back to article FCC: Oh no, deary me. What a shame. Too bad, so sad we can't do net neutrality appeal during the US govt shutdown

America's broadband watchdog, the FCC, has asked the courts to postpone an appeal against its net neutrality repeal out of "an abundance of caution" due to the partial US government shutdown. The Washington DC court hearing the appeal has stated it will continue operating until January 25, at which point it will run out of …

  1. DougS Silver badge

    While I agree the speaker of the house shouldn't leave the US

    In the middle of a government shutdown, it was pretty petty on Trump's part to cancel her transport. If he wasn't such a dolt, he would have let her go and take all the well-deserved negative criticism from those affected by the shutdown. Public opinion is not on his side, but something like that might have been able to sway it in his favor.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: While I agree the speaker of the house shouldn't leave the US

      Petty? I think that fits. If I recall correctly from all the media hype and mixed messages, he's taken a trip or two on AF1 for what some would call "campaign" purposes. But for her to try to do such a trip was just plain stupid on her part. No one is taking the high road nor being a statesman. It's all petty politics with the citizens and those laid off as the pawns.

      Seems we have a dysfunctional government these days much like some other countries. Wish the children running things (here in the US and elsewhere) would either grow up or go sit in the naughty corner.

    2. Someone Else Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: While I agree the speaker of the house shouldn't leave the US

      But of course, it was quite all right for Melanoma...er..., Melania to take Air Force transport from Washington to West Palm Beach to vacation at Mar y Lago...on that very same day.

      Fuckwit!

    3. stiine

      Re: While I agree the speaker of the house shouldn't leave the US

      Or, as somewhere suggested, let them get to Afganistan or Greece and then revoke the authorization and the plane.

  2. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Stop

    Please explain: why do we NEED this so-called "net neutrality" again?

    because I don't see it being anything OTHER than a gummint takeover of private industry, to "solve" a non-existent problem

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Please explain: why do we NEED this so-called "net neutrality" again?

      If everyone had a clear choice of ISPs offering similar speeds and facilities, it'd not be an issue since any slowdowns or service prioritisation which adversely affected customers would simply result in customers jumping ship to whoever was being the least dickish/greedy. But for much of the US, there is only one practical choice for an ISP so users at their mercy to take it or leave it. If the only ISP in your area decides to start charging pay services like Netflix for access, and then charging the users to make sure their Netflix access isn't de-prioritised, who are you going to switch to or complain to?

      1. Big John Silver badge

        Re: Please explain: why do we NEED this so-called "net neutrality" again?

        Some US customers have only one choice due to remote geography, but most are that way because of local political corruption preventing true competition. The solution is not to socialize the system but to stop the corruption.

        But it's ever so much easier to enact a top-down federal takeover than do the hard work of rooting out corrupt political arrangements. It also furthers certain peoples' agendas much better.

        1. jmch Silver badge

          Re: Please explain: why do we NEED this so-called "net neutrality" again?

          "The solution is not to socialize the system but to stop the corruption"

          You skip right over the part where it's the FCC itself that refuses to regulate properly to promote competition because under Pai it is itself a centre of corruption.

          Not to mention nobody is 'socialising' anything, just mandating a minimum level of service. Like it or not, internet service is now as much a utility as running water and electricity. ISPs should be pushing bits from point to point, not picking and choosing what to pass on.

        2. Gene Cash Silver badge

          Re: Please explain: why do we NEED this so-called "net neutrality" again?

          > Some US customers have only one choice due to remote geography

          No, most customers have only one choice, and it has nothing to do with geography.

          Until 2 years ago, when AT&T finally got off its butt and did a build-out, I had just Spectrum for internet, and I'm in Orlando, Florida, which is about as non-remote-geography as you can get. I hear similar things from a friend in Phoenix, Arizona, where he has Comcast... and that's it.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Please explain: why do we NEED this so-called "net neutrality" again?

          "The solution is not to socialize the system but to stop the corruption."

          I know anything with the root "social" in it is anathema to many Americans, but a supposedly "free market" can't work amidst the corruption you mention or the powerful monopolies in many areas. Sometimes, regulation is the only answers. See the "Robber Barons". Regulation of the "free market" is not socialism.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Please explain: why do we NEED this so-called "net neutrality" again?

            > a supposedly "free market"

            That depends on your interpretation of the term.

