back to article Republicans go all Braveheart again with anti-net neutrality bill

In the latest display of FCC-Senate two-step dancing, Senate Republicans have proposed new legislation that would eliminate net neutrality rules in America – just days after the federal regulator's chief announced he would fight to do the same. On Monday, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) put forward a law that would kill off the FCC's …

  1. Alistair Silver badge

    *cough*. Ladies and Gentlemen

    Up here in the frigid north, we've done a few of these things, and, well, we've got some suggestions for you. Just, please, ignore the lassies and lads in the AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner shirts. Oh, right. Its not the shirts you're noticing is it Congress....

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. ratfox Silver badge

        Re: *cough*. Ladies and Gentlemen

        Google has been against net neutrality from the start and we have never seen Google not get their way with Washington. Obama was also against it.

        I'm confused. According to the accusations, it's precisely these net neutrality rules (currently being killed) that were written by and for Google, thanks to their cosy relationship with Obama who was giving orders to the FCC. And now you're telling me it's Google who wants to kills these rules?

        1. Big John Silver badge

          Re: *cough*. Ladies and Gentlemen

          Yeah, and supposedly Obama was against NN? In what universe?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Restoring Internet Freedom Act.

    What exactly are these people smoking? It's madness.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      "What exactly are these people smoking? It's madness."

      They're high on the Trumpster and his Government of the People, For the Corporations and by the Corporations. Profit is King long live profit!

    2. AdamWill


      No it's not, at all. It's a perfectly accurate title.

      You'll notice it doesn't specify *whose* freedom it's talking about.

      Its full title is the Restoring Internet( Service Providers') Freedom( To Screw You Over Completely) Act.

      See? Nothing inaccurate there!

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Optional

        In the short term. It lets cable companies throttle Netflix to keep their TV subscribers

        Longer term it lets Google/Facebook/etc roll out their own free network and make ISPs/telcos/cable companies completely redundant.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Optional

          Google already has a private network. Thing is, they have to connect to the Internet SOMEWHERE, and that's where the ISPs will nail them (and some of them like AT&T and Sprint are Tier 1 networks that form the backbone of the Internet—practically unavoidable).

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Optional

            Do they?

            A new free mobile/sat data service lets you connect to Google/Facebook/Amazon/Youtube for free.

            Or your local cable co is charging $100/month for "internet" but blocks/throttles AmazonPrime/Youtube/netflix unless you buy $200/month of cable channels

            Who is going to pay for "internet"

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Optional

              "A new free mobile/sat data service lets you connect to Google/Facebook/Amazon/Youtube for free."

              But how can such a service afford to keep itself in operation? Especially if they use satellites that are unavoidably expensive to send into orbit?

              Take the word "free" with a grain of salt these days. About the only place you'll find a genuinely free lunch is a charity kitchen.

              1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

                Re: Optional

                I think if I was Facebook/Google and I could tell advertisers that the majority of Americans would no longer watch any TV and would only be accessing the net through my site - I could probably scrape together enough money

            2. Orv Silver badge

              Re: Optional

              Mobile and satellite services simply aren't remotely the same thing, although they'll work OK if all you do is web browsing.

              Satellite suffers from severe latency issues -- around 600 ms for geosynchronous systems.

              Mobile is nearly always data capped and throttled, and suffers badly if your neighbors are also using it heavily. I looked at Clearwire's 4G service back before they shut down, but discovered they were totally unsuitable for streaming video.

    3. Mark 85 Silver badge

      It was misnamed...

      this is the Restoring Internet Freedom Corporate Profits Act.


    4. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      What are they smoking?

      It's green and it comes in small baggies ... called "campaign contributions"

    5. Blank Reg Silver badge

      The name is all that matters

      Most people will only see what the bill is called and will never read the contents. The fact that the contents are the opposite of what is implied by the name is irrelevant.

    6. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      politicians will find SOME way to screw it all to hell

      "What exactly are these people smoking?"

      probably the same crap that they refuse to legalize.

      yes. I'm saying they're hypocrites. They're politicians. it means the same thing, more often than not.

      Politicians should just get the hell out of the way. No internet taxing, no regulation beyond protocols [that make it possible to HAVE an internet], and let the FTC decide what the corporations can do for whatever business interests they might have [selling our data, for example]. the FCC is about communications, NOT about regulating content, nor preventing prioritization, nor telling ISPs they can't offer 'different pricing' for various services or service levels [even if that means no overages for approved content], yotta yotta yotta.

