back to article Good news: Congress has solutions to end net neutrality brouhaha. Bad news: Two competing sets of solutions...

An effort in Congress to end the United States' net neutrality nightmare appears to have fallen apart before it began. Last month, Republicans vowed to find a bipartisan path to resolve critical questions over what ISPs are allowed and not allowed to do with people's internet connections. But today, House speaker Nancy Pelosi …

  1. doublelayer Silver badge

    The internet has multiple layers

    It does. The connection to the internet and the things you connect to are not the same. It is logical to call the sites online information services, but the network that lets me get there is not providing information. These definitions may help:

    Information service: A service where the provider has information and sends it to me.

    Communication service: A service where the provider allows me to connect to something else and exchange information with that something else.

    On that basis, the line that carries my data is communication, as I am requesting to get information from El Reg. El Reg is an information service, but is not facilitating my communication with others. The separation is intrinsic to the protocols of the internet.

    1. Mark 85

      Re: The internet has multiple layers

      Indeed... but then our Congress has few tech types who know the difference.

      If, big if, contributions to political candidates/parties weren't from the internet provides like Comcast, et al, and if they weren't buying content companies and becoming content companies, the issue might be clearer to the CongressCritters who really haven't a clue about the difference.

      1. Ole Juul

        Re: The internet has multiple layers

        "... but then our Congress has few tech types who know the difference."

        I don't think the issue requires "technical types". It's pretty simple to understand that a road (the internet) is not a store (information service). I think the actual problem is that non technical types tend to think it all very technical.

        1. cream wobbly

          Re: The internet has multiple layers

          Another day, another car analogy! How is a road like the internet, or a store like an information service? Information isn't bogroll. (Okay, maybe it is...)

          Maybe use more relevant analogies, and the confusion will evaporate.

          The US telephone network (the internet) is not "Hello, Grandma, how are your piles?!" (information service), or the US library network (the internet) is not William Gibson (information service).

  2. FozzyBear

    So .......

    the two major ruling political parties can't come to a consensus. Everyone else is jumping to conclusions without reading the relevant proposals or even understanding the issue.

    Well, Colour me fucking surprised.

    Swap in any other democratic country instead of America. Substitute net Neutrality with any other pertinent issue affecting that country. The article is still relevant.

    1. Mark 85

      Re: So .......

      Right now, Congress is so divided that on a clear day, they would both argue about the shade of blue. Sadly, compromise and statesmanship for the good of the country seems to have gone away and replaced with this new version of "my way or the highway". <sigh>

      I won't get into where this attitude came from as too many factors, too much politics but corporate "donations" do play a part as do the elected officials themselves.

  3. Eddy Ito

    The easy answer seems to be to create an amendment to the Communications Act of 1934 that is applicable to the internet. Since it currently goes to Title 7, perhaps they could call it Title 8, Title LIII, or even Title L3 if they like.

    Alternately they could be cheeky and amend the Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899 and define the internet as part of the "navigable waters" of the US.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      LIII is 53. You meant VIII.

  4. Michael Jarve

    A new era- A new deffinition of Title II

    A large part of this problem, and one that allows American Pai and his predecessor Wheeler-and-Dealer to do as they wish is that we're using laws and authorizations that date back to the "Philly-1416" days, when an actual human operator would take your call and direct it to the appropriate trunk, exchange, switch, etc. Both Wheeler and Pai are simply doing what they're supposed to in interpreting a pre-WWII era law and authorization for a period, almost 90 years later, where technology now exists that was hardly even science-fiction then.

    Without a comprehensive reexamination and realignment of modern realities put into law, by congress, and signed by the president, the game of ping-pong will simply continue with the changes in political climate. Up until the era of net neutrality, the FCC was a pretty boring bureau of government, mostly concerned with auctioning off airwaves, taking complaints about radio or TV media, and guiding industry technical standards. It's only been since the rise of the "open" internet that it's become such a political hot potato.

    I agree wholly with poster doublelayer- It's none of Verizon's, Comcast's,CenturyLink's, et al business what information service I lawfully choose to connect to. Their responsibility is only to see that I can connect to it to the best of their abilities. That is all I pay for. Once they begin prioritizing or throttling based on who I choose to connect to, they are then editorializing which sites they want or prefer I connect to. This would be no different than the same companies prioritizing or charging me more to call my aunt Dianne, who also happens to be a customer of a competitor, than calling my aunt Kathy, who is a customer of the same company. If, on the other hand my aunt Dianne decides to get a premium rate 1-900 number and charge me $2.00/min to talk to her, that is a different matter.

  5. jake Silver badge

    Remember, kiddies ...

    Pro is the opposite of Con ... So Congress is the opposite of Progress.

    Anybody expecting this to change any time soon hasn't been paying attention these last many decades.

  6. JohnFen

    I don't understand

    I honestly don't understand how Title II is inappropriate for internet service providers. It seems 100% appropriate and correct to me.

    The problem here is that the telecoms have been intentionally (and successfully) conflating two different things: the internet itself, and the services that run on the internet.

    The internet itself is nothing but a telecommunications network, conceptually no different than the phone network. Title II is clearly and obviously the correct classification of it.

    ISPs also run their own services on top of that telecommunications network (such as VoIP, email, streaming, etc.). Those services are distinct from the internet, and those services are clearly and obviously Title I.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If republicans were introducing three separate bills

    There was already no chance.

    Heard about an interesting net neutrality violation recently. Optimum cable is inserting ads in plain HTTP streams that traverse its network. Doesn't matter what nameserver you use, they are changing the HTTP itself! The ISPs may shoot themselves in the foot with some pretty egregious stuff and force all sides to realize that self-regulation isn't going to work.

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