Axios Parrots A Lot Of Dumb, Debunked Nonsense About Net Neutrality

from the learning-nothing-from-history dept

I've talked a lot about how the Trump net neutrality repeal was a massive con. It effectively gutted the FCC's consumer protection oversight at telecom monopoly behest, then tried to ban states from being able to protect US consumers as well. Worse, it was based on a bunch of absolute bullshit about how doing this would spur network investment, create jobs, and result in amazing new innovation. All propped up by bad data and fake and dead people hired by the telecom industry. It was a massive ploy to further obliterate meaningful oversight of predatory, widely disliked regional telecom monopolies under the guise of progress.

And it worked flawlessly. None of the promised benefits materialized, but the industry got everything it wanted, namely: regulators too enfeebled to do much about US telecom market failure, high prices, and limited competition. Worse perhaps, the dumb gambit was all propped up by a select number of experts and press outlets that appear to have learned absolutely nothing from the experience.

Like Axios, for example. As we recently noted, Biden's executive order prods the FCC to restore net neutrality and the agency's Title II authority over broadband providers. The FCC can't do this until the Biden administration gets around to actually staffing the FCC. The simple act of appointing and seating a new agency boss alone could take much of this year, so any real action on more contentious issues like net neutrality likely won't happen for some time.

But the telecom industry is getting a running start undermining such efforts by trotting out the same nonsensical talking points they've been using for fifteen years. And they're getting the inadvertent (?) help of outlets like Axios, which this week parroted a long list of false industry claims verbatim without even bothering to fact check them. Such as the idea that Trump regulators engaged in "light touch" regulation (aka: letting AT&T do whatever the fuck it wants), which frames doing anything other than that as something heavy handed.

Then there's this utterly false Axios claim from unnamed "industry leaders" that net neutrality harms network investment:

"Industry leaders fear net neutrality rules will pave the way for the government to set broadband prices and have argued that the rules deter investment in the sector."

First, the US government is terrified of seriously regulating broadband prices. It's treated as the most radical policy proposal possible by the majority of both campaign-cash slathered parties. I doubt even under the most progressive of potential Biden appointments would the FCC seriously regulate broadband rates. Even when the agency has expanded consumer protection rules (like net neutrality), they've gone to comical lengths to avoid treating broadband like a utility or regulating prices (see: the forbearance language in the 2015 net neutrality order). The threat of this happening has been used by industry for scare-mongering purposes for 25 years, yet it never materializes, even if treating broadband more like a utility might make sense given broadband's essential nature (see: Covid).

Second, it takes about sixty seconds of research to find that the claim that "net neutrality hurt broadband investment" was never actually true. Yes, AT&T, Comcast, and friends claimed that net neutrality rules hampered investment, but there are several different studies now showing how that claim was absolutely false. And ample earnings reports, SEC filings, and other data showcasing how AT&T and others cut network investment in the wake of the repeal. There's even a long list of industry CEOs on the public record making it very clear net neutrality didn't impact investment.

If you're a reporter and you you feel the need to give an industry lobbyist ample room to make various claims, you should at least point out where that lobbyist might not be telling the truth so your readers have some vague idea where the truth actually is. But Axios doesn't do that. Instead, it lets former FCC boss turned top cable lobbyist Mike Powell make all kinds of unsubstantiated claims about what net neutrality is (or isn't): :

"Net neutrality has become an expensive, time-wasting exercise that has little real world effect," Michael Powell, president of cable trade group NCTA, said in a statement. "The drama detracts from focusing on genuine broadband issues, most critically our collective effort to get broadband to communities that lack service."

Again, the "real world effect" was that the FCC was left largely powerless to protect consumers right before a pandemic struck and gave everybody a painful crash course on the importance of broadband. The "real world effect" was that the repeal left federal and state regulators less prepared to rein in billing fraud (like bogus fees) and other harms of mindless monopolization (aka limited competition). And the "real world effect" was that with neither competition nor regulatory oversight to constrain them, regional telecom monopolies doubled down on shitty behavior, price hikes, and layoffs just as most folks predicted.

