back to article FCC to Obama on net neutrality: We work for CONGRESS, SIR, not YOU

US watchdog the FCC has politely told President Obama to get stuffed, gently pointing out that the agency reports to Congress – not the White House. President Obama excited his supporters yesterday, following a drubbing in the mid-term elections, by going nuclear on internet regulation. The White House said it backed the …

  1. ecofeco Silver badge

    Reports to Congress?

    More like "reports to the corporations."

    1. John Gamble

      Re: Reports to Congress?

      No, Congress acts as a middle man between the FCC and the corporations. There's more plausible deniability that way.

    2. Fatman

      Re: Reports to Congress?

      More like "reports to bought and paid for by the corporations."


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Reports to Congress?

        More like "reports to Obama is bought and paid for by the corporations."

        Specifically, the cable companies (net neutrality), insurance companies (Hurricane Sandy), oil companies (BP oil disaster), health care companies (Obamacare), etc.

        That's why Obama is ignoring the will of the people and doing what the cable companies want him to do.

        1. Stephen McLaughlin

          Re: Reports to Congress?

          "Specifically, the cable companies (net neutrality), "

          Obama seems to flip-flop in this issue. When he was in candidate mode, he was all for Net Neutrality. Seemingly unhappy with his previous ex-lobbyist selections for FCC chairmen, due to their of their support for Net Neutrality, he appointed Tom Wheeler. This selection made the telecoms very happy. Washington, DC, has long had a revolving door through which government officials exit to become lobbyists, and lobbyists enter to become government officials, but this Wheeler's selection was over the top.

          Now another 180 and Obama is back on the side of Net Neutrality. Go figure. By the way, this John Oliver FCC segment is a must watch if you haven't yet seen it:

    3. henrydddd

      Re: Reports to Congress?

      In reality, when the FCC calls for comments, they are going to do what they want no matter what the comments say. They might as well stop the stupid calling for comments and let Congress, who has been bought off by corporations, do what they want.

    4. nubwaxer

      Re: Reports to Congress?

      congress represents their political contributors. the president once again speaks for the middle class. i would strongly support the president firing ex telecom lobbyist wheeler if that were possible.

  2. jfossy

    FCC should report to Congress (i.e. the people). The only ones that don't want net neutrality are the cable companies.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Congress the people? How about...

      "It's one big club, and you ain't in it." - George Carlin

  3. jamesb2147

    I love the Reg, but who watches the watchmen?

    ...but it's wrong. So wrong.

    "Given the precarious position of the FCC, it's likely that only Congress has the authority to devise telco regulation that might withstand a legal assault."

    There's very little legal ground for the above claim. The Supreme Court did not declare that ISP's are "information services" (which would leave little to no room for the FCC to reclassify them), it declared the all courts must defer to the FCC in making these decisions. So, if the FCC changes its mind about whether ISP's are "telecommunications services" providers, they have the Supreme Court's official blessing to do so.

    You're wrong, Andrew. See below for an excerpt from the NCTA v. Brand X decision backing up my claims.

    "n Chevron, this Court held that ambiguities in statutes within an agency’s jurisdiction to administer are delegations of authority to the agency to fill the statutory gap in reasonable fashion. Filling these gaps, the Court explained, involves difficult policy choices that agencies are better equipped to make than courts. ... If a statute is ambiguous, and if the implementing agency’s construction is reasonable, Chevron requires a federal court to accept the agency’s construction of the statute, even if the agency’s reading differs from what the court believes is the best statutory interpretation."

    Also, this appears to be a leap out of an ignorance of the topic (it is complicated, so I don't blame Andrew for being ignorant, if that's the case):

    "Google built the world's largest private network to carry YouTube traffic – would it be happy with everyone using these facilities? Or would Amazon be obliged to offer free access to its cloud? Google has already said it doesn't offer voice with its fibre because of common carrier regulations, even though the cost of the voice part would be "almost nothing" to Google."

    We're talking specifically about *consumer* services, not extending Title II to private internal networks. That's dumb, dude. IDK what would lead you to believe such things would happen.

    1. Mark 85

      Re: I love the Reg, but who watches the watchmen?

      Very well done. I suspect that Andrew isn't in the US as he sometimes seems to think things are not like they are.

