Why is the FCC boss being such a jerk?
He was born this way, and he can't help it.
This week, Ajit Pai, chairman of America's broadband watchdog, decided to reignite the contentious debate over net neutrality – by proposing scrapping the country's open internet safeguards. The move was not unexpected. But what was surprising was how FCC chair Pai decided to relay it: rather than outline the logical policy …
Ajit is completely unqualified for the job, and so he compensates with aggression. He knows zero about technology. His undergrad degree is in Social Studies, and then he has a Law Degree. Obama only nominated him in order to be "diverse" ethnically. Trump kept him on because Ajit is a shill for big business.
That's a great read Kieren, looks like you've hit the nail on the head in terms of his play for the long-term chairmanship. Could also be that he's partly fallen in love with the Republican brand of crony capitalism, or that someone's been whispering to him about his own future political fortunes. Maybe he sees himself as future Senator Pai.
Agreed (or is it "a greed"?)
If more people drink "the kool-aid" then we will fight among ourselves and there will be less opposition to the large and dangerous changes made in the quest for a the all mighty dollar.
As a country the USA needs to stop focusing on how we are different from each other and think hard about how almost everyone wants (and needs) the same basic things. Then perhaps there can be compromise and with compromise comes effective government. With effective government would see less drama and more dollars.
"As a country the USA needs to stop focusing on how we are different from each other and think hard about how almost everyone wants (and needs) the same basic things."
Uh unn. Not even THAT can be agreed upon. Quite a few people will answer your request, with all honesty, with "a lot of unworthy people to just up and disappear."
think hard about how almost everyone wants (and needs) the same basic things. Then perhaps there can be compromise and with compromise comes effective government.
Not the American Way - If people find they need the same basic things they will fight each other in order to get ALL of the basic things for themselves. To avoid that, Americans will disagree violently over which things are basic and who actually needs them more. This strategy keeps the permanent civil war down to a manageable level.
"... think hard about how almost everyone wants (and needs) the same basic things."
Totally irrelevant when the few with money and power don't want those things: They want more money and power and they aren't asking from "almost everyone" as those are irrelevant.
Right on time, McCarthy throws out the daily red meat to the progs, and they proceed to salivate like Pavlov's dogs. It's getting a bit tiresome.
Sure wish El Reg would focus on the tech stuff and cease auto-smearing the US President and all who support him, as if we were not quite human. We are.
But I'm starting to wonder about a lot of the posters who flock to Kieren's pieces. They seem to be living in a strange netherworld where putins lurk around every corner and conservatives rise from graves to feast on the brains of horrified liberals.
Big John - did you actually read the piece? He said the bloke had some good ideas but was being a bit of a dick about it - that's hardly auto-smearing in my book - it is what used to happen - taking a nuanced view of a person before America's IQ dropped and everthing had to be black an white with no shades of grey. He also pointed out the faults in Obama's approach too.
I also call pot calling kettle on your 'treating his supportes as not quite human' - your rants, insults and other vitriol against everything Obama and 'liberal' show you have been doing the same thing, kind of precludes you taking the moral high ground now.
BTW you do realise you don't have to read stuff you know will trigger you?
> "BTW you do realise you don't have to read stuff you know will trigger you?"
Quite right. And perhaps this particular article is not all that evil, but I've noticed that nearly every article that carries a strongly anti-Trump slant is a McCarthy piece, and they show up every other day or so, as if he's on a crusade or something. We're talking dozens of them in just the last three months. And always very very negative, particularly when NN is involved.
I do get it, Kieren is pro NN as is his right, but the topic is not as cut and dried as he seems to think. Personally I have no strong opinions on it, but given how Obama forced it on us by fiat and also how Kieren keeps hammering anyone opposed to it, my bullshite detector keeps pegging. So I try to apply a little balance. I could be wrong, sure, but I object to the tactics being used by proponents of the policy, the same way I object to those who call AGW skeptics "deniers."
I find it hard to believe anyone who uses the Internet can say "Personally I have no strong opinions on Net Neutrality", because either you are very much against NN if you can make huge sums of money out of it at the expense of everyone else, or you are very much in favour of it if you are one of the remaining 99% of us.
I always thought Net Neutrality was an issue of contention between the 99% of users VS the 1% of internet service providers.
You would think (democratically) that the needs of the many would automatically outweigh the wants of the few (especially since the ISPs do not actually "own" the internet, it's certainly not their turf that the 99% majority are accessing).