Axios proceeds to quote a Powell claim (again unchallenged) that doing anything other than letting AT&T dictate all federal telecom policy is doomed to failure:

"Of course, we can all suit up to play another game of ping pong, with yet another administration, but the inevitable years-long regulatory proceeding, exhaustive court challenges and likely trip to the U.S. Supreme Court some three or four years from now serves no one."

Yes, ideally you'd want Congress passing a net neutrality law to prevent the wobbling back and forth of the FCC as it shifts between parties. But because the US Congress is a corrupt mess in thrall to telecom monopolies, that's not happening anytime soon. And yes, the FCC restoring its consumer protection authority might run face-first into a rightward-lurching Supreme Court, but your alternative is to simply not try to do anything to fix this corrupt dysfunction, which is certainly AT&T and Comcast's preferred endgame.

Again, the net neutrality repeal didn't just kill "net neutrality rules," it gutted the FCC's consumer protection authority and tried to ban states from filling the consumer protection void. And again, the repeal involved a whole lot of dodgy data and outright fraud on the part of the telecom lobby. A reader walks away from the Axios piece understanding exactly none of that. The entire piece is a perfect example of the problem with "view from nowhere" or "he said, she said" journalism, where the truth gets lost somewhere amidst efforts to create the kind of bland, illusory balance that won't offend sources or advertisers.

You'd like to think the press learned a little something from the net neutrality repeal and the last four years of Trumpism, but as the net neutrality (read: basic oversight for regional telecom monopolies) debate heats up once again, there's already ample evidence that's simply not the case.

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Filed Under: broadband, competition, fcc, net neutrality, regulation


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  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 5:09am

    ""Industry leaders fear net neutrality rules will pave the way for the government to set broadband prices"

    If you don't know what net neutrality is or what it does, I suppose it makes sense.

    ""Net neutrality has become an expensive, time-wasting exercise that has little real world effect,""

    Weird, it's the default setting outside of the US, and we have cheaper, better internet access than you do.

    As with healthcare debates, I'm sure someone will be along soon to explain why better service at cheaper prices with more freedom to move around and less hidden charges is awful for me.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bobvious, 21 Jul 2021 @ 5:43am

      Re: healthcare

      Really Paul.

      Can't you imagine how much better telehealth and remote surgery could be if only advertisements could be inserted into the medical data stream of live surgery? AI and ML could be real-time analysing your online ECG and either suggesting what expensive treatments are available, or serving up the names of local Funeral Directors, or worthless life-insurance policies. It's Un-American anti-freedom socialist universal-healthcare wowserism that's driving the US economy into the ground.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 6:13am

        Re: Re: healthcare

        I'm sure that the utopia you describe would be amazing, but alas I'm stuck here with pesky publicly funded healthcare. I only have the ability to access quality healthcare with no risk of financial ruin, topped up by by employer provided private healthcare. I might even encounter a situation where an actual doctor performs triage and I can't use either method to push to the front of the queue because both have restrictions on resources.

        Truly a nightmare, and don't get me started on my 1Gbps fibre connection that costs me less than $100/month with mobile and TV included..

        I'm sure someone out there will be taking this without the required /s...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Jul 2021 @ 6:46am

        Re: Re: healthcare

        "...if only advertisements could be inserted into the medical data stream of live surgery?"

        You think small, friend. Imagine the suture for your appendectomy being the embroidery of the Nike or Coca-cola logo. Your lasik surgery now leaves a faint image of the L'Oreal logo overlaying your vision and your vasectomy now comes with a cute lasered-in Durex Big Boy ad over the entry scar.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    jonr (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 5:23am

    Link to article

    Since this article didn't provide the link, here is the original article on Axios.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 21 Jul 2021 @ 5:28am

    I wonder if someone from Axios will read this article and take a deeper look at the net neutrality issue and not just defend their skewed viewpoint. If they are as into journalistic integrity as they claim...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    wshuff (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 6:14am

    Look, clearly net neutrality is a horrible thing that should not be allowed. I mean, just look at all the dead people who submitted comments against it, trying to save us from beyond the grave.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Koby (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 6:25am

    Maybe They Did

    You'd like to think the press learned a little something from the net neutrality repeal and the last four years of Trumpism

