Bill To Restore Net Neutrality Moves Forward, And The Public Is Still Pissed

from the the-will-of-the-people dept

A new bill that would fully restore the FCC’s 2015 net neutrality rules took a major step forward this week.

Earlier this month Democrats introduced the Save The Internet Act, a three page bill that would do one thing: restore the 2015 net neutrality rules stripped away by Ajit Pai, as well as restore the FCC’s authority over broadband providers. As we’ve long noted, the net neutrality repeal didn’t just kill net neutrality, it gutted FCC authority over natural broadband monopolies, shoveling any remaining authority to an FTC experts have repeatedly warned lacks the authority or resources to adequately police giants like Comcast (the entire point of the lobbyist gambit).

This week the bill was marked up and approved by the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, though not before the telecom industry tried to shovel in some amendments to water down the bill. Those efforts didn’t work, at least according to net neutrality activists, because of the attention ordinary folks kept on what would have otherwise been an ignored process if we were talking about any other tech-related markup effort:

“At one point nearly 40,000 people were simultaneously watching Fight for the Future?s mirror of the livestream, which crashed several times because so many Internet users were tuning in. The live counter eventually broke, but Vimeo showed that more than 300,000 had tuned in.”

300,000 viewers of a committee markup and vote is pretty damn impressive. As we’ve noted for a long time, surveys repeatedly show that the bipartisan majority of Americans supported net neutrality and opposed the repeal. The giant middle finger delivered by Ajit Pai is pretty clearly still pissing people off. And at least some lawmakers at the hearing this morning understand that ignoring this unified opposition isn’t a particularly bright idea with 2020 looming:

“Inside the beltway, this is really about maybe five companies,? Representative Anna Eshoo said during the hearing. ?Across the country, the American people really get this. National polling shows that Republicans, Democrats, Independents support net neutrality. We?re still in the same old soup pot here. We need to take our lenses off and look across the country.”

There are a lot of folks (including the telecom industry) that will continue to try and claim that net neutrality isn’t important. Those folks are usually either shoveling an agenda, or they don’t really understand that (as noted above) the repeal of net neutrality didn’t just kill net neutrality. It crushed the government’s ability to rein in natural telecom monopolies, already running amok thanks to decades of eroded antitrust enforcement and little real competition.

Granted the bill still has a long road ahead. While it may pass the House, it will have an uphill climb in the Senate, then needs to avoid a Trump veto. But even if it fails, the process will create a handy voter scorecard ahead of 2020 for those looking to see who actually supports the will of the public, and who couldn’t give any less of a shit. That in turn could aid efforts to pass a real net neutrality law down the road if this restoration effort — and the ongoing lawsuit to reverse the repeal (by Mozilla and 23 state AGs) — both fall flat on their face.

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Comments on “Bill To Restore Net Neutrality Moves Forward, And The Public Is Still Pissed”

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Anonymous Coward says:

There are a lot of folks (including the telecom industry) that will continue to try and claim that net neutrality isn’t important.

I know personally that when I think something isn’t important i devote all of my energy, free time, and money into making sure other people know just how unimportant it is, so this tracks.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Ah yes, you are the self-appointed protector of all clueless newbies.

I didn’t claim I was. Where did I claim that? I merely said it’s important to point out your stupidity. Which is on full display again here.

Also extremely weak and rude.

I fail to see how it is any less weak or more rude than any of your comments in this thread.

No reflection on anyone but you.

Well, except for the fact that you’re an idiot.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

People should care because that annual $240 price hike means they will have that much less money in their bank account when the year is done, and for people who do not make a lot of money, $240 can still be a signficant loss.

People should care because that price hike will not be on cable, but on Internet access, and people who rely on the Internet for paying bills or searching for jobs will have to make some tough decisions if the hiked price is more than they can afford to pay.

People should care because a lack of Network Neutrality rules would allow ISPs — well, the major corporations that run ISPs, anyway — to eventually decide whether your connection to Netflix should be throttled but your connection to the ISP’s preferred (and likely inferior) video service runs just fine.

You can find reasons to care about Network Neutrality if you spend a little time researching the issue. If you cannot be bothered to do that, go away; nobody here wants to hear that you don’t care about Network Neutrality because it does nothing to further any conversation worth a good goddamn.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

I just wonder why it’s worth all this energy on all that futility for what amounts to very little money.