      THAT is what this is all about. The FCC should have NEVER tried to regulate "these kinds of things". And it should never try AGAIN. Laws to prevent that from happening are reasonable.

      But you know politicians, they'll find SOME way to screw it all to hell...

      1. Orv Silver badge

        Re: politicians will find SOME way to screw it all to hell

        I would agree with you if there were any meaningful competition in the ISP market. The problem is most ISPs are regional monopolies. I've never lived anywhere where there was more than one truly "high speed" internet provider. (1.2 Mbps DSL does not really count as high speed these days, especially not when you have three people in the house.)

        I'm not sure how you avoid abuses by a monopoly without regulating them. There are no market forces in play to keep them in check. If, say, Cox Cable decided to block Netflix entirely tomorrow, to defend their pay-per-view profits, I'd really have no choice but to suck it up and keep paying them.

  3. Pseu Donyme

    re: "Obama!"

    !Obama morelike?

  4. Palpy

    And I saw you put your tongue --

    -- firmly in cheek:

    "But there is an opportunity in 2017-18 for Congress to work together in a bi-partisan way to update horribly outdated telecom legislation for the internet era and achieve a win-win for both the economy and American citizens."

    Work together in a bi-partisan way! Ha, ha!

    "...update telecom legislation for the internet era..."

    Ho, ho! With the "expertise" shown by legislators in matters internetty? Come ON!

    "...achieve a win-win for the economy and the citizens..."

    Har, har... Jeebus... Stop, you're killing me. The US Congress doesn't work like that.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: And I saw you put your tongue --

      The new meaning of "bi-partisan" in use today means "Republican Party and Freedom Caucus"

  5. Stevie Silver badge


    Republicans slap the word "freedom" on stuff the way repressive regimes slap the word "democratic" on their country names.

    And it produces the same effect in this observer's brain. "Hooray for Opposite Day!"

    1. Alt C

      Re: Bah!

      Perhaps we should re-name it to the Democratic Plutocracy of America?

      1. Swarthy Silver badge
        Big Brother

        Re: Bah!

        Going by that logic, maybe we should re-brand. "The People's Democratic Republic of The USA" seems to raise all of the appropriate red flags, while removing all meaning from "USA".

  6. Someone Else Silver badge

    Self-aggrandizement Central

    Otherwise known as the US Senate.

    This is simply puffery, because the Repo's in the Senate do not have the votes to pass this over a filibuster, and they know it. But the Republicans are known for never passing up an opportunity for vapid posturing, and this is surely one.


    1. The_Idiot

      Re: Self-aggrandizement Central

      @Someone Else

      Ah, yes. The Filibuster. From @realDonaldTrump:

      "The reason for the plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there! We...."

      "either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good "shutdown" in September to fix mess!"

      Sigh.... I wonder if he's even considered that if he did change the rules that way, he'd be changing them for every future Senate as well - including ones he might not want to have that sort of power.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: Self-aggrandizement Central

        Given that democrats only need to flip three seats in 2018, changing the rules to 51 for everything could mean that he gets nothing he wants in the second half of his term.

        It will already guarantee that if democrats take back the senate any Supreme Court seats that open up will remain unfilled. After republicans played their dirty trick to 'steal' that seat from Obama, you can bet with 100% confidence that democrats would do the same to Trump - who applauded the move before but would surely unleash a storm of angry tweets the minute it is done to him!

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Self-aggrandizement Central

          Only one problem. 33 seats are at stake in 2018. Only 8 are held by Republicans. 25 are held by Democrats. The risk surface for them is MUCH higher for the Democrats.

          As for the potential Supreme Court vacancies, most of the retiring seats are conservatives. Kennedy's already making noises about stepping down. Odds are they'll all retire during the current Congress to ensure conservative replacements.

  7. veti Silver badge


    It makes perfect sense. Because the Protecting Internet Freedom Act 2016 failed (because Obama, naturally), now they need to Restore Internet Freedom.

    You can accuse Congress of a lot of things - ho boy, a lot of things - but on this particular issue, there are at least being completely consistent. They were grandstanding jerks in 2015, in 2016, and now, with Hurricane Donald blowing away the cobwebs in sleazy old DC, they're jerks who are into grandstanding.

  8. Boohoo4u

    Trust us. We're Congress and here to protect your Freedom.

    Why aren't we buying it? Well it doesn't really help small business, but instead toll gate internet monopolies.

    It doesn't help the public either...

    So, color us suspicious...