    One of the important takeaways from Trump's time is that credibility matters. And just as how the corrupt media got wrecked in 2016, so did Net Neutrality proponents when they did their chicken little prediction back in 2017. Perhaps Axios' article isn't the best. But it sure is better than the predictions that the internet would break if the government repealed net neutrality. So let there be a competing viewpoint. Competition is good, and it might earn Axios some credibility if their prediction is better than the others. Give neutral reporting viewpoints a chance, and let readers decide.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 6:29am

      Re: Maybe They Did

      I, uh, think you missed that the internet didn't break because of all the state-level laws and AG threatening to regulate the telecom monopolies since Ajit Pai disbanded the rules and the FCC's authority to enforce them, meaning the telecoms were on their best behavior.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 6:37am

      Re: Maybe They Did

      "One of the important takeaways from Trump's time is that credibility matters"

      Wow...

      I mean, we knew you were ignorant of reality, but I at least didn't know how bad your delusions were.

      "But it sure is better than the predictions that the internet would break if the government repealed net neutrality."

      The predictions were not that it would break completely, the predictions were that you would continue to get fleeced for lower quality service while major conglomerates with interests outside of the ISP space would use their ability to lock out and destroy competing services.

      "So let there be a competing viewpoint"

      There is, you're just too dumb to understand that you support the system that stifles it. Where I live, I have net neutrality, real choice, lower prices and more freedom than you do.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Bloof (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 6:57am

      Re: Maybe They Did

      'Credibility matters', says the person who has given his unquestioning support to a lying, cheating, philandering con man.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        icon
        Koby (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 7:28am

        Re: Re: Maybe They Did

        And yet, he still has greater credibility than the corrupt media.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 7:51am

          Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Did

          In your world, sure, I'm just glad the rest of us don't live somewhere that aggressively stupid.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Rocky, 21 Jul 2021 @ 7:52am

          Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Did

          If you give Trump credibility even though he is a self professed liar, cheater and grifter; why should anyone listen to you then? You just confessed to liking those characteristics which mean anything you say or do are suspect since you lack the ability to make rational choices.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            icon
            Koby (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 8:42am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Did

            You just confessed to liking those characteristics which mean

            I don't like those characteristics. I'm just saying he has greater credibility than the corrupt media.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2021 @ 8:57am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Did

              I don't like those characteristics

              But you'll herniate your own back just to defend the man who holds onto them.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2021 @ 9:10am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Did

              So an abusive, venal, doddering, womanizing early stage alzheimer buffoon with a bad hairdo who can't even understand what direction a fleet is sailing is more cridibly than all the variaous media outlets who report on and expose the Alt-right lies. In your judgment, Trump is more credible and less corrupt than the Washington Post, right?

              Remind me never to ask you for advice on anything that requires judgement.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2021 @ 9:22am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Did

              ^^^^ The sad thing here is, despite all the orange grifter bashing in response, not undeserved mind you, is that they may not be that far off the mark.

              News as a vehicle for advertising isn't new, same for being at some points entertainment but what is new is that those two are now at the forefront if not the only function of most outlets.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              sumgai (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 10:06am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Did

              ... than the corrupt media.

              Please provide at least two valid examples of corrupt media. Pointing your finger at some given news outlet as a general example will not suffice.

              IOW, "pics, or it didn't happen".

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                James Burkhardt (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 10:38am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Did

                Remember he is claiming they lost credibility in 2017. So its the same mix of "Russia Hoax" (What the hoax is being a shifting set of goalposts), "Trump didn't cause WW3" (Missing that concerns were about the means, not the ends), and "the unite the right rally was actually peaceful and the person who got hit by a car had a simultaneous heart attack unrelated to being mowed down by a car in that moment" (Which rests on defining the rally as only the parts where anti-semitism, racism, or violence weren't happening). So lots of propeganda and lies from Koby.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2021 @ 1:27pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Did

                  I actually saw an online commenter refer to this in passing. Claimed that the car was attacked by the crowd then struck the victim when trying to escape, in a panic. Despite copious online video showing the events happened in the exact opposite order.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2021 @ 7:26pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Did

                    Despite copious online video showing the events happened in the exact opposite order.