      As tried to explain here, there's a history behind this and both the FCC and local municipalities have been part of it.

      The Big Cable/IPS will get what they want and the rest of us be damned. I suspect that at some point, we'll all have choices... Basic email: $X, email with pictures: $X+y, website access: $X+z, website with video: $XXXX. It won't be cheap and it won't be pretty but we'll pay through the nose for it.

      Pity that packet prioritization never took-off.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I love the Reg, but who watches the watchmen?

      It's true that the FCC can act independently to reclassify carriers under Title II -- something the FCC should have done during the Computer II proceeding, in the early years of the ARPANET, when it was clear that differences between computing and telecom technology were purely business-driven, not logical. The FCC found that too difficult to do, also. FCC reticence to act in the public welfare is well-known. It might jeopardize commissioners' future employment in the industries it regulates. An FCC with two Republican commissioners and one "Democrat" who might as well be a Republican -- Chairman Wheeler -- is not going to do the right thing. It hasn't the capacity. It hasn't the courage. It hasn't the chutzpah. It's where convention rules -- meaning, money.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    a day late and a dollar short

    Whatever Obama says about Net Neutrality and classifying Broadband as Common Carrier under TItle II is, unfortunately, completely irrelevant. The President cannot reclassify Broadband as Common Carrier by Executive Order.

    So, it's up to the FCC, or Congress.

    The FCC can reclassify Broadband as Common Carrier. Tom Wheeler - current FCC Chairman - is a former Cable Industry Lobbyist. He was appointed by Obama. He also appears to suffer from Chronic Regulatory Constipation Syndrome, having dragged his feet on this Net Neutrality issue ever since he was appointed.

    The only reason the FCC has authority - right now - to classify Broadband as Common Carrier is because of Chevron - as clearly explained in the post above by Jamesb2147. Once the ambiguity in existing law is removed, the FCC no longer has any authority on Net Neutrality.

    Do not mistake Wheeler's previous failed attempt at regulation - which was thrown out by the Courts after the Verizon lawsuit - as an honest error. If anything, it was a calculated error.

    The only thing Wheeler has to do is drag this around just a bit more - until January 2015, when the new Congress is sworn in. I am betting on swift and decisive legislative action by the next Republican Congress, which will throw out Net Neutrality for good. You can then watch Obama not veto that legislation.

    Obama could have pushed for legislative action on Net Neutrality during his first six years in office. I do recall him getting elected on this promise. He chose to do nothing. Now, that the probability of Net Neutrality becoming reality has finally approached zero - after last week's elections - he comes out swinging in favor of Net Neutrality.

    Nothing to see here. It's just another example of Obama's Kabuki.

    1. jamesb2147

      Re: a day late and a dollar short

      Well, I was going to offer that perhaps Obama would show some backbone here. That is, until I looked up his records.

      Who wouldn't want to stick to that Washingtonian veto pattern?

      It could still be blamed on the highly unproductive congresscritters of late, but yeah, that's kind of my last bastion of hope. Anyone taking bets on whether that ambiguity becomes a concession after January?

  5. Cipher

    Dear Obama, FCC, Congress

    Leave the internet the fuck alone.

    Thank you,

    Your boss

    1. Preston Munchensonton

      Re: Dear Obama, FCC, Congress

      But what about the children?!?!?!?

      Oh, sod them too.

    2. lambda_beta

      Re: Dear Obama, FCC, Congress

      I'm assuming 'your boss' means all the blood-sucking businesses that make lots of money (Comcast, ATT, Charter etc.), which has paid off Congress, FCC and Washington. You meant to say fuck the people!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Posting copyrighted content into the public record

    If this is indexed by Google, would the copyright owner be able to issue a takedown notice? Or would it not apply because this is the public record of the FCC? I wonder if that's why this guy posted the LotR script, to test this theory?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Posting copyrighted content into the public record

      Well, surely it's George, the original poster that's at fault here. Fortunately, he left his address on the submission. The MPAA can just stop by 123 Fuck You Lane Cuntville, CO 13372 and serve him with his copyright infringement notice.

      1. Eguro

        Re: Posting copyrighted content into the public record

        But are you able or even allowed to remove your comments from the FCC public record?