    I'm all for reforms, especially those that simply rules/regulations. But, what they're talking about is changing the winners and losers of regulations. And one of the losers, is I Joe Public.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real message is...

    "This is about the freedom of large corporations to continue their attack on low profit margins and those pesky regulations that only get in the way of screwing over the end-user in new and innovative ways!" -- Chairman Pai "Say-dung"

    Well, I have another plan. I'm going to charge large corporations way too much money for my services, or lack thereof, as I am an self-incorporated, to make up for these discrepancies. Then hide all my traffic in Tor, or obfuscate it for "marketing purposes," or just randomly inject garbage traffic in it, so my ISP can analyze that.

    "It's the government this time," you say? Let me adjust my taxes and craft some rather outrageous write-downs, and then I too can play; "corporations are people too, just like people were!" There, I fixed it for me. Watch me write off a fucking PlayStation 4! :P

    1. james 68

      Re: The real message is...

      Writing off a PS4 is easy.

      It's an "Internet connected market analysis tool for research into entertainment and social trends" or it can be covered under medical as a "device for stress relief and depression treatment through roleplay and social interaction".

      Even the games could technically be covered under either of those headings.

      1. Blank Reg Silver badge

        Re: The real message is...

        Just put VR in your company name and you're good to go. I'm working on VR at the moment so I get to claim all kinds of toys as legitimate expenses

    2. Orv Silver badge

      Re: The real message is...

      If Trump's proposed corporate tax changes go through, many people will want to be corporations. He's proposing a flat 15% corporate tax rate -- critically, this includes pass-through corporations. The average taxpayer pays a 19.8% effective tax rate*, so funneling money through an LLC to get that 15% rate starts to look attractive. This essentially amounts to a backdoor tax cut for wealthy people who currently are in the 35% or 39.6% marginal tax brackets.

      * This average is skewed heavily by high-income earners; the median wage in the US is about $30,000, which ends up with an effective tax rate of more like 13% before deductions.

  10. Ole Juul Silver badge

    Getting rid of FCC chair Ajit Pai

    will generate billions of dollars of new economic activity and millions of jobs, largely free of government's heavy hand.

    I mean, if no proof is required, then I can say stuff too.

  11. Winkypop Silver badge

    Festering swamp rats!

    Why is America lead by such utter asshats?

    (rhetorical question)

    1. Simon Ward

      Re: Festering swamp rats!

      Easy ... Trumperdink has completed his plan to 'drain the swamp'. As such, the 'Murricans are left with the pond-life like Pai, Mnuchin, Tillerson who are thrashing around at the bottom.

    2. Blank Reg Silver badge

      Re: Festering swamp rats!

      The root of the problem is two fold, no term limits and the ruling that corporations are people too.

      No term limits means you have lifers in government with no real skills, so their only goal is to get re-elected, if they happen to achieve something useful along the way that's purely by accident.

      The second one though is the bigger issue. Campaign funding is out of control. Corporations and individuals dumping millions into the pockets of legislators under the excuse of "free speech" can only lead to corruption and cronyism. Outlaw corporate donations, do away with super pacs and all the other ways they use to funnel money into campaigns. Limit each registered voter to a maximum $1000 donation per election, that's it. no more, no back door financial shenanigans. The benefits would be "yuge"! Elections wouldn't last 2 years because no one could afford it, and corporations and lobbyists would have greatly reduced influence over government.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Festering swamp rats!

        You forget most campaign donations are already INDIRECT and virtually impossible to pin down to any one candidate. If a campaign ads talks of nothing but issues, there's no legal way to pin the "donation" to anyone. Plus there's the non-cash donations and donations to parties and sympathizers. They've been playing the shell games for centuries and at the end can hide behind the First Amendment freedom of speech, which SCOTUS has repeatedly ruled that political speech has a particular emphasis (thus why campaign calls are immune from Do Not Call and why flag burning is protected).

        The problem is intractable. You can't remove the bullhorns without running afoul of the Constitution. The only practical solution will throw up specters of the S-word and take us back to the Red Scare (in a country founded on DIStrust of government but also aware of things like the Gilded Age and The Jungle). It would also require an Amendment.

        1. Blank Reg Silver badge

          Re: Festering swamp rats!

          Well SCOTUS got it wrong, there is no need to change the constitution, it's only the interpretation that is wrong.Who in their right mind would believe that when the constitution was written that they intended corporations to have the same rights as actual people?