            To most of us that means "free and fair competiton, where cartel and monopoly behaviour is illegal"

            To others it means "free to win, by any and all means available"

            There are an awful lot of people who like to pretend that the Sherman Act never existed and a lot of laws have been passed at state and district levels to nullify its intent and effects - which is why the mess that exists, exists now.

            AT&T had legislated local monpolies as part of the 1930s antitrust settlements with the FCC which lasted right up to 1982 (the breakup of Ma Bell), but what that breakup actually achieved was the reformation of AT&T to a size which the FCC couldn't intervene with (2 companies, east and west of the Mississippi), without that pesky "universal service" obligation, thanks to backdoor agreements and legislation changes with state PUCs. The same thing happened with cable TV companies, which started as local monopolies and then joined up in the same way that AT&T expanded at the end of the 19th century (and which led to the 1930s antitrust trials in the first place)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Please explain: why do we NEED this so-called "net neutrality" again?

        Forget it, Bombastic Bob is a commie who thinks that state-supported monopolies are the way to go. No reasoning with those.

        1. Big John Silver badge

          Re: Please explain: why do we NEED this so-called "net neutrality" again?

          Trying to reason with one-dimensional name-callers is pretty hard too.

    2. Comments are attributed to your handle

      Re: Please explain: why do we NEED this so-called "net neutrality" again?

      We've explained it many times to you and BJ, you just don't bother to listen.

      1. Big John Silver badge

        Re: Please explain: why do we NEED this so-called "net neutrality" again?

        I could say the same about you. I'm in the minority here, but this forum is not representative of the public in general, and elsewhere it would be you on the defensive, not me.

        I would prefer to argue points. Many here do that, and they sometimes make me re-consider my own position, but some just shake their fingers and basically tell me to shut up. THAT is what I don't bother to listen to.

        1. Comments are attributed to your handle
          Thumb Up

          Re: Please explain: why do we NEED this so-called "net neutrality" again?

          Respectfully, I think online forums are a terrible place to try and have a debate.

    3. Palpy

      Re: Why "net neutrality?" Simples.

      1. It is not the job of any corporation to evaluate and act for the public good. It is their job to make the largest possible profit for owners and shareholders.

      Obvious corollary: corporations will always act against the public good when there is profit in doing so.

      Historically, this is accurate. Phillip Morris' decades-long attempts to keep customers from knowing that cigs are really cancer sticks is an obvious example. Ditto Ethyl Corporation's decades-long attempts to hide the neurotoxic effects of the lead exhausted from tetra-ethyl anti-knock gasoline. Corporations running phone services made money selling customers private information without customer approval or knowledge. Congress told them, "That's wrong and bad, stop doing it." The corporations agreed to stop. But they did not stop selling private info, because it makes more profit for them. And so on.

      2. It is, in the US, the job of the government to safeguard the public good. (All citizens have rights, and "Governments are instituted among men ... to safeguard these rights".)

      Logical conclusion: since it is known that corporations will violate the public good in order to profit, and since it is the job of governments to safeguard that same public good, then it is prudent for governments to make rules proactively to forestall erosion of the public good -- say, by selectively throttling customer's internet access based on payments from content providers.

      That's why.

      1. Big John Silver badge

        Re: Why "net neutrality?" Simples.

        > "Corporations will always act against the public good when there is profit in doing so."

        I'd say "usually," but you have a point. However, if a corporation is perceived to be acting against the public good, will that not affect their profits? You appear to be assuming they can act in perfect secrecy when we know that isn't the case.

        So there is a legitimate alternative to top-down government control, at least in theory. In fact, isn't this sort of public shaming of corporations a primary tool of politics because it IS so effective? I put it to you that NN is being pushed for reasons other than the stated ones, and they are mostly political in nature, not of the "gouge the public" sort.

        Further, I assert that NN and other proposals of the kind are made because some people find it much easier to envision fast and effective change via government fiat, rather than grassroots organizing and bottom-up efforts. Note that while there are some good arguments for NN, there is no real public call for it, just a lot of loud political activism, much of it engendered by the large tech companies that stand to profit from it handsomely.

        1. JohnFen Silver badge

          Re: Why "net neutrality?" Simples.

          "if a corporation is perceived to be acting against the public good, will that not affect their profits?"

          Not when they're an effective monopoly that is providing an essential service.

        2. Palpy

          Re: @ Big John

          Yes... I would probably write corporations will "nearly always" act against the public good in order to maximize profits, not "usually". But good point: there are some corporations which have actually behaved well in that respect.

