In Wake Of Trump Win, ISPs Are Already Laying The Groundwork For Gutting Net Neutrality

from the deep-shit dept

With Donald Trump now the President elect, all eyes in telecom have turned to what happens now in regards to FCC telecom enforcement generally, and our shiny new net neutrality rules specifically. Trump has proclaimed he opposes net neutrality, despite making it abundantly clear he doesn't appear to actually know what it is (he appears to falsely believe it has something to do with the fairness doctrine). As such most people believe he'll work to gut the current FCC, which as we've noted has, for the first time in arguably twenty years or so, actually been doing a few things to actually help broadband consumers and sector competition.

Trump is said to have appointed Jeffrey Eisenach, "a crusader against regulation," who has consistently criticized current FCC boss Tom Wheeler, to handle his telecom transition team:
In 2012 Eisenach arrived as a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute — and in that role, he’s been an outspoken antagonist of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and his policies. In his research and advocacy, often backed by tech and telecom interests, he's slammed the Obama administration's efforts on net neutrality, broadband investment and more.
As such, any newly-configured FCC is more than a little likely to consist of the kind of revolving door regulators that either will move to strip back net neutrality protections (difficult but not impossible), or (potentially more likely) simply refuse to enforce them. ISPs are already making it clear they see an opportunity to role back "onerous FCC regulations" at the behest of giant ISPs -- likely in the form of a complete Communications Act rewrite courtesy of the Republican-controlled House and Senate.

This enthusiasm includes former Congressman Rick Boucher, who at one point in time was a fantastic crusader for fair use rights, but has since made his living playing parrot for the telecom industry over at Sidley Austin, a law firm that effectively acts as an AT&T policy arm. Not wasting any time, an e-mail dropped into Techdirt's inbox this morning by the Internet Innovation Alliance (also part of AT&T's telecom policy efforts), featuring Boucher proclaiming that it was time to "return to the bi-partisan light regulatory oversight of broadband":
The first order of business for the new FCC should be a return to the bi-partisan light regulatory oversight of broadband launched during the Clinton administration. The decision to treat broadband as an information service unleashed a wave of investment in internet infrastructure that enabled our communications network to become the envy of the world. That progress has been undermined by the Commission's decision to treat broadband as a telecommunications service with regulatory requirements designed for the monopoly era of rotary telephones. Few regulatory changes would do more to promote investment and a stronger U.S. economy than a return to the time-honored light regulatory regime for broadband.
If you're playing along at home and don't speak telecom sock-puppet, Boucher's effectively arguing Trump should back off the FCC's recent decision to reclassify ISPs as common carriers (which put the FCC on the proper legal footing to enforce net neutrality) and return to the FCC's earlier mantra of going out of its way to avoid doing much of anything that would hinder incumbent ISP profits. That's unfortunate, given that this was a period during which we pretended that if we let ISPs dictate all regulation they would magically deploy amazing new competitive broadband networks.

Generally speaking, most of you should be able to see how well that worked out for us based on, well, looking at Comcast or your over-priced and slow AT&T DSL line. Meanwhile pay TV providers like Dish, rather unsurprisingly, made it clear they see this being a possible end to net neutrality:
That said, it's worth reminding people that while Democrats were already waffling on the net neutrality rules they helped pass (Clinton was expected to be overly cozy with telecom in her own right), a Trump FCC is likely to be notably, significantly worse for broadband consumers and net neutrality. The FCC's recent decision to pass some basic privacy protections for broadband users is certain to face turbulence, and efforts to bring competition to the cable box and the broadband sector in general will be all-but-certainly derailed.

In other words there's every indication that we're headed back in time -- to a bygone era not that long ago where folks like AT&T and Comcast dictated policy to FCC Democrats and Republicans alike, resulting in a weak-kneed regulator whose sole purpose was to dumbly nod each and every time AT&T, Verizon, Comcast or Charter made a policy proposal.

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  • icon
    aerinai (profile), 9 Nov 2016 @ 11:55am

    What is worse than a Dingo?

    Well, after 8 hard-fought years to get a piece of paper that no one was enforcing (Net Neutrality), we are now going to throw away that piece of paper because someone in the future might enforce it. At least this way it buys them 8 more years....

    If Wheeler was a baby-eating dingo, what exactly would that make Eisenach?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2016 @ 1:08pm

    Secure VPN anyone?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2016 @ 1:08pm

    maybe if...

    those pesky citizens would change the diaper that is congress instead of expecting the president to fix everything right up for them, it would not be such a problem.