                    Kind of similar to when Koby called Jan 6 a "kerfuffle" even though there is ample evidence, video and testimonial, that it was a violent attempt to overthrow the process of validating Trump's major loss.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 11:25pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Did

                      The right wing are currently in the process of trying to pretend that the cop who was bludgeoned didn't die as a result of his injuries, but of a totally unrelated illness the following day, while the woman who was shot was a poor innocent victim who was just wandering round the place like any tourist would. They also claim that Chauvin is an innocent political prisoner because George Floyd died of unrelated drug overdose, and that cities actually burned to the ground last year but no BLM activists have ever been arrested. Not to mention their fantasies about vaccines and who is really dying due to COVID.

                      We're at the point where actual documented reality won't sway these people. I'm not sure what the next step is, I'm just glad I'm nowhere near them personally.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      • icon
                        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Jul 2021 @ 3:39am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Did

                        "The right wing are currently in the process of building themselves into the well-worn template of militant and political faction dedicated to politics by violence."*

                        Hope you don't mind if I FTFY, PaulIT.
                        The current GOP looks like the Sinn Fein of olden days. The politicians willing to exculpate, downplay, cover up and fundraise for the ones with guns and bombs.

                        Youtube search; "Beau of the fifth column pelosi veto".

                        I think what we're seeing is the early days of emergent organized domestic terrorism. The only thing casting that in doubt might be the sheer stupidity and reality denial of most of the recruiting base. ISIS couldn't have grown to size in a nation with any form of law enforcement, after all.
                        Yet again that doubt depends largely on significant parts of law enforcement not being sympathizers as well...

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2021 @ 3:21am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Did

                How about anything broadcast on Fox News and AO? Just choose any clip at random, you're bound to see something dodgy!

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Jul 2021 @ 4:02am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Did

              Don't let Fox News hear that.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Glen, 21 Jul 2021 @ 8:42am

          Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Did

          You're funny in a sad, pathetic kind of way.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Jul 2021 @ 6:53am

          Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Did

          "And yet, he still has greater credibility than the corrupt media."

          Yeah, Fox news and OANN sure did break the bar. When their most popular hosts have to stand in front of a judge and claim their whole show was parody no sane person could take seriously that surely should have sunk their credibility.

          As for just about every other news agency not willing to engage in reality denial, no. Trump still holds the title of greatest liar.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            bhull242 (profile), 25 Jul 2021 @ 8:53pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Did

            No, I still trust Fox News more than I trust Trump. OAN, no, but Fox is more likely to have a stopped-clock moment than Trump.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 6:07am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Did

              "No, I still trust Fox News more than I trust Trump."

              That's...not a high bar to clear. I mean if Trump never has a stopped clock moment but Fox is right twice a day, metaphorically...that still puts both of them in the "liar, liar, pants on fire" category with miles to spare.

              Also, it's unfair to claim trump was never right.
              When he campaigned in Ohio he wondered out loud how stupid the people in Ohio were. And they proved him right by voting for him.
              He was going to get Mexico to pay for the wall and let's be fair; If he'd managed to make the pandemic just a little worse on the US side, Mexico would gladly have built that wall.
              And if he'd shot someone on fifth avenue none of his voter base would have disagreed with Dear Leader's personal interpretation of the ermächtigungsgesetz.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 26 Jul 2021 @ 6:27am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Maybe They Did

                "If he'd managed to make the pandemic just a little worse on the US side, Mexico would gladly have built that wall."

                I doubt it. Mexico would have a far greater understanding of why the whole thing was idiotic and would presumably put more meaningful measures in place.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2021 @ 12:55pm

      Re: Maybe They Did

      “One of the important takeaways from Trump's time is that credibility matters.”

      The 600 series had a rubberery cadence. We spotted them easy, but these are new. They sound human...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2021 @ 6:51am

    WTF...

    So I quickly read the headline and my immediate reaction is "what the heck does a space company have to do with net neutrality..."