I suppose so long as the marketplace is fractured & people have options, they will have to keep that in mind if their ISP isn't giving satisfactory service - and as long as all ISPs don't all start working together as an internet access bloc.
"You would think (democratically) that the needs of the many would automatically outweigh the wants of the few (especially since the ISPs do not actually "own" the internet, it's certainly not their turf that the 99% majority are accessing)."
Thing is, unlike with the roads, which were mostly built and owned by the government, most of the Internet is owned by private enterprises. If not the ISPs (AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon are all Tier 1 networks), then the providers those ISPs contract for their backhaul.
"I suppose so long as the marketplace is fractured & people have options, they will have to keep that in mind if their ISP isn't giving satisfactory service - and as long as all ISPs don't all start working together as an internet access bloc."
That's the concern here. ALL the major ISPs are colluding together as a cartel. Also note those companies above that ALSO control backhaul. They're the equivalent of the owners of the biggest Interstate highways in the country.
I kind of get where you are coming from however I don't think this article is running the type of anti-trump sentiment you are referring to. I would suggest the BBC if you require to vent about the left wing liberal media.
I thought the article was well balanced and showed how he was being a dick and why. I'm sure deep down you are starting to question whether trump is not just going to "drain the swamp" to only fill it again with people are more self serving than the current lot.
I would also suggest that removing net neutrality is against the very people Trump is supposed to be working for and that can't be argued by anyone. The establishment he is supposed to be working against will make great gains from being allowed to control the internet and charge extra money for preferential treatment.
"I would also suggest that removing net neutrality is against the very people Trump is supposed to be working for and that can't be argued by anyone. The establishment he is supposed to be working against will make great gains from being allowed to control the internet and charge extra money for preferential treatment."
Except you forget there are TWO establishments: the old guard and the new guard. And at this point, battle lines are drawn between them. The old guard represent the likes of Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon: the old communications providers. On the other end you have the likes of Google, Netflix, and Amazon who work "over the top" of the communication providers. Since both sides are striving for the same thing (control over the flow of information), a "war" over it is inevitable, and the divide is pretty stark. The old guard don't want to be relegated to dumb pipes, and the new guard don't want to have to pay tolls on every junction.
This is a huge thing people forget. People get seduced by "what about the next Netflix? What about the next Google?" so easily that they never stop to think about how they would actually be handled.
Sometimes I see people claim that non-paying websites will be artificially slowed, which is just absurd: as bad as a monopoly is, you can't sell the higher tiers if you don't actually provide speed. The newer argument is that Netflix and Google will have to pay for the enormous bandwidth they use, which is where the "what about the next?" argument comes in.
And here the question has to be raised: will the next Netflix/Google/Facebook actually be as impacted by this as they claim? Or will their modest bandwidth use allow them to grow under the radar until they begin to actually become thought of as the next Netflix/Google/Facebook, while the latter find themselves suddenly beset by competition they already have conquered before it even exists?
TL;DR: We're picking between too sides that want to control the internet and will lie through their teeth to do it.
The newer argument is that Netflix and Google will have to pay for the enormous bandwidth they use
This is what happens if you drink the KoolAid; Netflix already pay for their own bandwidth, the ISPs would also like them to pay for the ISPs bandwidth that is used by the ISPs users using Netflix.
"claim that non-paying websites will be artificially slowed, which is just absurd:"
"Claim"? That't reality and your hallucinations don't really matter.
Anyone who believes that a new way to squeeze more money from users for telecom cartel will not be used, is just hallucinating.
That won't happen, ever.
"as bad as a monopoly is, you can't sell the higher tiers if you don't actually provide speed"
Easy, they'd stop selling general-purpose higher tiers, and start selling site-specific higher tiers. Or make it like cable TV packages. Oh you want access to Netflix and Amazon Prime video and iTunes video at reasonable speeds? Then you buy the Streaming Video package for $50/month on top of your basic cable internet service.
"I would suggest the BBC if you require to vent about the left wing liberal media."
Considering how much the left in British politics complain about the treatment of Corbyn by the BBC and the lack of reporting around alledged electoral fraud by Tory MPs, I think calling the BBC a left wing liberal media is a bit of a joke.
The reality is that British TV media can come across as both right wing or left wing dependent on topic or personal bias (and the latter is a big driver).
As for this article, I thought it was very well balanced and as for the comments about fact free statements from key players, well that sounds like politicians on both sides of the Pond to me.
I would suggest the BBC if you require to vent about the left wing liberal media.