    The problem is Congress not Bammy, and not Drumpf!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2016 @ 1:21pm

    God I just feel sick to my stomach. A huge majority of the US is doing everything they can to eliminate innovation from our country. We just swallowed the barrel and are now reaching for the trigger.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2016 @ 2:37pm

      Re:

      No, we just torched the political establishment. And now we're reaching for the brick and mortar.

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

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 10 Nov 2016 @ 12:10am

        "We just torched the political establishment."

        No. You elected a guy who promised to magically fix things, implying at most he'll torch the establishment.

        It sounds like he plans on serving an already established platform, just the one other than Obama's.

        Don't hold your breath waiting for his mass reformations.

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

      • identicon
        Dingledore the Mildly Uncomfortable When Seated, 10 Nov 2016 @ 4:53am

        Re: Re:

        How did you torch the political establishment?

        You rock the establishment by providing opposition, not by removing it.

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

    • icon
      DebbyS (profile), 10 Nov 2016 @ 9:57am

      Re: Anonymous "A huge majority"

      I'm assuming you mean "a huge majority of the voters", but interestingly, Clinton won the popular vote by around 250,000 votes (as of the last count at
      http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS/national.php
      ). Not that she would be innovative unless she gets the big $$$ to be, IMO, but it's likely she'd understand innovation better than DJT and his handlers.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2016 @ 1:25pm

    This is just....ugh.

    Is there any way someone can stroke Trump's ego enough to get him to re-appoint Wheeler instead? Ego-stroking is one of the few things that seems to get through to Trump.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2016 @ 1:48pm

      Re:

      The good things Wheeler did are too difficult to understand by simpletons.

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

      • identicon
        David, 10 Nov 2016 @ 2:41am

        Re: Re:

        So we need some Mexican that Wheeler can punch in public and some woman he can call names and harrass? I mean, think of the common good and volunteer. I don't even think it has to be a real Mexican or woman. Lookalikes would probably do the job just as well.

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

    • icon
      DebbyS (profile), 10 Nov 2016 @ 10:00am

      Re: Anonymous Coward, "ego stroking"

      He'll pass anything confusing (which for him is 99% of what he hears) (it is thought he is illiterate, so don't write him a letter) -- he'll pass it on to Pence, who is the one who has to be stroked. Good luck with that, because Pence will enjoy it, but proceed to do whatever the far right has always dreamed of doing.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2016 @ 2:20pm

    this is why we must fight harder then ever for net neutrality and the free internet, this is a set back but not all is lost as long as we keep fighting this

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2016 @ 5:18pm

      Re:

      I just got a dumb 1TB CAP on my Comcast Account. TRUMP didn't do that!! I have to fork out another $50 just to get what I already had!!! All in the name of so called FAIRNESS, which is laughable. They just don't want to become a dumb pipe.

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

      • icon
        dfed (profile), 10 Nov 2016 @ 8:55am

        Re: Re:

        "They just don't want to become a dumb pipe."

        No, they want to be AOL and Prodigy for the 21st century and control not just your internet experience, but all media and communication.

        Gatekeeping is control, control is money.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 10:57am

          Re: Re: Re:

          they wont be able to control are internet experience let alone all media and communication, the ISP will never be the Gatekeepers

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

  • icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 9 Nov 2016 @ 2:44pm

    "...that enabled our communications network to become the envy of the world."

    Which world is that? Bizaro World?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2016 @ 3:34pm

      Re:

      As a european, american internet has always been seen as a good thing to look at for finding out how not to do it!

      We have been looking to Sweden and South Korea with envy. USA haven't had a communications network that was an envy of the world for the last 30 years at least. Boucher seems to have an onerous relation to the truth, if he isn't straight up a lying man with no decency left.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 9 Nov 2016 @ 7:02pm

      Re:

      Maybe it's 'envy' along the lines of "I am so glad I don't live in the US and have to deal with their crap network." Nothing else would be even remotely accurate.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2016 @ 3:10pm

    The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

    Everyone please stay calm and head for the nearest exit in an orderly manner.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2016 @ 3:30pm

      Re: The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

      > Everyone please stay calm and head for the nearest exit in an orderly manner.

      Canada?

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2016 @ 5:21pm

      Re: The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

      Please go,.... Maybe Cuba is the place for you all. Obama really seems to like it. So what if there's a brutal dictator still running the country. So many wanted the same with America with Obama in office forever.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 5:47am

        Re: Re: The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

        Ignorance is treatable ... stupidity not so much.