    Then I see it's "Axios", not "Axiom". Doh!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 7:16am

    Remember kids, offer no pushback when the right does something that makes life worse for you, because any repeal of their bad policy could be repealed. Just roll over and show your belly, they surely won't be emboldened and keep pushing worse policies until their own policies of previous years are decried as dangerous socialism when proposed as compromises. Thanks, Axios!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 7:50am

      Re:

      Easy mistake. Axiom are the space company. Axios are the news organisation most recently memeably famous for the WTF look on the face of the guy interviewing Trump where he boasted about aceing a test meant to detect early signs of dementia as if it was a massive accomplishment.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    TaboToka (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 9:40am

    Ahh, remember the good old days?

    As a sufficiently-grey hair, I remember when the airline industry was regulated. What happened is the airlines competed on amenities and service.

    Now, imagine if the ISP industry was regulated:

    • Prices would be standardized across carriers (adjusted by local market cost of living, perhaps) and managed by a Public Utility Commission.
    • Rate caps eliminated, content neutrality required
    • Standardized privacy practices mandated and enforced.
    • Carving up territory/creating monopolies would be prohibited.
    • Service Level Agreements would be required and enforced.
    • Municipal WiFi would be allowed unhampered and subsidized by fees to ensure everyone has decent access (especially where there is only one ISP)

    Thus the ISPs would be all on a level playing field, more or less. What to do? Complete on amenities and service.

    • No more crappy customer service ("press 0 to hold for another 45 minutes")
    • Better/faster speeds
    • Content included (netflix/disney/hulu/whatever)
    • No more crappy equipment rentals -- hell, the equipment they do provide is top-notch.

    ...but that would cut into their obscene profits. And temporarily mess with their stock. And make baby Jesus cry (probably).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 11:19pm

      Re: Ahh, remember the good old days?

      "Now, imagine if the ISP industry was regulated"

      You don't have to imagine, you just have to look at how they operate in the many countries where they are effectively regulated. Countries which, generally speaking, have more choice, lower prices and fewer hidden costs, and often don't even have bandwidth caps and other limits (on non-mobile connections at least).

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2021 @ 10:44am

    innocuous leader

    because the input here is censored

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2021 @ 10:47am

    Relevant to next Maz piece, which is locked down!

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-can-win-his-case-against-tech-giants-11626025357

    Biden Administration Completely Kills The "It's A Private Company So It's Not Censorship" Argument

    https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2021/07/16/biden-administration-completely-kills-the-its-a-pri vate-company-so-its-not-censorship-argument/

    "The Biden administration is telling Facebook which posts it regards as `problematic' so that Facebook can remove them," Glenn Greenwald said on Twitter in response to the news. "This is the union of corporate and state power - one of the classic hallmarks of fascism - that the people who spent five years babbling about fascism support."

    "If you don't find it deeply disturbing that the White House is flagging' internet content that they deemproblematic' to their Facebook allies for removal, then you are definitionally an authoritarian," Greenwald said. "No other information is needed about you to know that. There is no circumstance - none - in which it's acceptable for the White House or any other agency of the government to be providing lists to Facebook of problematic' content it wants removed, yet that's exactly what Psaki says they're doing. The White House is admitting that they're compiling lists of people who they claim are posting content they regard asproblematic' and that constitute

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 10:56am

      Re: Relevant to next Maz piece, which is locked down!

      I'd ask you to stop making spam, but that would be as about as effective if I were to ask Hormel the same thing.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2021 @ 12:59pm

        Re: Re: Relevant to next Maz piece, which is locked down!

        The best part is Mike could turn off the lights and become a n internationally renowned professional shark wrangler and it would be months before blue balls had the slightest suspicion something was amiss.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2021 @ 11:15am

    Perhaps Biden received campaign contributions and cant therefore be seen to want to change things that take any clout away from the companies concerned?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 21 Jul 2021 @ 5:03pm

      Re:

      He's also innately pro-business in a pro-corporate Delaware sort of way. Campaign slush would likely not matter here.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 12:08pm

    see: the forbearance language in the 2015 net neutrality order).

