back to article Prez Obama backs net neutrality – but can't do anything about it. Thanks, Obama

In a visit to California, US President Obama has reiterated support for full net neutrality, but said it wasn't something he could do anything about. "I know one of the things that people are most concerned about is paid prioritization, the notion that somehow some folks can pay a little more money and get better service, more …

  1. Dan Paul

    "He's got a pen"...

    and he doesn't know how to use it (for Net Neutrality) because the entire Democratic Party (frankly the Republican Party too) has been sucking at the teat of the Telco's for their entire existence. As the party goes so does the FCC. There may be independent ISP's (not enough) but the backbone fiber is owned in some way by a telco.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Go

      Re: Dan Paul Re: "He's got a pen"...

      ".....but the backbone fiber is owned in some way by a telco." And that, right there, is exactly Obambi is going to do his Pontius Pilate impression, pretending he cares deeply but he just can't get involved. The cable is privately owned by companies that sank their money into building the telco infrastructure, and if Obambi wants them to keep investing their money so the US doesn't fall even further behind countries like South Korea, then he needs to let those companies make a profit by selling their cable bandwidth in the way the market will allow them to make best profit. That is what happens in a capitalistic democracy, get over it (as Obambi is having to). The only other option would be to nationalize the backbone, and such a move would deep-six the markets and the economy in a few hours. The best Obambi can do is force the telcos to offer a national minimum service to all subscribers, he can't stop the telcos offering those willing to pay for a better service without the telcos' investors taking their money somewhere else it can make a better profit.

      And can we cut the crap with this Net 'Neutrality' misdirection? It has nothing to do with 'neutrality', it's just a word the anti-capitalists have seized on because Net 'socialism' wouldn't go down so well with the American public. They just hate the fact 'Wall Street' is going to make a profit, they actually don't give a hoot about the subscribers.

      1. Daniel B.
        Boffin

        Re: Dan Paul "He's got a pen"...

        And can we cut the crap with this Net 'Neutrality' misdirection? It has nothing to do with 'neutrality', it's just a word the anti-capitalists have seized on because Net 'socialism' wouldn't go down so well with the American public.

        Net Neutrality has nothing to do with socialism. It has everything to do with double-dipping; telcos are already charging you for bandwidth, and they want to charge an extra 'extortion rate' on content providers to prioritize their traffic lest they get stuck in the slow lane. The problem is that the content provider is already paying for bandwidth on his end.

        There's a good chance that a non-Net Neut internet will still see U.S. telco's not investing on infrastructure, instead sitting their asses while they rake in the big bucks they get from double-dipping subscribers and content providers alike.

        Obama is getting a clear message from the American public. He should ask for Wheeler's resignation. NOW.

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          Stop

          Re: Daniel B Re: Dan Paul "He's got a pen"...

          ".....There's a good chance that a non-Net Neut internet will still see U.S. telco's not investing on infrastructure, instead sitting their asses while they rake in the big bucks they get from double-dipping subscribers and content providers alike....." And you come to this conclusion how? The cable companies have to keep innovating or they will be overtaken by the wireless telecoms. Imagine if the telcos had stuck with offering 56kbps dialup only when the wireless telcos were offering 3G speeds, do you really want to pretend the cable companies would have made any profit for long? Competition, even if only between backbone providers, ensures there will be continual development in services. Competition between wireless telcos has already taken us through GSM to 3G and 4G.

          And here's the bit that really destroys the Net 'neutrality' rubbish - companies are willing to pay the extra for priority, which you call 'double-dipping' charges - because there is not enough current bandwidth to allow everyone the speeds they desire. No-one is twisting their arms and forcing them to pay for prioritisation, those companies are paying for that priority service to gain a competitive edge over other content providers. Should a new service be provided, say with '5G', that allows the wireless providers to offer the same speed of delivery as the cable companies 'double-dip' for, at a lower price, then the cable companies will lose their market in very short order. Just as no-one is twisting their arms now, no-one can stop those content providers moving to a new technology or service when it arrives. So the whole idea that the cable companies should not be allowed to sell prioritisation because it will "forever cripple the 'weak/poor'" and stop investment in cable is just the usual anti-capitalist FUD.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dan Paul "He's got a pen"...

