back to article Net neutrality is saved in Senate vote! No, not really, it was a giant waste of everyone's time

The US Senate has voted to scrap an effort to get rid of America's net neutrality rules, providing a small but ultimately worthless victory in what has increasingly become a partisan topic in Washington DC. The vote was heavily pushed by Democratic senators who have known for weeks they were one vote short for the resolution …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "largely a waste of time, taking up hours of the Senate's time"

    is it a wooki or an ewok?

    Sorry, wrong senate.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      every hour not spent putting incompetent/corrupt people on the federal bench is a win.

    2. hplasm

      "largely a waste of time, taking up hours of the Senate's time"

      "is it a wooki or an ewok?"

      It's a Gungan.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smoke and mirrors.

    1. hplasm

      Smoke and mirrors.

      Is what the FCC Pai has in mind for the future comms. Unless you pay.

  3. Mark 85 Silver badge

    Thune is right. The only proper way for this is to become law much like the issue over the "Dreamers". This isn't limited to these particular items, though as various bodies write policy and rules under one administration and then change with the next. It's pure politics and doesn't do the citizens any good unless you're a major stockholder who benefits. It would be a breath of fresh air if the rules of every agency were codified under law. The downside is, some very bad things (depending on which side of the fence you're on) could become law but I think that goes without saying. Given the nature of US politics, everything is subject to change due to "interests", both self interest of the lawmakers or self interest of the lobbyists with the interests of citizens way down the list.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      > Thune is right.

      Thune has absolutely no intention, or interest, in seeing net neutrality rules being written into law.

      His only interest is in making sure that these net neutrality rules never become law. Which is why he keeps yammering about this mythical bi-partisan compromise bill that no-one has ever seen.

      Has Thune ever proposed or sponsored any bi-partisan Net Neutrality legislation in the US Senate? Has he ever authored or co-sponsored a bill to this effect?

      The only thing he's done, and continues to do, is to opine about what he would support - hypothetically and in theory - if such a law was ever written and brought up for debate. Which will never happen.

      And when Thune is asked this very question - why haven't you written a bill and brought it up for debate?, he retreats to the good-ol' excuse it's the Democrats' fault why I haven't written a bill. They're mean and they aren't sharing. I'm telling Mom.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No different to the UK then. It's just that European politicians have had centuries more experience hiding their corruption.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who's got

    their fingers in the Pai ?

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Who's got

      Yuck... I need mental bleach now...

  5. bombastic bob Silver badge

    actual legislation, not regulatory gerrymandering

    is what is really needed. Obaka's FCC should NEVER have simply reclassified internet as a 1930's era telephone, and Pai is 100% correct to abandon that stupidity.

    Con-grab needs to do THEIR job and address the issues properly, through a legislative process, and NOT an unconstitutional Obaka-era-style bureaucratic POWER GRAB.

    And that was one of _MY_ main points from the beginning. but this was NEVER about 'net neutrality'. It was about REGULATORY POWER GRABS, and CIRCUMVENTING the legislative process, something OBAKA was INfamous for doing.

    1. Timmy B

      Re: actual legislation, not regulatory gerrymandering

      Ok - so I start the morning kind of agreeing with Bob....

      Can the day only get better or only get worse. I don't know. I'm confused..... more coffee is needed!

      1. Nimby

        Re: actual legislation, not regulatory gerrymandering

        I'm in the same boat. I actually agree* with Bob. What just happened? I think we all need a few beers to sort this out...

        *= My only real caveat is that there is absolutely no reason why improper channels (such as FCC regulations) and proper legislation cannot be worked on simultaneously. These are not mutually exclusive tasks. And given the propensity for CONgress to be the opposite of PROgress, it really does make sense to do all of the above as the overall process may take several years, if anything can ever truly be agreed upon enough to survive the politics.

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: actual legislation, not regulatory gerrymandering

      Obaka's FCC should NEVER have simply reclassified internet as a 1930's era telephone,

      The primary power grab is with a Republican FCC under Bush when CALEA and other phone legislation was expanded to cover Internet communications in 2004 by an executive order without congress being involved. So, first of all - it is a Shrubbery case, not an Obama one.

      From that point onwards the Internet is officially treated as a phone for law enforcement and related regulatory compliance purposes. In that case, it might as well be treated like that for everything. If anything, Obama FCC decisions cleaned up the Bush mess and made it a bit more sane.

      A case of walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is a duck.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: actual legislation, not regulatory gerrymandering

      @bombastic bob

      So what are you saying? You want net neutrality but it should be done properly or you want to leave them to do it themselves. (which isn't going to work imo)

    4. Kane Silver badge

      Re: actual legislation, not regulatory gerrymandering



      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: actual legislation, not regulatory gerrymandering



        I noticed that, too. It sounds like the most likely explanation, right? Bob is using this forum to pass on secret messages to some foreign power. It explains why his posts as a whole never make a lot of sense in the first place.