        What if it was a politician who had been very adamant about destroying Net Neutrality, but after the fact, he'd rather have that be forgotten...?

  7. DerekCurrie

    Obama: I screwed over the FCC with Thomas Wheeler, I screwed over We The People

    ... But when I talk about it in pubic, I'm all for We The People.

    > > > >Echoing Hypocrisy< < < <

  8. WatAWorld

    Sadly the FCC reports to cable company CEOs through the cable company stooges in congress

    Sadly the FCC reports to cable company CEOs through the cable company stooges in congress.

    Americans should be peacefully demonstrating in the streets for campaign finance reform and an end to the open legal "bribery" of congressional and presidential candidates through huge campaign donations.

    Go to a system like Canada has where you have to be eligible to vote for a candidate in order to donate to the candidate. No corporate donors. No union donors. No out-of-state donors.

    And have something like Canada's limit of $3,500 per year plus $3,500 per election.

    Sure you'll have people cheating, donating in their spouses name, or their adult children's names. But no congress person is going to be bought by $7,000 a year. It is the $10,000 to $500,000 donations that are the problem.

    The USA needs to return to being a democracy "of the people, by the people, for the people" instead of being the oligarchy to benefit inherited wealth that it has become.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sadly the FCC reports to cable company CEOs through the cable company stooges in congress

      But truth be told, the Canadian media scene, with the exception of crown corporations, CBC, and community media, is also highly consolidated. The model for telecom oligopoly is historically established and will pretty much be the same or very similar in each capitalist democracy.

  9. WatAWorld

    being the second worst president of the last 100 years is nothing to brag about.

    Now that he's a lame duck Obama feels free to say whatever he wants.

    With both houses of congress majority Republican, this president who couldn't get legislation passed when both houses were majority Democrat might as well go on vacation for two years.

    I had such high hopes for Obama.

    But his reign has revealed that the Republican "War on The Middle Class" was really the "Bipartisan War on the Middle Class". The only thing both parties ever agree on is military spending for foreign wars and shafting the middle class to benefit the idle rich (the top 0.01%).

    True, Obama has done better than George W. Bush -- he's done less damage. But being the second worst president of the last 100 years is nothing to brag about.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: being the second worst president of the last 100 years is nothing to brag about.

      "True, Obama has done better than George W. Bush -- he's done less damage. But being the second worst president of the last 100 years is nothing to brag about."

      But when the alternatives would have made W look like a schoolboy...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Washington Post : FCC weighs breaking with Obama on NN rules

    There you have it, folks. The Internet has been sold to the highest bidder.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Washington Post : FCC weighs breaking with Obama on NN rules

      What would Putin say?

  11. Visual Echo


  12. Bob J.

    More accurately, there have been over 4 million submissions -- equal to 1.5% of the American people -- regarding the FCC's diddling around with its rules and with Net Neutrality. (No, the two are not the same: whatever the rules, there will always be the concept Net Neutrality ready to be reinstated when the current epoch nightmare is over.) Wheeler has played this perfectly to maximize who knows what quid pro quos. I remember a similar occasion in 1982 when the California Cable Television Association, a state organization arranged by Wheeler, then head of the National Cable Television Association, with participation by local "interests" got stuck in the Legislature between its interests and those of the growing population of cable users, thereby enabling the politicians to rake in enormous amounts of money to take one position or another -- all orchestrated. Wheeler has learned at the knee of real experts.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      A lot of the 3m+ were from a petition that opposes Government regulation.

      Fewer than 1,000 of the 3m+ are actually substantive.

      You can see all this for yourself.

  13. mediabeing

    'Barry' Obama is a major disappointment to the Democratic party.

    He doesn't have the drive we so desperately needed.

    Sure, he's a world better than the insane Mitt Romney, who would have fully ruined the USA.

    Barry should have read the memoirs of Teddy and Frank Roosevelt and that of Lyndon B. Johnson.

    THEY knew how to get things done! Barry's a wimp.

  14. cortland

    Zat was zen zis is now

    "Congress specifically sought to regulate a new packet networking market differently from a national, circuit switched monopoly"

    And now Congress (to be more accurate, those who send Congresscreatures money for "favors") seeks to regulate a national packet switching monopoly differently than a new network. It makes PERFECT cents! And not a few of them.

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