back to article FCC boss Ajit defends axing net neutrality by… attacking Cher

Ajit Pai – the head of America's broadband watchdog, the FCC – has responded to widespread criticism of his plan to tear up net neutrality safeguards by… mocking celebrity tweets. Perhaps we shouldn't expect more in the era of President Trump where Twitter spats replace policy debate and strawmen strangle analysis, but even so …

  1. conscience

    Not sure if Pai is genuinely an idiot, has political ambitions, or has taken a bribe from the cable companies, but hopefully he's not going to get away with this.

    1. Youngone Silver badge

      He's a lawyer who has worked in various insider roles in Washington, so he might very well have political ambitions.

      He is almost certainly not an idiot however and I'm sure he knows exactly what he's up to.

      If he doesn't get some sort of safe Republican seat somewhere I'm sure he will be doing well from "consulting" fees from some communications industry body or other.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      d) all of the above

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        but wait, there's more!

        all of the above does not imply that there are no more valid options.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge

      I actually agree with some of the things Pai is talking about, aka the biased filtering and handling of "certain topics" and "certain political ads" by content providers. The examples he provides are just 'one of many' as I understand it, and NOT "straw men".

      Pai's position is generally consistent iwth mine, DE-regulating at the FCC. The fact that the FCC should not have the *kinds* of jurisdictional powers that are covered by the misnomer of "net neutrality" is a part of this.

      For things like 'paid packet prioritization', I think packet prioritization SHOULD happen. I also think that it should be limited, so that it doesn't adversely affect NORMAL traffic. Maybe the FCC can regulate the portion of traffic that can be prioritized [that would be reasonable] so as to prevent normal service from being pre-empted. But outright BANNING it?

      There are already "multiple levels" of service, and you typically pay MORE for the better service. Competition makes this happen. Prioritization (or lack of it) could easily become a competition issue, and not something for governments to control wtih a heavy hand.

      I still think that much of this argument started with the torrent downloaders of pirated content... and their allegations that ISPs were filtering and/or throttling the torrent uploads.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        That could work IF the internet providers were only allowed to sell internet connections.

        But getting your internet from a cable company that is losing cable TV customers to Netflix/Amazon and then allowing them to control your access to Netflix/Amazon .....

      2. Brandon 2

        I agree too. It sounds like he's trying to reduce the level of regulation by the FCC, which I generally agree with. The problem is that the ISP's are basically monopolies using their market share to influence policy and restrict competition. Just ask Google how hard it is to get a permit in Atlanta, GA when Comcast has the ear (and wallets) of those that grant the permits. They're giving up. You don't solve one problem by creating 10 more, and I think that's what the "internet" is afraid of. If you take away the regulation of the ISP's, they're afraid Comcast (who doesn't give a shit about customers) will run amuck and restrict access to content. They already throttle the heck out of sites... but so does Google. No easy answer here.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          They already throttle the heck out of sites... but so does Google

          Out of interest, how do you think that Google is throttling sites?

      3. JohnFen Silver badge

        "aka the biased filtering and handling of "certain topics" and "certain political ads" by content providers."

        Fine, but those things have literally nothing to do with net neutrality. Net neutrality is about internet service providers, not content providers. Those are two very, very different things. That's what makes them straw men in the NN debate. This is part of the many lies the FCC has been uttering on this issue: they are conflating internet service providers with content providers.

        "I think packet prioritization SHOULD happen"

        And it does, and almost nobody has an issue with it. The issue is what basis it's done on. Prioritizing packets according to the type of data they contain? That's fine and is standard practice -- and net neutrality doesn't impact that. NN is about prioritizing packets based on who they're coming from or going to, not based on what sort of data they contain.

        "Competition makes this happen."

        Except that, for a huge portion of the US, there is no competition at all. If there were, there wouldn't be such a need for net neutrality rules.

        "I still think that much of this argument started with the torrent downloaders of pirated content"

        There were a number of instances where ISPs were interfering with legal and legitimate traffic, not just around torrents (and you do understand that an awful lot of torrent traffic is legal and legitimate, right?) The anti-neutrality people keep saying that there has been no abuse on the part of the ISPs, but that's simply a bald-faced lie. It was that abuse that started the push for NN in the first place.

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Prioritizing packets according to the type of data they contain? That's fine and is standard practice

          Indeed. VoIP being one thing where it's very good that packets are prioritised.

  2. Schultz

    He's a lawyer...

    so he argues his points. Unfortunately, there is no judge to call him out on his off-topic nonsense arguments.