          But: "In fact, isn't this sort of public shaming of corporations a primary tool of politics because it IS so effective?"

          It isn't effective. Tobacco smoking and lung cancer were linked by the late 1950s. Remember when Philip Morris finally admitted that tobacco smoking can cause cancer? October 3, 1999. Of course the public shaming involved -- being shown to be promoting a product which kills human beings -- caused them to stop advertising cigarettes.

          Not!

          Wherever it is legal to do so, Philip Morris continues, in 2019, to advertise cancer sticks. Even next to schools and in youth venues.

          And repeated public shaming has certainly caused Facebook to stop gathering and selling user's data, hasn't it?

          Again: Not!

          Public shaming doesn't stand a chance against the lure of profit.

          Even laws have a hard time of it. Corporations often evade regulation in order to increase profits. You'll recall that the the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement and the Coast Guard compiled a report on the Deep Horizon oil spill, and found that BP had broken seven separate regulations which should have prevented or mitigated the disaster. Complying with safety and hazard-mitigation regulations already in place would have cost BP money. And so they didn't.

          Now, whether an ISP should profit from throttling customer traffic for Hulu and greasing the speeds for Netflix, because Netflix coughed up the proper protection money, is less about public safety than was Union Carbide's failures at Bhopal. "Public good" is a moving target. Once it was about rural electrification, and then about interstate highways. Maybe it is now about the internet?

          Whatever. I use very little bandwidth, and it amuses me to imagine Comcast as Doug Dinsdale -- "Noice streaming movie sarvice ya got thur, be a shame if it got throttled or sumpin'..."

        3. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Why "net neutrality?" Simples.

          "However, if a corporation is perceived to be acting against the public good, will that not affect their profits?"

          When the corporation is the only supplier of the goods or services in question - no.

          This may change when LEO internet becomes a "thing" - I see the biggest shakeups happening in the USA and in "repressive regeimes" - probably more in the former than the latter and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see attempts in the USA to make use of satellite services illegal in certain areas - some companies really are that narrowmindedly dogged in the pursuit of protecting their monopolies that they'll risk the Streisand effect on themselves and the legislators who enable them in order to keep it.

    4. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Please explain: why do we NEED this so-called "net neutrality" again?

      If my ISP, Sky, owned by Comcast, were to prioritise their own streaming service NowTV over Netflix, people would just move to another ISP that gave better Netflix performance. So they don’t, and also NowTV has to compete on price and content over Netflix and Amazon Prime.

      In the US, if you are with Comcast, you likely don’t have any other choice.

    5. JohnFen Silver badge

      Re: Please explain: why do we NEED this so-called "net neutrality" again?

      Since there is no competitive market in the ISP space, there is no market pressure to keep ISPs from abusing their customers, and there are numerous cases of such abuse. It seems reasonable for the government to protect the citizenry from abusive corporations when nothing else restrains them.

    6. martinusher Silver badge

      Re: Please explain: why do we NEED this so-called "net neutrality" again?

      It prevents ISPs from slicing and dicing your network traffic so that you have to pay extra for the stuff you want to access. It also prevents them from degrading things they don't like (such as sites that are critical of the FCC). Net neutrality also cements the role of the ISP as a common carrier -- they're supposed to provide the plumbing, not look at what its carrying.

      Its a "Through the Looking Glass" mindset that can position absence of regulation as government intrusion but its actually quite the fashion these days.

    7. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Please explain: why do we NEED this so-called "net neutrality" again?

      "a gummint takeover of private industry"

      gummint sanctioned and legislated local monoply private industry

      This has always been the point that septics miss. Private interests never say boo when government does what it likes (giving them a local license to print money) but complain bitterly when the same government adds some conditions and restraints on said license to print money.

      There isn't much difference between the USA and most shithole 3rd world crony kleptocracies when you start looking under the covers.

    8. rcp27

      Re: Please explain: why do we NEED this so-called "net neutrality" again?

      Regulation is needed where you have a market failure. Let's see, wikipedia for Free Market: "Conditions that must exist for unregulated markets to behave as "free markets" are summarized at perfect competition. An absence of any of these perfect competition ideal conditions is a market failure." So let's follow that link to "perfect competition": "There is a set of market conditions which are assumed to prevail ... These conditions include ... A large number of buyers and sellers ... No barriers to entry or exit". Nope, no "perfect competition" there, so no Free Market.