          And while some would argue that limiting contributions infringes on their free speech, it can also be argued that allowing unlimited contributions impinges on the free speech of those without the means to buy politicians.

          Despite the second amendment, you can't go out and buy your own nukes, surface to air missiles etc. There are reasonable limitations for the greater good. There is no reason the same thinking can't be applied to campaign contributions.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: Festering swamp rats!

            "Well SCOTUS got it wrong, there is no need to change the constitution, it's only the interpretation that is wrong."

            You forget the concept of judicial precedent. SCOTUS goes back to previous decisions to base more modern decisions. Plus the courts are usually conservative. Therefore, if tradition states that political speech should be protected for good or ill, the only way around it is to BREAK tradition, and if the courts represent tradition, it's up to the other two branches to break it (and by the Constitution, that usually falls to Congress by way of the Amendment process).

            "And while some would argue that limiting contributions infringes on their free speech, it can also be argued that allowing unlimited contributions impinges on the free speech of those without the means to buy politicians."

            But it's the politicians who can determine (by Bills and Acts) what is what. Vicious cycle. As for buying politicians, whatever happened to marches on Washington like in the 60's?

            "Despite the second amendment, you can't go out and buy your own nukes, surface to air missiles etc."

            Actually, the ONLY thing stopping you is the price tag, for the most part. People can and do own TANKS (maybe not the munitions, but that's another matter). And I do believe it is possible to acquire a Stinger (a man-portable SAM) after-market for five figures.

          2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: Festering swamp rats!

            >Despite the second amendment, you can't go out and buy your own nukes,

            Finally something all republicans can get behind the president on

            These unfair waiting periods for evil supervillians to buy doomsday weapons are unconstitutional

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Black Helicopters

        Re: Festering swamp rats!

        "Outlaw corporate donations, do away with super pacs and all the other ways they use to funnel money into campaigns"

        that would actually hurt the DEMO-RATS the most. Because THEN, corporate donors like Micro-shaft, Google, and... GEORGE SOROS's many "non-profits", wouldn't be able to keep the socialists in power over at the Demo-Rat party HQ. Then again, maybe THAT swamp draining would be a good start.

        the unfortunate reality is that by limiting the contributions of INDIVIDUALS, these "super pac" corporations were formed. That was part of "campaign finance reform", which obviously was NOT "reform". It helped to empower those who could 'work the system' through such non-profit corporations, as well as empowering organizations like labor unions.

        So who do you blame? GUMMINT!

      3. Orv Silver badge

        Re: Festering swamp rats!

        The root of the problem is two fold, no term limits and the ruling that corporations are people too.

        I'm going to disagree with half of that. For many years I lived in a state that had term limits. (Michigan, if you're curious.) The main result was a lot of power consolidated in the hands of lobbyists. Unlike the term-limited representatives, they had continuity and knew how things worked. By the time an elected representative had the knowledge to be really effective without lobbyists holding their hand, they were term limited out.

        Governing effectively is an incredibly complicated task that must be learned on the job, and I don't think punishing people for learning it improves anything. If pilots were term-limited to eight years I'd be a lot more reluctant to fly.

    3. Orv Silver badge

      Re: Festering swamp rats!

      Why is America lead by such utter asshats?

      A deep current of anti-intellectualism.

      Knowing things is actually considered a disqualification for holding office. People don't like to elect people that they think are looking down on them, or that seem potentially smart enough to put one over on them. Anyone who is an expert in a field is seen as having an "agenda," because the very idea that facts exist is now political.

      The highest compliment a US presidential candidate can be paid is "he seems like someone I'd like to have a beer with." This is why both George W. Bush and Trump did so well, and why it was such a campaign disaster when Al Gore came off like a college professor.

      If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stomping on a nerd's glasses - forever.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Festering swamp rats!

        So if there's a choice between getting things done so we don't look like inefficient idiots and looking good, we'd rather all be idiots.

  12. LDS Silver badge

    If the Internet is not telecommunications...

    ... what is it? Just a data trove for companies and government?

    And actually more money customers and small companies have to pay for access, will mean less jobs, and US may become a toxic environment to start a new company needing Internet access....

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: If the Internet is not telecommunications...

      Got it in one.

    2. hellwig Silver badge

      Re: If the Internet is not telecommunications...

      ... it's a series of tubes.

  13. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Along those lines

    I'd like to introduce the "Restoring Congressional Wealth Act." It fixes some regulation for conflicts of interest that might appear to be bribes. I mean, just check out that awesome title and sign it.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019