Ajit Pai Whines About The Numerous State-Level Net Neutrality Laws He Just Helped Create

from the you built this dept

A common misconception is that the FCC’s net neutrality rule just killed net neutrality. In reality, the “Restoring Internet Freedom” order eliminated most of the FCC’s authority over broadband providers, shoveling remaining oversight to an FTC that lacks either the attention span or authority to police giants like AT&T and Comcast. The order also attempted to ban states from protecting consumers in the wake of the FCC’s apathy to industry issues. This accountability vacuum was, if you’re a slow learner, the entire point of the plan.

But a recent court ruling was a mixed outcome for the FCC. While the court supported much of the FCC’s repeal (despite the obvious fraud that occurred), it ruled the FCC lacked the authority to block states from protecting consumers. As a result, while federal net neutrality protections are gone, a flood of states are now passing their own laws. And despite creating this problem, Ajit Pai and the broadband industry aren’t happy about it, angry that their dream of zero meaningful oversight for one of the most broken industries in America wasn’t fully realized.

In a softball interview this week at the WSJ Tech Live conference, Pai took some time to whine about the fact that the broadband industry now has to deal with a multitude of often discordant state laws instead of a singular cohesive rule set. At no point, please notice, does Pai even remotely acknowledge that he himself caused the problem by rushing to dismantle federal rules using bunk data:

“When you’re talking about the choice for a venture capitalist or an entrepreneur to set up shop in the United States where they have to get permission from the federal government or from the state of California, San Francisco, or some other jurisdiction, or whether they should set up shop in country B where there’s a uniform, well-established set of regulations that are consistent, I worry that the proposition value for country B will become stronger over time.”

Again, Pai created this problem. Telecom industry lobbyists, using bogus data and fake people, pushed to repeal hugely popular federal net neutrality rules. Those rules, while portrayed as “draconian” by Pai and industry, were among the most modest in the world (failing to even address things like usage caps and “zero rating“). Pai and the industry he’s pandering to created this problem by killing off modest federal rules. Now they’re complaining about the fact that there’s no cohesive federal framework in place. The same thing occurred with FCC privacy rules. It’s dumbfounding.

And again, the FCC’s (read: industry’s) goal has been to kill most state and federal oversight of telecom under the false pretense that this will somehow, magically, spur Comcast Corporation to begin caring about customer service and deploying broadband to lower ROI regions of the country. Pai, a former Verizon lawyer who has yet to stand up to industry on a single issue of substance, tries so very hard to dress this up as some kind of sophisticated ethos:

“He argued that “while that federalist system has served us very well” up to this point in our nation’s history, it’s time for Congress to consider “whether or not we can still maintain a multilayer regulatory system.” He said allowing states and local governments to pass their own laws regulating internet services, which inherently cross state lines, creates market uncertainty.”

The market uncertainty was created by regulatory capture and pandering to industry. Hugely popular, modest and cohesive federal guidelines were in place. Corruption and blind fealty to industry eliminated them, creating a chaotic state by state approach to market oversight. There’s only really one place the blame for the resulting chaos belongs.

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Comments on “Ajit Pai Whines About The Numerous State-Level Net Neutrality Laws He Just Helped Create”

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47 Comments
Samuel Abramsays:

Birds of a feather

Pai is a tool of and for the Telecoms and when he destroyed those net neutrality rules, the states filled in the gap (or at least the states that haven’t been corrupted). If Ajit Pai were remotely honest, he’d acknowledge responsibility in the process, but if anything, he’s Trumpian in his buck-passing and lack of self-awareness.

Bergmansays:

Re:

Prior to shooting, Pai had scoped in on his foot so closely he cannot see anything but foot through the scope, and every expert except his paymasters were screaming at him not to shoot.

He shot anyway.

And we’re left wondering whether he knew it would hurt before he pulled the trigger, or if he was just unaware that he was being lied to?

Jeremy Lymansays:

Oh, it’s the oppressive consumer rights regulation and uncertainty that’s keeping all the new Vanderbilts from blessing us plebes with their competing information services? I’d thought it was the NATURAL MONOPOLY and regulatory capture of entrenched telcom giants that kept any competition at bay. Local loop unbundling would fix all that, right?