Ah, good old "biased BBC". The best thing you can say about the bias at the BBC is that the Left think Aunty is biased to the Right, the Right think she is biased to the Left, and the Liberals think they are ignored.
Sure wish El Reg would focus on the tech stuff and cease auto-smearing the US President and all who support him, as if we were not quite human. We are.
1) So are we, but you'd never know it from listening to the right's designated bloviators (including certain posters here...a category you yourself fall into more often than not).
2) Depends on who you ask...
Pai could have blamed spying and expensive Internet prices on Obama's collusion with Google while accepting telco bribes to do nothing new about it. He would get his money, he would become the hero of idiots, he'd have lots of spare time, and nobody would get hurt.
It takes a special kind of asshole to set out destroying a pillar of technology for the entire country just because you got promoted in the job you hate doing.
If your goal is a more free internet as a conduit of ideas you do not want more government agencies taking control of want has been a free resource without them. That is something the socialists do not understand, less government = more freedom for the citizens.
Because corporations can always be trusted to regulate themselves. And no corporation has ever tried to take advantage of their position to raise prices beyond what provides them a reasonable profit. Or collude with others in the market to fix prices.
Pull the other one.
Government is a tool. Free market economics is also a tool. Simply doing nothing can also be a tool, of a sort. You must pick the appropriate tool to use for each specific problem.
You don't get far if you rule out the use of a specific tool for ideological reasons. You can take a screw out with pliers if you have to, but a screwdriver works a lot better.
Yeah those Sweeds must be feeling right oppressed now - what with their invasive government, good internet and really high happyness.
The correct answer is 'it's complicated', some governement is good it stops companies taking the piss, to much stifels competition. Blanket x=y statements are never the solution in the real world.
Looking from the other side of the pond to the less regulated America I see nothing that indicates less regulation is good for the proles.
"If your goal is a more free internet as a conduit of ideas you do not want more government agencies taking control of want has been a free resource without them."
You do realise that net neutrality is about restricting control by corporations, not taking that control for government, don't you?
"You do realise that net neutrality is about restricting control by corporations, not taking that control for government, don't you?"
Is *THAT* how you *FEEL* (not think) what 'net neutrality' REALLY is about?
You missed the point, then. The ACTUAL regulations were NEVER about that. They were about ENABLING Facebook and Google, and PREVENTING independent providers from offering competitive services for an extra fee (as one example).
yeah, "net neutrality" *FEELS* correct (and is sold through that *kind* of emotional manipulation, like so many OTHER socialist/lefty ideas), but the reality of it is FAR FROM BEING CORRECT.
When you enable packet prioritization for a fee, for example, so long as it only marginally affects the normal flow of unprioritized traffic, the ISPs can use the extra revenue to improve their services overall (which they will). And if they pocket the money, that's their business. Someone took a risk to start and/or invest in that business and THOSE people who risk deserve the rewards reaped from good business.
But it's more likely that a service provider who puts the profits back into the company will compete better, and make more money in the long term. That's what I expect human behavior to be like, not the false (emotion-based) picture of pure greed and world conquest that says otherwise.
Seriously, the whole "net neutrality" thing is all EMOTION-BASED KNEE-JERK TOUCHY FEELY CRAP. As long as the playing field remains level, let people charge whatever the market allows, for whatever services they can, without screwing everybody else over (and then demanding more money, later - stopped by a 'level playing field'), so that the USA [as one example] can get its infrastructure up to the standards of some of the newcomers into the world of the intarwebs, or those with denser populations [where it's not so expensive to lay new fiber lines to everybody's doorstep].
'Net Neutrality' is yet another SOCIALIST philosophy of *FORCING* *EVERYONE* down to the same *MEDIOCRITY*. Thanks, I don't want mediocrity. I want *GREATNESS* !!!
"When you enable packet prioritization for a fee, for example, so long as it only marginally affects the normal flow of unprioritized traffic, the ISPs can use the extra revenue to improve their services overall (which they will)"
No, they won't, because if their non-priority traffic is a good enough service then why would anyone pay for priority? It creates a perverse incentive, in which ISPs soon realise it is in their best interests to refrain from upgrading their network in order to protect the prioritisation revenue.
"Is *THAT* how you *FEEL* (not think) what 'net neutrality' REALLY is about?"
No. And since that negates the rest of your rant, it being based on the above misconception, I'll not bother to waste time replying to that.
Can I assume that you will all for the new American Technology Council?
"and PREVENTING independent providers from offering competitive services for an extra fee (as one example)."
