back to article It's a question worth asking: Why is the FCC boss being such a jerk?

This week, Ajit Pai, chairman of America's broadband watchdog, decided to reignite the contentious debate over net neutrality – by proposing scrapping the country's open internet safeguards. The move was not unexpected. But what was surprising was how FCC chair Pai decided to relay it: rather than outline the logical policy …

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Devil

Why is the FCC boss being such a jerk?

He was born this way, and he can't help it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why is the FCC boss being such a jerk?

Ajit is completely unqualified for the job, and so he compensates with aggression. He knows zero about technology. His undergrad degree is in Social Studies, and then he has a Law Degree. Obama only nominated him in order to be "diverse" ethnically. Trump kept him on because Ajit is a shill for big business.

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Anonymous Coward

That's a great read Kieren, looks like you've hit the nail on the head in terms of his play for the long-term chairmanship. Could also be that he's partly fallen in love with the Republican brand of crony capitalism, or that someone's been whispering to him about his own future political fortunes. Maybe he sees himself as future Senator Pai.

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Holmes

Never saw that coming

he instead embarked on a fact-free, frequently misleading and highly partisan speech that bordered on a rant, even going so far as to mock and dismiss anyone who opposed his idea

From a Trumpkin? Huh.

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Re: Never saw that coming

I have a great title for the movie version: "All the President's Men". Oops.

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But these people aren't stupid

They just act stupid for attention, they know what they're doing perfectly well, and there's method and reasoning. It's a disservice to say they're dumb, because they're not, conniving and sleekit are more accurate.

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Re: But these people aren't stupid

Agreed (or is it "a greed"?)

If more people drink "the kool-aid" then we will fight among ourselves and there will be less opposition to the large and dangerous changes made in the quest for a the all mighty dollar.

As a country the USA needs to stop focusing on how we are different from each other and think hard about how almost everyone wants (and needs) the same basic things. Then perhaps there can be compromise and with compromise comes effective government. With effective government would see less drama and more dollars.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But these people aren't stupid

"As a country the USA needs to stop focusing on how we are different from each other and think hard about how almost everyone wants (and needs) the same basic things."

Uh unn. Not even THAT can be agreed upon. Quite a few people will answer your request, with all honesty, with "a lot of unworthy people to just up and disappear."

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Coat

@chuckufarley -- Re: But these people aren't stupid

Then perhaps there can be compromise and with compromise comes effective government.

Compromise is bad for business.

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Re: @chuckufarley -- But these people aren't stupid

REAL real businesses don't compromise. They CONQUER.

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Angel

Re: But these people aren't stupid

think hard about how almost everyone wants (and needs) the same basic things. Then perhaps there can be compromise and with compromise comes effective government.

Not the American Way - If people find they need the same basic things they will fight each other in order to get ALL of the basic things for themselves. To avoid that, Americans will disagree violently over which things are basic and who actually needs them more. This strategy keeps the permanent civil war down to a manageable level.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: But these people aren't stupid

"... think hard about how almost everyone wants (and needs) the same basic things."

Totally irrelevant when the few with money and power don't want those things: They want more money and power and they aren't asking from "almost everyone" as those are irrelevant.

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Right on time, McCarthy throws out the daily red meat to the progs, and they proceed to salivate like Pavlov's dogs. It's getting a bit tiresome.

Sure wish El Reg would focus on the tech stuff and cease auto-smearing the US President and all who support him, as if we were not quite human. We are.

But I'm starting to wonder about a lot of the posters who flock to Kieren's pieces. They seem to be living in a strange netherworld where putins lurk around every corner and conservatives rise from graves to feast on the brains of horrified liberals.

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Big John - did you actually read the piece? He said the bloke had some good ideas but was being a bit of a dick about it - that's hardly auto-smearing in my book - it is what used to happen - taking a nuanced view of a person before America's IQ dropped and everthing had to be black an white with no shades of grey. He also pointed out the faults in Obama's approach too.

I also call pot calling kettle on your 'treating his supportes as not quite human' - your rants, insults and other vitriol against everything Obama and 'liberal' show you have been doing the same thing, kind of precludes you taking the moral high ground now.

BTW you do realise you don't have to read stuff you know will trigger you?

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Anonymous Coward

I kind of get where you are coming from however I don't think this article is running the type of anti-trump sentiment you are referring to. I would suggest the BBC if you require to vent about the left wing liberal media.

I thought the article was well balanced and showed how he was being a dick and why. I'm sure deep down you are starting to question whether trump is not just going to "drain the swamp" to only fill it again with people are more self serving than the current lot.

I would also suggest that removing net neutrality is against the very people Trump is supposed to be working for and that can't be argued by anyone. The establishment he is supposed to be working against will make great gains from being allowed to control the internet and charge extra money for preferential treatment.