        > And can we cut the crap with this Net 'Neutrality' misdirection? It has nothing to do with 'neutrality', it's just a word the anti-capitalists have seized on because Net 'socialism' wouldn't go down so well with the American public. They just hate the fact 'Wall Street' is going to make a profit, they actually don't give a hoot about the subscribers.

        I would partly agree with those sentiments, but only in the way that Americans are toal hypocrits when it comes to "socialism". They apparently don't have a problem with fire services, state schools, the armed services, police, water, sewage etc when it comes to funding from general or state taxation where it makes sense to do so. After all, everyone needs those services at one point or another (sounds like healthcare doesn't it?).

        The big problem with your point of view regarding cable though is that normal capitalistic forces are insufficient to ensure that cusomers get the best service since it most cases it is a natural monopoly. Many of the cable services that ended up with infrastructure from Bell and AT&T were effectively given yet another smaller monopoly. If there is no competition, then the service will be shit as shown by the manifold evidence presented on this forum and elsewhere. It *has* to be regulated since there is nothing else.

  2. GBE

    Obama's pretty much correct.

    The FCC is an independent agency created by Congress. The president nominates comissioners for 5-year terms, and the Senate confirms them. They aren't part of the executive branch and don't take orders from the President.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Obama's pretty much correct.

      Yep, they're independent... right up until they meet a lobbyist with a sack of money.

  3. chivo243 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    We know that

    " I can't just call him up and tell him exactly what to do."

    D'oh! You will have your people do it for you, But being from Illinois, Obama may just arrange a small accident for the appointee that " I can't just call him up and tell him exactly what to do."

    It's a big world and big boy pants have lots of pockets.. wink wink

    1. Mad Chaz

      Re: We know that

      I think it's more ''Please don't hand the next election to the republicans by pissing the electorate off, our finances can't afford it right now" is how I'm reading it.

      But I'm not from the US, so what do I know?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obama can't call Wheeler directly telling him what to do but ...

    ... someone well-connected and very close to the Obama Administration could have lunch with Wheeler and mention, in passing, that the President would be extremely disappointed if Net Neutrality went the way of the Dodo Bird.

    On the other hand, this is Obama. He holds many strong opinions on important matters, but he always finds equally strong counter-arguments to his own opinions.

  5. Hud Dunlap
    Boffin

    The FCC is limited by the courts on what they can do.

    The subject of the article below is a little off topic but the background pretty much explains why the FCC can do very little about Net Neutrality.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Vociferous

    Why does Obama consistently appoint industry shills to positions of power?

    The FCC chairman is a former Comcast lobbyist, what did Obama think he would do? Act in the best interests of users?

    1. 404

      Re: Why does Obama consistently appoint industry shills to positions of power?

      Good question, aye? Definitely *not* what it said on the box...

      http://change.gov/agenda/ethics_agenda/

      "I am in this race to tell the corporate lobbyists that their days of setting the agenda in Washington are over. I have done more than any other candidate in this race to take on lobbyists — and won. They have not funded my campaign, they will not run my White House, and they will not drown out the voices of the American people when I am president."

      -- Barack Obama, Speech in Des Moines, IA - November 10, 2007

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why does Obama consistently appoint industry shills to positions of power?

      And why are you blaming Obama for this? The technical term is regulatory capture and it has been happening for decades - well, well before Obama was even on the political playing field.

      If you don't believe me, look up "Turkish Airlines 981" (make sure you find all the intricate details).

      Our American system of government as been broken a long time. Don't try to pin it on a person that you simply don't approve of at this moment in history.

      1. Vociferous

        Re: Why does Obama consistently appoint industry shills to positions of power?

        "why are you blaming Obama for this?"

        I am blaming Obama because Obama appointed him, full-well knowing that he was an industry shill representing the very industry the FCC is supposed to regulate. In addition, the reason Obama appointed this dingo is without doubt that Comcast had been a major contributor to Obama's campaign.