    5. Andrew Norton

      Re: actual legislation, not regulatory gerrymandering

      Do you mean they should never have reclassified it BACK to that?

      Or did you not know that in 2005 the FCC reclassified ISPs from Title II to title I following the BrandX decision (which was a SCOTUS verdict on the ability for them to do so)

      Or were you also unaware that the 2015 rules were the 3rd attempt to implement rules, the first being the 05 rules first used in 08 after the comcast bittorrent thing, that the courts knocked back in 2010, the second being the 2010 Open Internet Order based on a different part of Title I, both times said 'if you want these rules to continue, then you need to put it back under Title I.

      BTW, "booo Title II [Communications services] is an old outdated 1930s law! It needs to be under Title I [Informational or one-way services] OF THE SAME LAW instead!

    6. Alistair

      Re: actual legislation, not regulatory gerrymandering


      Senator Thune, you've given away your alas on the Reg. This is terrible.

  6. Wolfclaw

    US politicians are a wase of time and stink of corruption, they don't serve the people that elect them, but big business and the money they enjoy in contributions. UK politics may suck, but at least they do make an attempt to serve in the best interest of the people. Maybe you shoudl ahve let us finish the job off when we burned down the Whitehouse and remained part of the jolly old Empire ;)

    1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

      Yeah, in the UK they aren't as bribed as in the US, but still, they mostly don't serve the people - they serve themselves.

      If Theresa May realised that her days were numbered regardless, then maybe she'd stop this BRexit charade, but she thinks she can pull it off and become popular.

      Meanwhile, Corbyn seems to be asleep at the wheel.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "That effort is almost certainly doomed to fail but even if by some miracle it does pass, it would then fall to President Trump to sign."

    ...and that will probably depend on what Trump saw on TV that day.

  8. Jamie Jones Silver badge

    Who do you think John Thune really serves?

    Instead he urged his colleagues to "get serious" and work on bipartisan legislation that would introduce net neutrality protections in law, rather than rely on rules written by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that can then be rewritten by the next FCC administration – which is exactly what happened in this case with current FCC chair Ajit Pai reversing rules pushed through by his predecessor.


    Thune noted that he was "more than willing to enter into a debate to perfect this piece of legislation" rather than "waste more time, valuable time, in a cloud of uncertainty where one FCC to the next continues to change the rules."

    That same Senator John Thune who has received $1 million in donations from the telecoms industry?

    "Perfect this piece of legislation." ?

    Naah. He wants to get rid of net neutrality without the negative connutations. Certains ISPs are pushing this so they can support it publically, claim PR kudos, whilst still having the control.

    From Fight for the future:

    THREAD: For folks following #NetNeutrality vote today there is a new discussion draft of Thune's Senate bill circulating and we want to be clear: this is NOT real net neutrality. The Thune bill is much weaker than the FCC's 2015 rules which the Senate is voting on restoring.

    First, unlike the 2015 rules, there is no oversight on interconnection. Under the Thune edge providers could be shaken down to pay expensive new fees to get their content to end users.

    Second, there is absolutely nothing on zero rating. Under this bill providers would be allowed to pick and choose which apps and services cost more than others, giving them huge gatekeeper powers.

    Third, there appears to be no explicit ban on ISPs charging "access fees" for edge providers and websites to reach end-users. This would give extraordinary powers for Internet providers to block entire websites and services from end-users.

    At the end of the day this bill is a cynical attempt to distract GOP lawmakers who are considering voting for the CRA to restore MUCH stronger, REAL #NetNeutrality protections. To undecided @lisamurkowski and @SenJohnKennedy: don't fall for this trap. Do the right thing.

  9. Jeffrey Nonken

    "Certainly the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you; if you don't bet, you can't win." -Lazarus Long

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I hadn't thought of it before

    But how exactly does a CRA to block executive branch action that undid previous executive branch action work? Will that leave the Obama era regulation permanently in place until new laws were passed? Even net neutrality's most ardent supporters will agree that the Obama regulation using a 1934 law was a compromise to try to get around previous court rulings, and not the best way to handle it.

    Unfortunately congress isn't going to do anything about it because republican legislators have decided they're against net neutrality because democrats are for it (nevermind that a lot of actual republicans are for it) so it'll never pass. Even if democrats controlled congress they could and probably would filibuster it in the senate. So doing it the right way doesn't seem to be an option either.

    1. Andrew Norton

      Re: I hadn't thought of it before

      The Congressional Review Act is a piece of legislation that is used to show Congressional Disapproval for an act by an executive branch agency.

      In effect, it reverses the actions of the agency, restoring them to the pre-act status, and then prevents the agency from trying to enact the same regulations again without Congressional approval.

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