Calm Down Reddit: No, Mignon Clyburn Is NOT Trying To Undermine Net Neutrality Rules

from the don't-always-believe-what-you-read dept

A reminder: you can't always believe what you read on these here interwebs. Yesterday, an article appeared on The Hill which was originally titled "Democratic FCC commissioner balks at net neutrality rules" and claimed that one of the other FCC commissioners was looking to "water down" Tom Wheeler's net neutrality plans. Cue a total freakout -- especially on Reddit, where people started weaving complex conspiracy theories about how Clyburn was bought and paid for by Time Warner (which is, um, somewhat laughable if you know much about Clyburn). The piece on the Hill, by reporter Julian Hattem, appears to have totally misread what is actually happening, leading to totally unnecessary freakouts. In fact, after many people pointed this out, it appears that The Hill has changed its original headline so that it now reads "Eleventh-hour drama for net neutrality." And it's not even that dramatic. So, hey, Reddit, calm down!

What's actually happening is a bit complex, but Clyburn's concern is not just a reasonable one, it's one that's actually being raised by just about everyone on all sides of the debate. Believe it or not, Clyburn's suggestion is actually supported by everyone from Free Press to Google to AT&T. So calm down.

Remember that old "hybrid plan" that Tom Wheeler had experimentally floated a few months ago? The one that created an entirely new class of services, in which he tried to divide broadband providers into a new classification known as "sender side" so that he could issue rules for that new class of services, rather than having to "reclassify" broadband under Title II? Those rules that everyone hated? Well, it appears that after being convinced to actually go to full reclassification, Wheeler left in a bit of those rules as a sort of "in the alternative" justification for his new rules. However, just as pretty much everyone argued when the hybrid plan was floated, this attempt to create a new classification for "sender side" providers is fraught with serious legal problems, and would create a huge headache.

A few weeks ago, Free Press raised these concerns with the FCC. And last week, Google also raised similar concerns, pointing out that trying to split the baby in this way would also lead some ISPs to believing they could switch to a "sender pays" model of service, which would actually undermine net neutrality in very serious ways. And, just in case you thought this was only a concern from net neutrality supporters, AT&T raised the same concern just last week as well, listing out four separate reasons why the FCC couldn't magically create this newly defined service.

From what nearly everyone has been saying, Clyburn's request to Wheeler is to fix this, and get rid of the remnants of his bad hybrid rules, and keep the rules much more cleanly focused on reclassification. I've spoken with numerous folks in and around the FCC about all of this and they all note that this should actually make the net neutrality rules better and less susceptible to a legal challenge. In fact, many are claiming this makes the rules stronger when it comes to preventing interconnection disputes, which is where many of the big net neutrality fights have migrated.

So, to everyone freaking out that Clyburn is trying to weaken the rules: calm down. It doesn't appear to be happening. In fact, it's the opposite. You can't always believe what you read on the internet, especially when it comes to telco policy.

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  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 25 Feb 2015 @ 9:49am

    Obligatory meme

    When AT&T agrees with Google you know just how bad the hybrid approach was.

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

  • identicon
    Rudyard Holmbast, 25 Feb 2015 @ 10:42am

    I guess the Electronic Frontier Foundation must be in the backpocket of Verizon:

    https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/02/dear-fcc-rethink-those-vague-general-conduct-rules


    Over reach from an unelected government agency? How in the fuck in that possible? But hey, it's the federal government. It's not like agencies of that government are ever deliberately vague in order that they may do whatever the fuck they want while claiming they are within their rights to do so.

    This power grab is going to eventually be struck down in court, just like Comcast v. FCC and Verizon v. FCC. And when it is, the douchebags who pretended that a bunch of unelected bureaucrats would somehow act with a "light touch" are going to come off looking like the hypocritical dumbasses they are. Anyone pretending that government regulations will somehow not be abused or be interpreted in an insanely overbroad manner or won't be burdensome is too fucking stupid to continue commenting on this issue. Either that or you have been living in a cave since you were born. That is the only way you can miss every other government bureaucracy behaving in exactly the same fashion. The notion that the FCC will somehow be an exception because you really, really support "net neutrality" is fucking ludicrous.

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

    • identicon
      Rudyard Holmbast, 25 Feb 2015 @ 10:57am

      Re:

      I can't wait for the inevitable "One of the Vice Presidents of the EFF worked for Verizon" smear or a "Calm down EFF: The FCC is the exception to the government overreach rule" claim followed by an article filled with John Oliver quotes and unsubstantiated bullshit concerning how the EFF's fears are misplaced because the bloggers at this site say so. You know, the usual assertions about how "Net Neutrality" opponents are idiots, with the only "evidence" backing said assertions being "[x] worked at Verizon" or "his academic study is wrong because a [random net neutrality supporter] says so"; the typical nonsense found on this site. When it comes to "net neutrality" the geniuses at this site are about as knowledgeable as the Tumblr dumbass who was absolutely embarrassed on CNBC yesterday.