    AKA this language:

    B. Promoting Investment with a Modern Title II

    1. Today, our forbearance approach results in over 700 codified rules being inapplicable, a
      “light-touch” approach for the use of Title II. This includes no unbundling of last-mile facilities, no
      tariffing, no rate regulation, and no cost accounting rules,
      which results in a carefully tailored application
      of only those Title II provisions found to directly further the public interest in an open Internet and more,
      better, and open broadband. Nor will our actions result in the imposition of any new federal taxes or fees;
      the ability of states to impose fees on broadband is already limited by the congressional Internet tax
      moratorium.
      38. This is Title II tailored for the 21st Century. Unlike the application of Title II to
      incumbent wireline companies in the 20th Century, a swath of utility-style provisions (including tariffing)
      will not be applied.
      Indeed, there will be fewer sections of Title II applied than have been applied to
      Commercial Mobile Radio Service (CMRS), where Congress expressly required the application of
      Sections 201, 202, and 208, and permitted the Commission to forbear from others. In fact, Title II has
      never been applied in such a focused way.

    D. Broad Forbearance

    1. In finding that broadband Internet access service is subject to Title II, we simultaneously
      exercise the Commission’s forbearance authority to forbear from 30 statutory provisions and render over
      700 codified rules inapplicable, to establish a light-touch regulatory framework tailored to preserving
      those provisions that advance our goals of more, better, and open broadband. We thus forbear from the
      vast majority of rules adopted under Title II. We do not, however, forbear from sections 201, 202, and
      208 (or from related enforcement provisions),

      46 which are necessary to support adoption of our open
      Internet rules. We also grant extensive forbearance, minimizing the burdens on broadband providers
      while still adequately protecting the public.

    Section 201:

    PART I--COMMON CARRIER REGULATION
    SEC. 201. [47 U.S.C. 201] SERVICE AND CHARGES.
    (a) It shall be the duty of every common carrier engaged in interstate or
    foreign communication by wire or radio to furnish such communication service upon reasonable request therefor; and, in accordance with the orders of the
    Commission, in cases where the Commission, after opportunity for hearing, finds
    such action necessary or desirable in the public interest, to establish physical
    connections with other carriers, to establish through routes and charges applicable
    thereto and the divisions of such charges, and to establish and provide facilities and
    regulations for operating such through routes.
    (b) All charges, practices, classifications, and regulations for and in
    connection with such communication service, shall be just and reasonable, and any
    such charge, practice, classification, or regulation that is unjust or unreasonable is
    hereby declared to be unlawful: Provided, That communications by wire or radio
    subject to this Act may be classified into day, night, repeated, unrepeated, letter,
    commercial, press, Government and such other classes as the Commission may
    decide to be just and reasonable, and different charges may be made for the
    different classes of comunications: Provided further, That nothing in this Act or in
    any other provision of law shall be construed to prevent a common carrier subject
    to this Act from entering into or operating under any contract with any common
    carrier not subject to this Act, for the exchange of their services, if the Commission
    is of the opinion that such contract is not contrary to the public interest: Provided
    further, That nothing in this Act or in any other provision of law shall prevent a
    common carrier subject to this Act from furnishing reports of positions of ships at
    sea to newspapers of general circulation, either at a nominal charge or without
    charge, provided the name of such common carrier is displayed along with such
    ship position reports. The Commissioner may prescribe such rules and regulations
    as may be necessary in the public interest to carry out the provisions of this Act.

    Section 202:

    SEC. 202. [47 U.S.C. 202] DISCRIMINATION AND PREFERENCES.
    (a) It shall be unlawful for any common carrier to make any unjust or
    unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations,
    facilities, or services for or in connection with like communication service, directly
    or indirectly, by any means or device, or to make or give any undue or
    unreasonable preference or advantage to any particular person, class of persons, or
    locality, or to subject any particular person, class of persons, or locality to any
    undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage.
    (b) Charges or services, whenever referred to in this Act, include charges
    for, or services in connection with, the use of common carrier lines of
    communication, whether derived from wire or radio facilities, in chain broadcasting
    or incidental to radio communication of any kind.
    (c) Any carrier who knowingly violates the provisions of this section shall
    forfeit to the United States the sum of $6,000 for each such offense and $300 for
    each and every day of the continuance of such offense.