    1. DNTP

      Re: He's a lawyer...

      He's supposed to be: The judge, impartially deciding the best public policy direction for the FCC.

      He imagines himself as: A cable industry shill, heroically fighting the interests of the public.

      He is actually: The Trump cabal's asshole of the moment, who for some reason still gets Supreme Judge powers.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: He's a lawyer...

      With the first ever use of the "Wookie Offense"

      If Cher means the internet shouldn't be open and Wookies live on Endor makes no sense then you must convict

  3. Dimmer

    We are the goverment, Listen to what we say, not what we do.....

    If I understand what I am reading from the "FCC 15-24 REPORT AND ORDER ON

    REMAND, DECLARATORY RULING, AND ORDER - Mar 12 2015 (Net neutrality)" it is a bait and switch. They told us they were going to prevent carriers from degrading content providers, but not so if I read the reg correctly. It was about regulating the internet.


    But this Order does not apply the open Internet rules to interconnection. Three factors are critical in informing this approach to interconnection First, the nature of Internet traffic, driven by massive consumption of video, has challenged traditional arrangements—placing more emphasis on the

    use of CDNs or even direct connections between content providers (like Netflix or Google) and last-mile broadband providers. Second, it is clear that consumers have been subject to degradation resulting from commercial disagreements,perhaps most notably in a series of disputes between Netflix and large lastmile broadband providers. But, third, the causes of past disruption and—just as importantly—the potential for future degradation through interconnection disputes—are reflected in very different narratives in the record.


    While we have more than a decade’s worth of experience with last-mile practices, we lack a similar depth of background in the Internet traffic exchange context. Thus, we find that the best

    approach is to watch, learn, and act as required, but not intervene now, especially not with prescriptive rules. This Order—for the first time—provides authority to consider claims involving interconnection, a process that is sure to bring greater understanding to the Commission."

  4. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Can it get worse?

    This {expletive deleted} has raised corruption and deceit to, and beyond an art form.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Restoring internet freedom will lead to better, faster, and cheaper broadband"

    Pai aims to become the first Minister of Truth...

    1. Solmyr ibn Wali Barad

      Re: "Restoring internet freedom will lead to better, faster, and cheaper broadband"

      Also aiming to beat all records set by Baghdad Bob.

  6. tempemeaty

    War against the population. War against freedom. Profit.

    Pai is a corporate-globalist who wants to restrict the freedom/access of/to open discussion and collaboration by the population over the internet communication system. It's all about population, information control and profiteering (think toll roads). Only way to prevent the asshat from doing this is to force Pai out of the office stat. Anyone got any dirt on this jerk that can be released to the public? Any connections with Russia that can be used to force this idiot out with?

  7. DougS Silver badge

    Pai logic

    Federal regulation of internet service providers = bad

    Federal regulation of internet services like Twitter = sounds like something he is arguing for?

    States rights are also out the window as the "deregulation" adds new regulations to prevent states from enacting regulations of their own. Because states rights are only good if states do what conservatives want, otherwise states rights are bad. (To be fair, liberals are equally hypocritical, as they tend to prefer federal regulations that take precedence over state regulations, except when the federal government regulations aren't what they want)

  8. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    On one hand

    You have a president who claims truth is what he says it is, and a free press is the "enemy of the people." On the other hand, you have the Minister of Information Head of the FCC claiming that regulating the free flow of information is desirable. Wow. If this were true, it wouldn't look good for the Land of the Free. I think the word I'm looking for is "Totalitarian."

  9. fishman

    Better faster broadband

    The problem with getting better faster broadband is that most Mericans only have one broadband provider available. Around a quarter have two, and onlty a few percent have more than two. Capitalism doesn't work with monopolies, and poorly with duopolies, so Pai's claims are pretty meaningless.

  10. sloshnmosh

    Word ford word...

    "FACT: Restoring internet freedom will lead to better, faster, and cheaper broadband for consumers and give startups that need priority access (such as telehealth applications) the chance to offer new services to consumers."

    These are the exact words used by then president Clinton when he enacted the disastrous Telecommunications act of 1996:

    PRESIDENT CLINTON: “For the past three years, my administration has promoted the enactment of a telecommunications reform bill to stimulate investment, promote competition, provide open access for all citizens to the Information Superhighway, strengthen and improve universal service and provide families with technologies to help them control what kind of programs come into their homes over television. As a result of this (act), consumers will receive the benefits of lower prices, better quality and greater choice in their television and cable services, and they will continue to benefit from a diversity of voices and viewpoints in radio, television and the print media.”

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