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"I would also suggest that removing net neutrality is against the very people Trump is supposed to be working for and that can't be argued by anyone. The establishment he is supposed to be working against will make great gains from being allowed to control the internet and charge extra money for preferential treatment."

Except you forget there are TWO establishments: the old guard and the new guard. And at this point, battle lines are drawn between them. The old guard represent the likes of Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon: the old communications providers. On the other end you have the likes of Google, Netflix, and Amazon who work "over the top" of the communication providers. Since both sides are striving for the same thing (control over the flow of information), a "war" over it is inevitable, and the divide is pretty stark. The old guard don't want to be relegated to dumb pipes, and the new guard don't want to have to pay tolls on every junction.

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Headmaster

Ambigous, much.

"... as if we were not quite human. We are."

...not quite human? Siamese, if you please? Devo?

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> "BTW you do realise you don't have to read stuff you know will trigger you?"

Quite right. And perhaps this particular article is not all that evil, but I've noticed that nearly every article that carries a strongly anti-Trump slant is a McCarthy piece, and they show up every other day or so, as if he's on a crusade or something. We're talking dozens of them in just the last three months. And always very very negative, particularly when NN is involved.

I do get it, Kieren is pro NN as is his right, but the topic is not as cut and dried as he seems to think. Personally I have no strong opinions on it, but given how Obama forced it on us by fiat and also how Kieren keeps hammering anyone opposed to it, my bullshite detector keeps pegging. So I try to apply a little balance. I could be wrong, sure, but I object to the tactics being used by proponents of the policy, the same way I object to those who call AGW skeptics "deniers."

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Big John: if your aim is to "apply a little balance" and "object to the tactics being used by proponents", then you really need to tailor your attacks better to the content of the piece you're actually responding to. Because strawman attacks aren't going to balance anything.

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BBC Left Wing

"I would suggest the BBC if you require to vent about the left wing liberal media."

Considering how much the left in British politics complain about the treatment of Corbyn by the BBC and the lack of reporting around alledged electoral fraud by Tory MPs, I think calling the BBC a left wing liberal media is a bit of a joke.

The reality is that British TV media can come across as both right wing or left wing dependent on topic or personal bias (and the latter is a big driver).

As for this article, I thought it was very well balanced and as for the comments about fact free statements from key players, well that sounds like politicians on both sides of the Pond to me.

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Net not-so-neutral-ality?

This is a huge thing people forget. People get seduced by "what about the next Netflix? What about the next Google?" so easily that they never stop to think about how they would actually be handled.

Sometimes I see people claim that non-paying websites will be artificially slowed, which is just absurd: as bad as a monopoly is, you can't sell the higher tiers if you don't actually provide speed. The newer argument is that Netflix and Google will have to pay for the enormous bandwidth they use, which is where the "what about the next?" argument comes in.

And here the question has to be raised: will the next Netflix/Google/Facebook actually be as impacted by this as they claim? Or will their modest bandwidth use allow them to grow under the radar until they begin to actually become thought of as the next Netflix/Google/Facebook, while the latter find themselves suddenly beset by competition they already have conquered before it even exists?

TL;DR: We're picking between too sides that want to control the internet and will lie through their teeth to do it.

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Anonymous Coward

Personally I have no strong opinions on it?

I find it hard to believe anyone who uses the Internet can say "Personally I have no strong opinions on Net Neutrality", because either you are very much against NN if you can make huge sums of money out of it at the expense of everyone else, or you are very much in favour of it if you are one of the remaining 99% of us.

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FAIL

I would suggest the BBC if you require to vent about the left wing liberal media.

Ah, good old "biased BBC". The best thing you can say about the bias at the BBC is that the Left think Aunty is biased to the Right, the Right think she is biased to the Left, and the Liberals think they are ignored.

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Re: Net not-so-neutral-ality?

The newer argument is that Netflix and Google will have to pay for the enormous bandwidth they use

This is what happens if you drink the KoolAid; Netflix already pay for their own bandwidth, the ISPs would also like them to pay for the ISPs bandwidth that is used by the ISPs users using Netflix.

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Re: Personally I have no strong opinions on it?

I agree.

I always thought Net Neutrality was an issue of contention between the 99% of users VS the 1% of internet service providers.

You would think (democratically) that the needs of the many would automatically outweigh the wants of the few (especially since the ISPs do not actually "own" the internet, it's certainly not their turf that the 99% majority are accessing).

I suppose so long as the marketplace is fractured & people have options, they will have to keep that in mind if their ISP isn't giving satisfactory service - and as long as all ISPs don't all start working together as an internet access bloc.

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Sure wish El Reg would focus on the tech stuff and cease auto-smearing the US President and all who support him, as if we were not quite human. We are.