    (Section 208 outli es the process of filing a complaint with the FCC)

    Other sections:

    1. In addition, we do not forbear from a limited number of sections necessary to ensure
      consumers are protected, promote competition, and advance universal access, all of which will foster
      network investment, thereby helping to promote broadband deployment.
    2. Section 222: Protecting Consumer Privacy. Ensuring the privacy of customer
      information both directly protects consumers from harm and eliminates consumer concerns about using
      the Internet that could deter broadband deployment. Among other things, section 222 imposes a duty on
      every telecommunications carrier to take reasonable precautions to protect the confidentiality of its
      customers’ proprietary information.47
      We take this mandate seriously. For example, the Commission
      recently took enforcement action under section 222 (and section 201(b)) against two telecommunications
      companies that stored customers’ personal information, including social security numbers, on
      unprotected, unencrypted Internet servers publicly accessible using a basic Internet search.48
      This
      unacceptably exposed these consumers to the risk of identity theft and other harms.
    3. As the Commission has recognized, “[c]onsumers’ privacy needs are no less important
      when consumers communicate over and use broadband Internet access than when they rely on [telephone]
      services.”
      49
      Thus, this Order finds that consumers concerned about the privacy of their personal
      information will be more reluctant to use the Internet, stifling Internet service competition and growth.50
      Application of section 222’s protections will help spur consumer demand for those Internet access services, in turn “driving demand for broadband connections, and consequently encouraging more
      broadband investment and deployment,” consistent with the goals of the 1996 Act.51

    4. Sections 225/255/251(a)(2): Ensuring Disabilities Access. We do not forbear from those
      provisions of Title II that ensure access to broadband Internet access service by individuals with
      disabilities. All Americans, including those with disabilities, must be able to reap the benefits of an open
      Internet, and ensuring access for these individuals will further the virtuous cycle of consumer demand,
      innovation, and deployment. This Order thus concludes that application of sections 225, 255, and
      251(a)(2) is necessary to protect consumers and furthers the public interest, as explained in greater detail
      below.
      52
    5. Section 224: Ensuring Infrastructure Access. For broadband Internet access service, we
      do not forbear from section 224 and the Commission’s associated procedural rules (to the extent they
      apply to telecommunications carriers and services and are, thus, within the Commission’s forbearance
      authority).53
      Section 224 of the Act governs the Commission’s regulation of pole attachments. In
      particular, section 224(f)(1) requires utilities to provide cable system operators and telecommunications
      carriers the right of “nondiscriminatory access to any pole, duct, conduit, or right-of-way owned or
      controlled” by a utility.54
      Access to poles and other infrastructure is crucial to the efficient deployment of
      communications networks including, and perhaps especially, new entrants.
    6. Section 254: Promoting Universal Broadband. Section 254 promotes the deployment
      and availability of communications networks to all Americans, including rural and low-income
      Americans—furthering our goals of more and better broadband. With the exception of 254(d), (g), and
      (k) as discussed below, we therefore do not find the statutory test for forbearance from section 254 (and
      the related provision in section 214(e)) is met. We recognize that supporting broadband-capable networks
      is already a key component of Commission’s current universal service policies. The Order concludes,
      however, that directly applying section 254 provides both more legal certainty for the Commission’s prior
      decisions to offer universal service subsidies for deployment of broadband networks and adoption of
      broadband services and more flexibility going forward.
    7. We partially forbear from section 254(d) and associated rules insofar as they would
      immediately require mandatory universal service contributions associated with broadband Internet access
      service.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 21 Jul 2021 @ 5:19pm

    RIght for all the wrong reasons

    The part I find the funniest is that industry stooge Powell is correct in what he's saying, just not in the way he thinks he is or wants people to think he is.

    The network neutrality 'debate' has been an expensive, dragged our process because the industry he serves throws fits over any regulations they haven't written, but that's entirely on them refusing to accept that there might be any limits to how badly they can fleece the public.

    Likewise if price regulations are even possibly on the table(they almost certainly aren't) that's probably because the companies involved have shown themselves to be so eager and quick to rip off their captive customers that regulating how badly they can do that starts to look like a reasonable choice if the government won't regulate them directly.

    To the extent that the problems he list exist they are entirely due to the industry he's cheering on which makes him using them to argue that regulations are absolutely not necessary beyond rich.

    As for Axios a pity but I guess another 'news' outlet has decided to turn PR firm, just posting whatever the hell someone hands them without question.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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