I call bullshit on this. It exists solely to guarantee that everyone gets what they paid for and if you claim otherwise, you haven't even read the damn paper.
Yet another paid shill, I see.
EXACTLY. I happen to *LIKE* what Pai has been doing, which is to UN-DO the SOCIALISM that's been CREEPING into the FCC.
The FCC's job is NOT to regulate content or what is done with that information. The FCC's job is to define standards that allow everyone to "play nice" with one another within a limited context of delivery, from wired to wireless. This includes frequency bands, licensed spectrum, unlicensed spectrum regulations, communication standards and protocols, and things of THAT nature. What is done _WITHIN_ those regulations, i.e. "the content", is NONE! OF! THEIR! BUSINESS! (I'd even go so far as seeing 'decency standards' abolished on pubilc airwaves and cable networks, but the Supreme Court has already made it legal to regulate 'speech' on the basis of 'prurient content' so that would be a difficult case to make these days, even in the name of freedom).
So at the very minimum, we have the FCC crossing over into FTC territory, which should not be allowed. It would only result in confusion and too much gummint bloat. Pai is reversing the regs that step on the FTC's territory, and RIGHTFULLY SO. I say "more of the same, please!"
As for the FTC, what they're already doing with banks and privacy can simply be extended to anyone on the internet that provides a service, such as ISPs and telcos and web sites (and Micro-shaft). Yes, that would probably stop Micro-shaft, Google, and Facebook from abusing your privacy, at least without your explicit consent, and that's the point. The regs belong at the FTC level, not the FCC.
Solve the REAL problem!
"That is something the socialists do not understand, less government = more freedom for the citizens."
You are joking, aren't you?
Less government = More freedoms to corporate cartels to steal and _less_ freedoms for the citizens.
Glaring example: Hollywood and copyright legislation bought by RIAA/MPAA.
Extend that to _everything_ and you get an idea how it would be without government: No freedoms at all, zero, zilch, nada.
Especially no privacy at all.
" less government = more freedom for the citizens."
I don't have a billion dollars to fund lawsuits. Therefore, I like to have the government on my side against the mega-corporations who would otherwise steamroll right over me.
Feel free to prostrate yourself before industrial giants and let them abuse you.
I'd rather not.
"To Republicans, especially on the far right, this was everything they had been complaining about for the previous six years. It was direct interference in a largely independent organization. It was government regulation writ large. It was Obama. It was just plain wrong."
You could have shortened that to the key point: "It was Obama".
Republicans simply could not overcome their visceral antagonism to the thought of a black man being President. They couldn't say that, of course: like many other loathsome instincts nurtured by those folks, it had to remain silent but for the usual dog-whistle racism that adolescent twerps like Trump have exploited so well. A black President? Inconceivable!
And if having a black man as Prez was abhorrent to those people, then, by heaven, it looked as if they might next get a ... woman! It could only have been worse if she had been a black woman! The pasty plump lizard-men of Republican politics could not stomach the idea of a woman as Prez either. A person without a penis, as President? Inconceivable!
So, Hillary being a poor candidate (she was admittedly utterly lousy) despite being white, her failure to tote even a tiny Republican-sized wiener rendered her so unacceptable that America elected the worst imaginable person as President: a psychotically egotistical pathological liar, multiple bankrupt "expert businessman", racist, misogynist, self-confessed sex assaulter, who can barely read or spell or punctuate, whose ignorance of nearly everything would put a nine-year-old to shame ... but he does at least have, allegedly, a willy: though the jury is out on whether it's even as big as his paws.
In this environment of "Stupid is as stupid does", an odious clown like Ajit Pai fits right in.
truly said. its bad enough the interference some government dimwits parlay as 'necessary for the public good", but it seems more and more, these clowns are doing, saying, enforcing these acts of omnipotence , just because they can say, "Well, we had to do something!" meaning they really have no clue what they are doing, but to ensure they appear to be doing something, anything to justify their very existence. it probably has been like this since bureaucracy began, long ago, disguised as actual functional control mechanisms to reign in so many of the snake oil and similar 'corporate interests' who had no true beneficial intentions other than reap money from any process FOR THEMSELVES. face it, these are politicians in disguise, steering the public astray at any cost, to the taxpayer, to the consumer, to anyone foolish enough to believe.
The dimmocrats cares a lot more about list-building, fund-rasing and skimming off those funds they raise than they do about winning, and politics, for that matter.
Donald Trump is the American Dream incarnate, winning, bragging about it incessantly, rubbing dirt in the face of the losers, kicking sand on some weaklings picnic and groping their wimmen - all true American Core Values.