Two responses:

1) So are we, but you'd never know it from listening to the right's designated bloviators (including certain posters here...a category you yourself fall into more often than not).

2) Depends on who you ask...

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Re: Personally I have no strong opinions on it?

"You would think (democratically) that the needs of the many would automatically outweigh the wants of the few (especially since the ISPs do not actually "own" the internet, it's certainly not their turf that the 99% majority are accessing)."

Thing is, unlike with the roads, which were mostly built and owned by the government, most of the Internet is owned by private enterprises. If not the ISPs (AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon are all Tier 1 networks), then the providers those ISPs contract for their backhaul.

"I suppose so long as the marketplace is fractured & people have options, they will have to keep that in mind if their ISP isn't giving satisfactory service - and as long as all ISPs don't all start working together as an internet access bloc."

That's the concern here. ALL the major ISPs are colluding together as a cartel. Also note those companies above that ALSO control backhaul. They're the equivalent of the owners of the biggest Interstate highways in the country.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Net not-so-neutral-ality?

"claim that non-paying websites will be artificially slowed, which is just absurd:"

"Claim"? That't reality and your hallucinations don't really matter.

Anyone who believes that a new way to squeeze more money from users for telecom cartel will not be used, is just hallucinating.

That won't happen, ever.

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Re: Net not-so-neutral-ality?

Yes, it's pretty simple really. The ISPs would like you to not get what you are paying for.

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Re: Personally I have no strong opinions on it?

"or you are very much in favour of it if you are one of the remaining 99% of us"

You forgot: Or you are too dumb to understand what's best for you.

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Re: Net not-so-neutral-ality?

"as bad as a monopoly is, you can't sell the higher tiers if you don't actually provide speed"

Easy, they'd stop selling general-purpose higher tiers, and start selling site-specific higher tiers. Or make it like cable TV packages. Oh you want access to Netflix and Amazon Prime video and iTunes video at reasonable speeds? Then you buy the Streaming Video package for $50/month on top of your basic cable internet service.

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Flame

Burning down the Whitehouse to keep warm

Pai could have blamed spying and expensive Internet prices on Obama's collusion with Google while accepting telco bribes to do nothing new about it. He would get his money, he would become the hero of idiots, he'd have lots of spare time, and nobody would get hurt.

It takes a special kind of asshole to set out destroying a pillar of technology for the entire country just because you got promoted in the job you hate doing.

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Big Cable

"with its army of lobbyists and"

whilst on the other side we have tiny boutique operations like, err, Google...

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Re: Big Cable

>whilst on the other side we have tiny boutique operations like, err, Google...

Two wrongs do not make a right. We should be opposing all abuses of power, not excusing them on the basis that google is large and politically powerful too.

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Thumb Up

This article

------- Thanks ------>

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Bigger Government is never the answer

If your goal is a more free internet as a conduit of ideas you do not want more government agencies taking control of want has been a free resource without them. That is something the socialists do not understand, less government = more freedom for the citizens.

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Thumb Up

Re: Bigger Government is never the answer

Right.

Because corporations can always be trusted to regulate themselves. And no corporation has ever tried to take advantage of their position to raise prices beyond what provides them a reasonable profit. Or collude with others in the market to fix prices.

Pull the other one.

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Re: Bigger Government is never the answer

Yeah those Sweeds must be feeling right oppressed now - what with their invasive government, good internet and really high happyness.

The correct answer is 'it's complicated', some governement is good it stops companies taking the piss, to much stifels competition. Blanket x=y statements are never the solution in the real world.

Looking from the other side of the pond to the less regulated America I see nothing that indicates less regulation is good for the proles.

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FAIL

Re: Bigger Government is never the answer

Without regulation a free market is about as likely to persist as a vacuum at sea level.

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Re: Bigger Government is never the answer

"If your goal is a more free internet as a conduit of ideas you do not want more government agencies taking control of want has been a free resource without them."

You do realise that net neutrality is about restricting control by corporations, not taking that control for government, don't you?

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Facepalm

Re: Bigger Government is never the answer

"Yeah those Sweeds must be feeling right oppressed now - what with their invasive government, good internet and really high happyness."

Sweeds? Bork! Bork! Bork!

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Thumb Up

Re: Bigger Government is never the answer

EXACTLY. I happen to *LIKE* what Pai has been doing, which is to UN-DO the SOCIALISM that's been CREEPING into the FCC.

The FCC's job is NOT to regulate content or what is done with that information. The FCC's job is to define standards that allow everyone to "play nice" with one another within a limited context of delivery, from wired to wireless. This includes frequency bands, licensed spectrum, unlicensed spectrum regulations, communication standards and protocols, and things of THAT nature. What is done _WITHIN_ those regulations, i.e. "the content", is NONE! OF! THEIR! BUSINESS! (I'd even go so far as seeing 'decency standards' abolished on pubilc airwaves and cable networks, but the Supreme Court has already made it legal to regulate 'speech' on the basis of 'prurient content' so that would be a difficult case to make these days, even in the name of freedom).