      That it took any of the clowns supporting this bullshit this long to raise a red flag concerning FCC "over reach" and "vagueness" is a testament to how fucking clueless "net neutrality" advocates are.

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

    • icon
      mattfwood (profile), 25 Feb 2015 @ 11:53am

      Re:

      Um, EFF supports Title II. So when you call people clueless, you might want to put yourself at the front of the line.

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

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 25 Feb 2015 @ 2:02pm

      Re:

      Because corporate overreach is never a thing.

      But thanks for the next potential imaginary conspiracy.

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

  • icon
    Dirk Belligerent (profile), 25 Feb 2015 @ 11:16am

    If Republicans Proposed This...

    If a Republican administration meddled with the FCC to impose this exact same scheme to seize regulatory control of the Internet in the manner that people are jizzing in their Boba Fett Underoos with joy about, they would be hammering their tiny fists on their hipster-approved mechanical keyboards raging against "the ruthless power grab which will result in expanded corporate power and control, strangling the free and open Internet, leading to higher prices and diminished service while they reap obscene profits.

    But because it's Obama's idea, it's automatically ASSumed to be a great idea because any idea coming from the liberal/progressive/statist/corporatist/fascist/Democrat side can't be anything but good, right? The same people who fap to photos of Edward Snowden (because he exposed Obama's spying) love the government takeover with the "net neutrality" Post-It note over the INGSOC letterhead because it gives them doubleplusgood bellyfeel and they can't recognize that the same Obama who spies on them will now control the Internet because Comcast sucks and this will supposedly hurt them.

    I half-hope this illegal extra-Constitutional power grab goes through so that when progress is stifled, prices go up, service goes down and the little punks are crying about it and demanding that the same government that fucked things up in the first place will act again to "fix" things, I'll just laugh at their dumb asses and sneer, "What did you morons thing was going to happen? What you were promised? Bwahahahahahahahaha!!!!"

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

    • icon
      mattfwood (profile), 25 Feb 2015 @ 11:54am

      Re: If Republicans Proposed This...

      Republicans did propose Net Neutrality rules, but they abdicated on the law. Noted unconstitutional communist leftist Antonin Scalia agreed and said it SHOULD BE a Title II service. But hey, fun hipster jokes.

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

    • icon
      orbitalinsertion (profile), 25 Feb 2015 @ 2:13pm

      Re: If Republicans Proposed This...

      Oh bullshit.
      1) Republicans have proposed this, and other things that Republicans like to call socialism and blame on someone else later when it doesn't fit their personal ideology or mythological history.
      2) What is your interest in making this a party-orientated? Also, it's laughable in the extreme to call Democrats liberal as if that actually followed.
      3) This is neither extra-Constitutional, nor a power grab.
      4) Whenever Obama promotes or does anything that the Republicans have already done (or are currently doing), it's somehow magically socialist and wrong just when he does it.
      5) Where were you when the Republican presidents were spying as much as technologically possible? Or were they magically doing something completely different? And what of the current Republicans fighting the President and shutting down spy operations, refusing to renew the Patriot Act, and causing general disruption? Oh wait, they never do that.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 26 Feb 2015 @ 4:54am

      Re: If Republicans Proposed This...

      But because it's Obama's idea, it's automatically ASSumed to be a great idea because any idea coming from the liberal/progressive/statist/corporatist/fascist/Democrat side can't be anything but good, right?

      Considering that most of the same people were pushing Michael Powell and Kevin Martin (FCC chairs under GWB) for basically the same proposal, uh, no.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2015 @ 11:48am

    Sigh...

    I don't know why people think we can fix the problems caused by government intervention with more government intervention.

    Definition of insanity and all that.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 25 Feb 2015 @ 3:41pm

      Re:

      As opposed to... what exactly? Doing nothing and hoping the problem magically fixes itself?

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

      • identicon
        Pragmatic, 26 Feb 2015 @ 6:20am

        Re: Re:

        No, he's hoping that Oz the Great and Terrible (AKA the Market) will step in and fix it by the power of Grayskull, I mean supply and demand.

        This delusion comes courtesy of forgetting that the duopoly stranglehold in place at the moment was created by the corporations, not the government.

        Whoops!

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


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