Instead of Hillary, they should have fielded another American Dream which is embodied in Oprah Winfrey.
Oprah would not only win by a large margin but also cause a "Scanners"-style mass extinction event amongst republicans.
Paris - because she would have beaten Hillary too!
It starts at the top - with the Orange Orang-Utan who for years tried to prove Obama was't born in the USA - and that was before the Big O was elected.
The second sack of salt in the Republicans wound was that a BLACK man actually was elected president, not once but TWICE! The Koch brothers must have bee apoplectic.
Now that the Republicans have managed to wrest control of the White House and BOTH houses of Congress they have systematically set about to erase Obama's name from history and the government records.
And that includes the FCC.
As for Pai, cable and comms lobbyists met his price.
"As for Pai, cable and comms lobbyists met his price."
His price was met before he was nominated as he's Verizon lawyer and lobbyist to start with.
No need to lobby a person who is your lobbyist from the beginning. And stays that way, of course.
A Verizon mole in FCC, literally, working _against_ the people despite being paid by government.
No, that doesn't follow. Less government (in your terms) usually means less access to drinkable water, breathable air, affordable, well, anything really. At least, historically it has meant that in the USA. The oligarchs who run big businesses have historically gouged the ordinary "folks" (a term certain types of well-bought and paid for politician uses that they think makes them seem more like you'n'me but actually makes them look smarmy and is a dead giveaway for who's pockets are lining their own) until the outcry has threatened to reach Red October levels, at which point some savvy politico steps up to the plate and engineers an "enough is enough" Hail Mary pass and saves the day.
I was particularly impressed by how certain types of politicians kept a straight face while claiming in public that a more expensive, less inclusive "replacement" for the ACA was actually better as it offered people "more freedom".
Normally, I am a red-breathing freedom-loving free market supporter. Only enough gov't regulation and oversight as needed to protect the average consumers and prevent Corporation Inc. from dumping their toxic sewage directly in our fishing lake, I say. (That last part fields weird to mention, since to this day there are still people supporting that side.)
I am so freedom-loving I truly believe the market will sort itself out (in most cases) to the point of allowing a little bit of anarchy. I take Google and Netflix's side on piracy: If you just made a convenient service that was reasonably priced, with the content people want, they would pay for it.
However in the Net Neutrality debate I don't see any possible gain the people get from letting the "free market" of ISPs run wild colluding amongst themselves and Big Inc. partners, and yet the people have everything to lose. Control of your Data is how Google and Facebook grew into behemoths overnight, they sell that shit. We're already living in Orwell's 1984, now you want to arbitrarily loosen the ties on ISPs even more? Talk about gov't snooping.
Plus, it isn't like there's a free and open market in internet access. Generally you have a choice between *a* cable internet provider, or the phone company (probably much slower than cable, unless you're fortunate enough to have fiber available), or kludgey satellite internet.
Not exactly a thriving competitive marketplace.
Americans! Go to the FCC web site and voice your opinion about this cruel attempt to change network neutrality rules, giving Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and Spectrum the "freedom" to regulate information in the heretofore free-flowing American internet. This stands the potential to transform our internet into something resembling the Chinese walled internet. Are First Amendment rights being abridged??? IMHO, you betcha!
So go to the FCC web site and state your views. The FCC docket number for this travesty is 17-108. You must reference this number in your FCC filing. Have even more fun. Send email to Ajit.Pai@fcc.gov himself. Give him the heat. Same with Mignon.Clyburn@fcc.gov and email@example.com , the others in the FCC Commisioner troika. (There I go again, showing my knowledge of Russia! Maybe I can land me a job in the Trump administration.)
ISP's are usually monopoly's. Many towns offer no choice of who your ISP is. Further, they are asking their users to pay twice for service. e.g. you pay and expect to reach any vendor on the internet when you want to, but netflix is forced to pay additional money, which they get from their subscribers to provide the content that that they pay netflix for over the broadband that they are already paying comcast for. So comcast charges netflix extra money to allow their content to stream to the user who is already paying comcast to stream to them. Further, netflix provides a better HD experience than comcast provides, because comcast wants more money to provide the HD service, and their already charging almost $200 for internet and tv. Not to mention that they've managed to raise prices while providing worse service by avoiding the spirit of fcc mandates by encrypting content so that they don't need to provide hd content that they did have to provide prior to encrypting their service. And because they're a monopoly, you as a user don't have a choice. it's even illegal for a town to provide alternative broadband in some states.
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