So at the very minimum, we have the FCC crossing over into FTC territory, which should not be allowed. It would only result in confusion and too much gummint bloat. Pai is reversing the regs that step on the FTC's territory, and RIGHTFULLY SO. I say "more of the same, please!"

As for the FTC, what they're already doing with banks and privacy can simply be extended to anyone on the internet that provides a service, such as ISPs and telcos and web sites (and Micro-shaft). Yes, that would probably stop Micro-shaft, Google, and Facebook from abusing your privacy, at least without your explicit consent, and that's the point. The regs belong at the FTC level, not the FCC.

Solve the REAL problem!

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WTF?

Re: Bigger Government is never the answer

"You do realise that net neutrality is about restricting control by corporations, not taking that control for government, don't you?"

Is *THAT* how you *FEEL* (not think) what 'net neutrality' REALLY is about?

You missed the point, then. The ACTUAL regulations were NEVER about that. They were about ENABLING Facebook and Google, and PREVENTING independent providers from offering competitive services for an extra fee (as one example).

yeah, "net neutrality" *FEELS* correct (and is sold through that *kind* of emotional manipulation, like so many OTHER socialist/lefty ideas), but the reality of it is FAR FROM BEING CORRECT.

When you enable packet prioritization for a fee, for example, so long as it only marginally affects the normal flow of unprioritized traffic, the ISPs can use the extra revenue to improve their services overall (which they will). And if they pocket the money, that's their business. Someone took a risk to start and/or invest in that business and THOSE people who risk deserve the rewards reaped from good business.

But it's more likely that a service provider who puts the profits back into the company will compete better, and make more money in the long term. That's what I expect human behavior to be like, not the false (emotion-based) picture of pure greed and world conquest that says otherwise.

Seriously, the whole "net neutrality" thing is all EMOTION-BASED KNEE-JERK TOUCHY FEELY CRAP. As long as the playing field remains level, let people charge whatever the market allows, for whatever services they can, without screwing everybody else over (and then demanding more money, later - stopped by a 'level playing field'), so that the USA [as one example] can get its infrastructure up to the standards of some of the newcomers into the world of the intarwebs, or those with denser populations [where it's not so expensive to lay new fiber lines to everybody's doorstep].

'Net Neutrality' is yet another SOCIALIST philosophy of *FORCING* *EVERYONE* down to the same *MEDIOCRITY*. Thanks, I don't want mediocrity. I want *GREATNESS* !!!

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Re: Bigger Government is never the answer

Government is a tool. Free market economics is also a tool. Simply doing nothing can also be a tool, of a sort. You must pick the appropriate tool to use for each specific problem.

You don't get far if you rule out the use of a specific tool for ideological reasons. You can take a screw out with pliers if you have to, but a screwdriver works a lot better.

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Re: Bigger Government is never the answer

"When you enable packet prioritization for a fee, for example, so long as it only marginally affects the normal flow of unprioritized traffic, the ISPs can use the extra revenue to improve their services overall (which they will)"

No, they won't, because if their non-priority traffic is a good enough service then why would anyone pay for priority? It creates a perverse incentive, in which ISPs soon realise it is in their best interests to refrain from upgrading their network in order to protect the prioritisation revenue.

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Re: Bigger Government is never the answer

"Is *THAT* how you *FEEL* (not think) what 'net neutrality' REALLY is about?"

No. And since that negates the rest of your rant, it being based on the above misconception, I'll not bother to waste time replying to that.

Can I assume that you will all for the new American Technology Council?

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Re: Bigger Government is never the answer

less government = more freedom for the citizens.

As in "more freedom to be owned by unelected big business who only have their profit margin in mind"?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bigger Government is never the answer

"That is something the socialists do not understand, less government = more freedom for the citizens."

You are joking, aren't you?

Less government = More freedoms to corporate cartels to steal and _less_ freedoms for the citizens.

Glaring example: Hollywood and copyright legislation bought by RIAA/MPAA.

Extend that to _everything_ and you get an idea how it would be without government: No freedoms at all, zero, zilch, nada.

Especially no privacy at all.

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Re: Bigger Government is never the answer

"and PREVENTING independent providers from offering competitive services for an extra fee (as one example)."

I call bullshit on this. It exists solely to guarantee that everyone gets what they paid for and if you claim otherwise, you haven't even read the damn paper.

Yet another paid shill, I see.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bigger Government is never the answer

" Free market economics is also a tool."

Except there isn't such thing as 'free market', anywhere: It's a total myth.

Either we have regulation or cartel or both: No other options exist.

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