For people who make a less-than-living wage yet need to pay those bills so they can keep the Internet hooked up¹, $20 is not “very little money” — it can mean the difference in whether the Internet stays hooked up or the next round of grocery shopping is a little lighter.

¹ — And yes, the poor and disadvantaged can require the Internet for paying bills or communications with family or any number of reasons. That you may not believe so — or may not care — does not negate that reality.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5

Oh I get why you all care

Obviously you don’t.

I just wonder why it’s worth all this energy on all that futility for what amounts to very little money.

This is only partially related to money. It’s more about free and open access to the internet for everyone. But like I said, you don’t understand that.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5

why should I care?

Your apathy towards corporations gouging you for the sake of profits is why major corporations are able to gouge you without any real consequence. If you’re okay with Comcast steadily raising your bill to expand its bank account, more power to you, but that does not make you someone worth listening to on the matter. Come back here when you have an opinion with some depth that you can defend with something other than one-liners; otherwise, no one here gives a fuck about your expressed apathy, and no one ever will, so you can be gone and stay gone if apathy is all you ever plan to express.

JoeCool (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

He said $20 MORE a month, not $20 a month. And while some people don’t consider $20 worth stopping to pick up, millions of others would literally shank you over $20. Net neutrality also covers more than just simply higher bills, so it’s not simply paying $20 more a month. If it were, people would grumble, but that’s it. People are getting involved because it’s a lot more than just $20 more a month at stake.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Words have meanings. Your first statement:

Why am I supposed to care about something that won’t cost me more than $20 a month?

This states you pay only $20 a month for internet. If you meant something else then you should be more accurate in your statements. I’m sorry you fail to accurately express yourself in the English language.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: you will care....

When your $20 "phone service" turns into an unavoidable $200 "Unified Communications Charge" to provide LESS than the service you had before, you might care…. or you can just go back to sipping $10 latte’s and reading your "Telecom Life" (after they take over online communications, print publications are next…)

now where is my tinfoil hat???

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

If you’re only paying $20 a month for internet, you’re either getting crap internet or you don’t live in the US.

Meanwhile, the rest of us DO care because it costs far more than $20 a month for semi decent internet in the US. Plus we don’t want to see ISPs split up the internet into fast/slow lanes, break it up into cable-TV-like packages, or arbitrarily slow down or cut off services because they happened to have a competing service, etc…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Cable companies don’t force anyone to send them money. You have voluntarily agreed to send them that money. No reason you can’t voluntarily agree to send PaulT $10.

And while you’re at it, since you don’t care about $20, I’ll take the other $10 leftover from giving $10 to PaulT.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Umm…replied to the wrong commenter?

I understand that you really don’t have any other choice of ISP, but the other guy was making the claims that it was "only $20 more expensive". Not me.

He doesn’t seem to care about $20 and seems perfectly fine with paying said money to a company that is out to take advantage of him for a service he apparently doesn’t care about and could probably do without (in his mind at least).

Given that, he can’t really claim the cable company is forcing him to pay anything.

Anonymous Coward says:

we sign the checks, so...

good on us!
fight the power!
The removal of net neutrality would continue to propel us down the same anti-competitive-local-ISP-monolopies road trip that we’ve been on this whole time. Complete government control of the internet would, of course, be the pendulum swinging too far, but we definitely need SOME government oversight to bust up these monopolies. Ideally, I’d like to be able to chose from every major ISP (Comcast, Verizon, Spectrum), any small time local ISP, and a municipal ISP in (at least) every major US city.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: we sign the checks, so...

"The removal of net neutrality would continue to propel us down the same anti-competitive-local-ISP-monolopies road trip that we’ve been on this whole time."

Two completely different issues, one has nothing to do with the other.
Net Neutrality does nothing to address the lack of a competitive market and it was never intended to, why would you think that? Are you one of those who tries to muddy the water?

bob says:

ambiguous title.

I just wish the title of this article was different.

Instead of "and consumers are still pissed", say "and consumers are still concerned" or interested or something more descriptive.

Not because of the language but because the current title can be interpreted to mean consumers are pissed that NN is still moving forward. Instead of what was intended, that consumers are not ignoring this issue.

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