  3. Kiwi Silver badge
    Coat

    How long?

    How long before some crappy movie has the line "But everybody hates Pai!"?

    1. Come to the Dark Side

      Re: How long?

      "How long before some crappy movie has the line "But everybody hates Pai!"?"

      What you need for Pai is some cool hwip...

  4. OopsSorryMyBad...

    "... but only if President Trump ends the deadlock."

    A partial lie. An untruth if you will. Trump can indeed end the deadlock, but, so can the demo-rats in Congress. However, I would expect nothing but the above quote from our esteemed reporter in San Francisco.

    The world is not going to end if this appeal is delayed a bit. Be honest, the FCC only implemented "net neutrality" at the behest of the Obama administration. Before that it was pretty much hands-off. For better or worse, depends on who you ask. My personal belief is that the "pipe providers" shouldn't be allowed to be "content providers". A company can be either one or the other, but not both. As far as I can see, implement that simple rule and the problem will sort itself out.

    Now, Pelosi wanted a free (or at least very cheap) ride on a military aircraft. It's well within Trump's authority to say "no". Besides, she's one of the richest women in the US and can easily afford to pay for the flight herself. Which she most certainly has the right to do. She just wants to pitch a public fit. An extension, if you will, of the tantrum they've been throwing ever since they lost the presidential election. Sort of like what some accuse Trump of doing. If the reporting were honest, they'd point this out. But, you know, San Francisco...

    1. LordHighFixer

      well one thing

      "pipe providers" shouldn't be allowed to be "content providers". A company can be either one or the other, but not both.

      That is the only thing in your post I don't take issue with. I actually agree.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: well one thing

        The problem there is the Law of Unintended Consequences, and not forgetting Feature Creep. It's asking for a ban on vertical integration, albeit in a very specific area. What happens when others start calling for the same in other areas?

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "Now, Pelosi wanted a free (or at least very cheap) ride on a military aircraft. It's well within Trump's authority to say "no". Besides, she's one of the richest women in the US and can easily afford to pay for the flight herself. Which she most certainly has the right to do. "

      She probably could afford it, but she can't go now anyway now Trump has told every terrorist in the world her itinerary. If anyone did that to Trump he'd call them a traitor. It's all a bit childish, but that last stunt was another step too far.

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      "Trump can indeed end the deadlock, but, so can the demo-rats in Congress."

      Only by completely abandoning a position they believe is right. Usually, it's possible to negotiate a resolution to this sort of thing, but in this case, Trump is the one who is refusing to negotiate.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "Trump is the one who is refusing to negotiate."

        The thing is, there's nothing to negotiate in terms of The Wall. It's yes or no. The Dems can't part fund it and Trump can't accept less than the full amount based on their current positions. One side or the other has to back down and either forget it, or get something else in exchange.

        Having said that, Trumps campaign promise was that US tax payers would not have to pay for The Wall, so Trump is the one breaking the promise and putting new and unexpected demands on the tax payer. The Dems are just trying to assist him in keeping is promise of no taxation for The Wall.

        1. martinusher Silver badge

          >The thing is, there's nothing to negotiate in terms of The Wall. It's yes or no.

          Its been a bit more complex than that. The original funding bill was passed by both House and Senate back when they were under Republican control and Trump was all set to sign them until a media campaign by some high profile right wingers caught his attention. He's been moving the goalposts since then, pointing the finger at Pelosi and Schumer in the process (McConnell is missing in action). There is actually a significant amount of funding for border security in the funding bill, its not specifically for The Wall but there's enough to build, upgrade and repair significant sections of it. Trump has increased his demands and dug his heels in, "Proud to shut down the government" is the quote on TV. As for getting the Mexicans to pay for it, that's not going to happen unless you're a believer in contorted reasoning (however, as things stand it would need Mexican cement and Chinese steel -- problematical?)

          The problem that Pelosi has is that if you cave into these unconstitutional demands its only a matter of time before you get the same tantrum -- its the kind of behavior you expect from toddlers, not adults.

          Its also very similar to the problem that the UK has with Brexit. There's a very vocal group of politicians who want the UK to crash out of the EU on March 29th., something that will be good for Disaster Capitalists but probably not very good for ordinary people.

  5. martinusher Silver badge

    FCC arguing that its broke?

    The current incarnation of the FCC is a wholly owned subsidiary of the big telecom corporations so it should not have any problem with financing.

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