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

      • icon
        Niall (profile), 10 Nov 2016 @ 8:07am

        Re: Re: The sky is falling, the sky is falling!

        The only people who believed this were alt-right conspiracy nutjobs. I've never seen liberals espouse this.

        And why would wanting to not live in an authoritarian oligarchy suddenly make a 'despotic' Cuba attractive? Or are you so far to the right that centrists and communists look about the same?

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

  • icon
    Nurlip (profile), 9 Nov 2016 @ 3:17pm

    All of this is especially hilarious considering the financial impact deregulation of ISPs and telecoms will have on the uneducated whites that elected Trump. "My internets is now only $35/month but them websites is sure expensive. Wait, porn ain't free no more?! That damn Hilary!?"

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2016 @ 3:32pm

      Re:

      The left is the most racist, bigoted, condescending group of people I have ever met. Just look at the comments, tweets, Facebook posts, news articles and comments by the politicians. We are called every name in the book including deplorable. For the most part you do not see this from the right. How you think this country will ever get along with the hate the comes from your mouths I will never know.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2016 @ 3:39pm

        Re: Re:

        "Deplorable" isn't a racist or bigoted word. It's a polite way of saying "does things I don't like".

        Endlessly blaming people for problems based on their skin color and/or gender is by far the biggest problem with the left. There is not the slightest doubt in my mind the racial and gender shaming that's commonplace among the left disaffected enough liberal Democrats to just not vote at all. Because if the choice is Trump or someone surrounded by people who hate you based on physical attributes you're born with, voting ends up as a choice between two awful candidates.

        Hell, Nurlip blaming whites several posts above is an example of this problem. His case is minor, but still an issue.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 5:52am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The ever present left/right dogma is the keystone of bigoted arguments. People will dismiss you when you can not articulate a point of view, opinion or argument without invoking your bullshit dogma.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2016 @ 3:39pm

        Re: Re:

        "Deplorable" isn't a racist or bigoted word. It's a polite way of saying "does things I don't like".

        Endlessly blaming people for problems based on their skin color and/or gender is by far the biggest problem with the left. There is not the slightest doubt in my mind the racial and gender shaming that's commonplace among the left disaffected enough liberal Democrats to just not vote at all. Because if the choice is Trump or someone surrounded by people who hate you based on physical attributes you're born with, voting ends up as a choice between two awful candidates.

        Hell, Nurlip blaming whites several posts above is an example of this problem. His case is minor, but still an issue.

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

      • identicon
        SpaceLifeForm, 9 Nov 2016 @ 3:46pm

        Casebook example of self delusion

        Wow, just fucking wow.

        Just switch the left and right
        and read it again.

        It is all downhill from here.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2016 @ 4:06pm

          Re: Casebook example of self delusion

          I am sorry that you have only just now realized your delusion. But the first step to solving a problem is admitting you have a problem. Please help your liberal friends see their bigotry for what it is and things will get better.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2016 @ 5:16pm

            Re: Re: Casebook example of self delusion

            Ahhh, hate to break it to ya buddy - but everyone, including you (shocker!), are biased.

            Can you admit it?

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2016 @ 5:32pm

              Re: Re: Re: Casebook example of self delusion

              Biased? Yes. Racist, sexist, bigoted, blah, blah, blah. No. I have seen Facebook posts where lefties are crying so hard they actually believe there will be blood in the streets because the right will start killing people. I have no idea how these people even get out of bed in the morning with that kind of unwarranted fear!? I mean, if the past is any predictor of the future, and this stuff hasn't been happening before or going on right now; how do they dream this up?

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

              • identicon
                David, 10 Nov 2016 @ 2:46am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Casebook example of self delusion

                You mean the right isn't pro law-and-order and death penalty and drone fights and a strong military and "war on terrorism"? All that is very much about "killing people". A whole lot of them.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 5:18am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Casebook example of self delusion

                  Let's see here; Obama loved killing people with drones, including American citizens. Gitmo is still open, still have troops in harms way. Explain to me again how peaceful the left is?

                  But the killing I was referring to was libs saying that we would be killing people here in the US. Proves how irrational and emotional libs are.

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

                  • identicon
                    David, 10 Nov 2016 @ 5:49am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Casebook example of self delusion

                    Characterizing Obama as either "left" or "liberal" seems like a stretch if you are living in a civilized country.

                    If the U.S.A. political system were a plane it would not be flightworthy since a plane needs a left wing and a right wing, not two right wings in minimal distance.

