week, “The work of the Commission to implement this Agenda will never be done.” I’ll say.  Beholden to no check on authority, doesn’t this more nearly approach tyranny than adherence to the rule of law / due process?

 Chairman Wheeler, thank you for your prompt attention to these important questions. Comments are due September 15; Reply Comments due September 21.

Sincerely, Mike Wendy – MediaFreedom

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At Least 60% of FCC Net Neutrality Comments Robo-Filings Says New Study

September 3, 2014

Progressive-oriented Sunlight Foundation came out with a deep-dive of the approximately one million Net Neutrality rulemaking comments sent to the FCC in July. In its new study, Sunlight asks: “What can we learn from 800,00 public comments on the FCC’s net neutrality plan?” Well, of the 800,000 comments it examined, Sunlight estimates that fewer than […]

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MediaFreedom Urges FCC to Reject Muni-Broadband Preemption Petitions

August 30, 2014

In late July, Chattanooga broadband provider, EPB, and the City of Wilson, North Carolina, asked the FCC to preempt their state laws, which limit where they can serve customers. This matter was put up for public comment by the FCC, and MediaFreedom filed the attached comments with the agency on Friday. In this filing, we […]

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Title II – Innovating at Government Speed

August 27, 2014

As we approach the final phase in the FCC’s third attempt to create a legally viable Net Neutrality rule, the anti-property groups pushing for “real” / “simple” Net Neutrality have expressed near hysterical support for the idea that the only way to protect the open web from “evil” ISPs is to ensure that they are […]

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Want More, Better, Faster Internet? Regulate the Heck Out of It Says Free Press

August 10, 2014

The anti-private property group Free Press believes Title II – which the radicals want imposed on network providers to ensure “real” Net Neutrality – is getting some bad press.  So, it’s embarked on its own press deluge to shore up the idea that heavy-handed government regulations are actually good for investment, noting (in page-after-page of […]

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Wheeler Letter to Verizon – Permissionless Innovation Nears Its End

August 4, 2014

Houston, we have a problem. Last week saw a highly unusual letter from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to Verizon, taking issue with the company’s plan to ease wireless data traffic congestion. As Wheeler writes: “Your website explained that this was an extension of your ‘Network Optimization’ policy, which, according to your website, applies only to […]

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FCC Working to Poke Taxpayers’ Eyes Out in Tennessee and North Carolina

July 29, 2014

In early June, Tom Wheeler touted in a blog post that “I believe that it is in the best interests of consumers and competition that the FCC exercises its power to preempt state laws that ban or restrict competition from community broadband. Given the opportunity, we will do so.” And like, shazaam, just last Friday, […]

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