        That is corruption, and I will criticize every politician who do things like that. Even Obama.

        1. Cipher

          Re: Why does Obama consistently appoint industry shills to positions of power?

          "why are you blaming Obama for this?"

          In addition to appointing Comcast to guard the henhouse, he is being disingenous abot not being able to do anything.

          If he can circumvent the U.S. Congress with his Executive Orders, which he openly brags about, what impediment is an agency that reports to him?

          Whenever something goes wrong, and you can check this, Obama swears he knew nothing until the press covered it and he swears "I'll get to the bottom of this, this is unacceptable." This routine rings hollow, except with the 39% who approve of him.

          His statement is a wink, wink, nod, nod to Big Telco: Don't worry fellas, you'll get what you want. Like he told Putin, "Just wait 'till after the elections."

          Downvote away folks, but come January Obama and Big Telco get what they want...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Why does Obama consistently appoint industry shills to positions of power?

            If only wheeler had oil...

    3. R42

      Re: Why does Obama consistently appoint industry shills to positions of power?

      This is the problem in a nutshell.

      Of course, the best solution would be to have the U.S. Congress actually do something. That, however, has also been bought and paid for.

  7. Uncle Ron

    A little wrong...

    Patent trolls don't "file phoney patents." They buy patents and sit on them waiting to sue somebody. That's what should be illegal. People shouldn't be allowed to do that. Huh? And, if the original owner of a patent, or his heirs/assignees don't actually -use- the patent in something, pretty quickly--something real, and important--they should lose the patent. Even as a developer, you shouldn't be allowed to bottle up a discovery simply to extort money. Use it, or lose it.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: A little wrong...

      I have a patent on an improvement to an MRI scanner. Because we have a patent we can approach the $Bn companies that make MRIs and offer to sell/licence the technique.

      Under your wonderful anti troll legislation all I would have to do is invent the rest of the MRI, secure a few $Bn in funding to go into production, get device approval across the world and set up my own manufacturing, marketing and distribution to compete with Siemens, GE, Toshiba etc. Just so the world can benefit from our noise reduction work.

      That's the purpose of patents, to allow inventions to get used.

  8. The Grump
    Big Brother

    Be careful what you wish for...

    Letting the government regulate the internet is like letting King Cobras loose in your house to fix the mice problem. Yeah, it seemed like a good idea at the time, before police busted in and found your dead body - dead from Cobra venom.

    Would you REALLY want China or N. Korea in charge of your internet ? Do you think the USA spooks or the London authorities would be much better ? They all have a non-stop geyser of "good ideas" for "improving" (censoring) the internet. I would sooner let venomous snakes loose in my house before I would trust any government with the internet. "The man who would choose security over freedom deserves neither" - Thomas Jefferson.

    Icon for those who need to re-read "1984", then look at China, and think twice about giving the government the power to neuter the internet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Be careful what you wish for...

      > Would you REALLY want China or N. Korea in charge of your internet?

      You really haven't the first clue what you're blathering about.

      Why don't you run for the US Senate on the Tea Party ticket? You've got your platform: North Korea Is Set To Invade The Intertubes.

    2. R42

      Re: Be careful what you wish for...

      The battle here is between the people and the ISPs. The role of Government is to represent the people. If it were left up to the ISPs, we would pay twice as much for half the speed. To do anything a vendor would need to pay several ISPs, just to make sure of delivery. This would be a huge barrier to access, stifling innovation. So, we have to regulate this somehow, and I would much rather have a civil servant collecting a fat government paycheck and good benefits, than a corporation, whose only legal responsibility is to it's shareholders, do the regulating.

    3. Pigeon

      Re: Be careful what you wish for...

      It would have been better to let the King Cobras lose, I was so pleased with your unconventional correct spelling that I made the mistake of reading the rest of the post.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Be careful what you wish for...

        Which would you rather have? The corrupt King Cobras or the relentless Army Ants? You're dead either way. Even if we tried to make our own mesh, that would take electricity, which means we're beholden to the power companies.

    4. Vociferous

      Re: Be careful what you wish for...