James Burkhardtsays:

Re:

Local loop unbundling provisions of Title II could serve to fix competition issues by separating the potentially competitive service layer and the naturally uncompetitive infrastructure layer.

However, local loop unbundling took decades to finally pay out with POTS, due to limp regulations regarding licencing use of that infrastructure. I know it did successfully pay out in a number of areas, including in the bay area, which lead to the elimination of metered local service and the eventual end of long distance charges on fixed telephone service. But a watchful eye needs to be held by regulators to ensure punative licencing costs don’t strangle broadband local loop unbundling in the cradle.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

So I’m assuming you are talking about the separation of ILEC and CLEC operations, but that was undone mainly in 2005, with the elimination of new installation installs like fiber. Obviously, DSL, T1/E1, DS3, OC3, et al technology has simply been replaced. I get it that cable did not have to unbundle, so why punish legacy telcos for doing the same without implementing it on coax networks. I’m more in favor of local state/city networks which are open to unbundling. I can’t remember who did this already, but it has only happened once in my recollection in the US and sadly I can’t remember what city did it.

James Burkhardtsays:

Re: FCC Authority

The FCC only has authority to regulate under the laws which govern the FCC. So the answer to your question is that the limits are defined by the myriad Telecommunications Acts passed over the years. Under 10th amendment jurisprudence, if the FCC doesn’t have congressionally-granted authority to regulate a market, it also doesn’t have the authority to preempt state authority.

The Title II debate was about the classification of broadband, and existed because a court decision ruled the FCC could not implement the first set of Net Neutrality rules under Title I.

Anonymoussays:

‘Ajit Pai and the broadband industry aren’t happy about it, angry that their dream of zero oversight for one of the most broken industries in America wasn’t fully achieved’

It’s one of the most corrupt and broken industries on the Planet! And the fuckers in Congress are to blame for the amount of corruption, lack of services, lack of accountability, sky-high prices and, most importantly, the LACK OF COMPETITION, not just in the USA but anywhere worldwide!!

ECAsays:

Long ago, far away...

The corps have been pushing things abit hard over the years..
Anyone in the military knows some of this stuff..
As The military bases USED to be tax free heavens. And the profit margins were Very low for anyone using those facilities..
BUT, the corps got pissy, and said the Gov. sholdnt do that.. Its not competitive..
So the corps got hold of it…and the prices are NOW about the same as most Towns and cities..And some of those military wages HAD to go up..

"creates market uncertainty."
Anyone from the EU, can you tell us about your services over there?? Please..
Iv heard some of them, but compared to the USA, you got it good.
Over here, if you go to far from your AREA, they can shut you off, by declaring that your Phone may have been stolen..
HERE, to track your phone, if lost is a REAL PITA, they want you to buy a new phone and they just SHUT the other one OFF… your NEW iphone is now a Lump in a persons pocket..
AND if you go across the border, without telling them…the PRICE per min goes to ?????…per min used.
WHO remembers what NAFTA is?? and that the USA/MEXICO/CANADA arnt supposed to be taxing things going back and forth…??? LONG GONE.. Bush jr. installed a 25% tax on lumber from canada…and (I THINK) we are back to taxing everything again..

Who considers the ISP’s…those that supply Access to connect to the net, that also own the TV/CABLE/SAT/Phone/Cellphones/… To be smaller corps then the Major Internet companies?? I DONT.
Every time they Try to match what has already been created they mess it up BADLY..

Uriel-238says:

Still waiting for the California Gold Standard.

Allegedly it’s law, but is suspended while litigation by the federal DoJ plays out. I’d think recent rulings would have affected that.

I’m also waiting for alleged market forces to kick in, and for a competitor to AT&T and Comcast to provide reasonably priced high-bandwidth service to my region in which net neutrality and lack of data caps is baked into the TOS.

I’m pretty sure that was a thing Pai implicitly promised me. Years ago.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Conversation wento something like this:

It’s news and open to ridicule because it was entirely foreseeable from the first day they announced the plan.

The next entirely foreseeable thing that may occur is the fcc reasserts their authority and then the states that sued over the NN repeal decision build out their own municipal broadband network and the companies that lobbied the net neutrality repeal into place lose giant swaths of the market and possibly go under.

The federal government can’t stop the states from building municipal broadband. It would almost certainly be found to be a states rights issue if it went to court.

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