      "Letting the government regulate the internet is like letting King Cobras loose in your house"

      So basically what you're saying is that you didn't know that the government regulated the internet right up until a few months ago, when a partisan court conspired with an even more partisan FCC and killed net neutrality, for the benefit of no-one but the carriers.

      Already websites like Netflix are being forced to pay carriers to not have their traffic throttled.

    5. Daniel B.

      Re: Be careful what you wish for...

      Icon for those who need to re-read "1984", then look at China, and think twice about giving the government the power to neuter the internet.

      Regulation of Internet packet prority treatment isn't the same as regulating internet content. The FCC can simply declare internet providers as "common carriers" and that would bring internet regulation in line with telephone operators. The government hasn't been censoring phone lines, has it?

      If you're really, really concerned about "internet censorship", you should not only be for Net Neutrality, you should be asking for laws to make CGNAT illegal as it allows ISPs to block incoming internet traffic if they want to do so. (in a phone analogy: it would be like you paying for a phone that can only make calls, but can't receive any calls at all.)

  9. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Let the White House Shoggoth stroke its Nobel Peace Prize in peace!

    In a visit to California, US President Obama has reiterated support for full net neutrality, but said it wasn't something he could do anything about.

    So he supports something he has no idea about what it is but cannot do anything about it?

    What's new?

    He should go back wrecking the economy with liberal narcissistic bullshit, bombing random points on a map, surveilling everyone or maybe whip up wars with Russia, China, Syria, Yemen and god-knows-what-else.

    1. Cipher

      Re: Let the White House Shoggoth stroke its Nobel Peace Prize in peace!

      Golf.

      In his time in office he has spent 800+ hours on the golf course, and in a world of perils, only 600 odd hours in his security briefings.

      The man knows how to pay back those who shovel money to him and his party: in this case he appoints Comcast to lead the FCC...

      1. DerekCurrie
        Pirate

        Re: Let the White House Shoggoth stroke its Nobel Peace Prize in peace!

        I entirely agree about the shoveling, the puppetry, the having been bought and sold, the hypocrisy.

        But I constantly laugh and laugh at the stories of the constantly vacationing and golfing Obama. Why? Because rotten old George W. Bush was easily just as absent, off playing at this and that rather than doing his job. The Republicans have NOTHING better to add to this mess of worthless, owned, citizen despising politicians. Both parties are equally rotted to the core and require demolition. It's the bizinizziz that wreck, ruin and run the show.

  10. DerekCurrie
    Devil

    Assign an Anti-Net Neutrality FCC Chairman, Then Cheer Net Neutrality!

    The strong stench of hypocrisy is in the air.

    Thomas Wheeler, Obama's FCC chairman, was a chief lobbyist for the companies that want to destroy Net Neutrality. We know what's coming...

  11. the J to the C
    Devil

    There is no argument to be made to support the ISP's slow lanes, The US are looking like fools over this

    1. Rottenham

      Sure There Is

      The argument made for decreased network speed is, increased corporate profits. This argument would hold true no matter who the president was. And remember, there are 500 other politicians in Washington. I don't see any of them going against the corporation either.

  12. wanderson

    Obama's Net Neutrality back-pedalling

    President Obama is making excuses for actions that he can "legally" and morally take in support of Net Neutrality.

    One -The President can tell Wheeler directly that he is strongly “for” Net Neutrality – in unambiguous language - as a principle that advances Internet and technology use in USA.

    Secondly, he can inform Mr. Wheeler that he would be fired for any support of the programs advanced by large Internet infrastructure providers for “tiered Pay-for-Play” Internet, as result of undue influence, pressure or financial r numeration, even into the future, when these draconian companies and Mr. Wheeler think everyone has forgotten.

    Greed and payola as intricate part of Capitalism are the bane of US society well-being, with the effect that the country is quickly falling behind in many aspects of technology learning and use, particularly in comparison to other G8 or G20 countries.

    President Obama cannot afford to be a coward on this issue.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Obama the long-legged mac daddy is a freak! and if you don't mind me saying - Jesus hates him too! - Hon. Pastor James David Manning of Atlah World Missionary.

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