                    It's sort of built like a flatfish.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 5:59am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Casebook example of self delusion

                fwiw: racism, sexism, bigotry are all a form of bias.

                you said:
                "they actually believe there will be blood in the streets "

                I ask:
                Have you been watching the news in the past idk, few decades? Shit's been going down like forever, nothing new here .. but don't let that stop you from feeling entitled. I guess people of color are not human and therefore do not count? Is this what you really think? Sure seems that way.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2016 @ 11:33am

        Re: Re:

        I know you are, but what am I

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 18 Nov 2016 @ 12:10pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Gigi has announced she's cut out the middleman and taken a job working directly for Soros. Wheeler will go back to small-time investing, and even Obama wants to be a VC after he moves out of the White House.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2016 @ 5:54pm

      Re:

      in the end I dont think they will be able to deregulate ISPs and telecoms without huge protests and riots expressly if they hike up prices to $35/month and if they block or force people to pay for websites let alone porn all hell will break lose

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 8:38am

      Re:

      All of this is especially hilarious considering the financial impact deregulation of ISPs and telecoms will have on the uneducated whites that elected Trump.

      Calling someone who voted for Trump uneducated is like calling them racists, fascists, etc. It doesn't help your argument any and it really makes you look bad.

      Not everyone who voted for Trump was uneducated (ignorant, yes you could very much argue that and I'd agree with you on it, but not uneducated.) I know a great deal of folks who voted for him who had master's and doctor's degrees, including a medical doctor, and I'd have a hard time saying they were uneducated. Yes, there probably were many in the set of people who voted for Trump who were uneducated, or racist, or fascist, but the entire set was not those things.

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

      • icon
        nasch (profile), 11 Nov 2016 @ 5:53am

        Re: Re:

        I know a great deal of folks who voted for him who had master's and doctor's degrees, including a medical doctor...

        That is hard to get my head around. I know it's true but I can't make sense of it.

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

  • identicon
    Whatever, 9 Nov 2016 @ 4:13pm

    An end to net neutrality? And it's not even my birthday.

    Kiss me, Richard Bennett. We will dance the night away on Google's festering corpse.

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

  • icon
    Anon E. Mous (profile), 9 Nov 2016 @ 5:02pm

    While the Telco's and ISP's would love to see a rollback in policy and be allowed to fuck the consumer carte-blanche like they are already doing , they ought to remember how the people and a lot of Internet companies came strongly out against these very changes.

    Trump would be well advised that the SOPA style rage that came out against SOPA may rear it's head once again if the Telco & ISP's try to screw the public once again, citizens will definitely be pissed in ways that Trump wouldnt like if he allows the ISP's & Telco's to gouge the consumer any further.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Nov 2016 @ 6:39pm

    They got it backwards

    _The decision to treat broadband as an information service unleashed a wave of investment in internet infrastructure that enabled our communications network to become the envy of the world_

    Yeah, about that, I don't believe our overall internet infrastructure is envied so much as it's pitied.

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

  • identicon
    David, 10 Nov 2016 @ 12:39am

    How is being clueless a problem?

    Trump has proclaimed he opposes net neutrality, despite making it abundantly clear he doesn't appear to actually know what it is (he appears to falsely believe it has something to do with the fairness doctrine).

    So? Take a look at the Affordable Healthcare Act. Modelled after Romney's Massachusetts healthcare legislation, the Democrats thought that surely Republicans would not object to a plan in line with that of their own presidential candidate and implemented policy.

    Now just call it "Obamacare" and everybody is against it. Simple as that.

    All that Trump needs to do is call net neutrality "Obamanet" and it's dead.

    People will be out in the streets demanding their right not to have the right of choosing their own broadband provider.

    U.S. policymaking is as stupid as that. If you want to bet against the stupidity of people, you'll end up on the side of the losers.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 5:57am

    Re: uneducated whites that elected Trump

    Presumably your referring to Debbie Wasserman-Shulz?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Nov 2016 @ 6:35am

    I knew it, I knew it. Trump guilty.

    Really?
    Seems like media whores still don't get it. We need real change, and that is why Clinton was disposed of.

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

    • identicon
      David, 10 Nov 2016 @ 6:44am

      Re:

      We need real change, and that is why Clinton was disposed of.

      Well, I agree with needing real change. Problem just is that a real change for the worse is not helping.

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

      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 10 Nov 2016 @ 7:32am

        Re: Re:

        It actually is. This is hopefully the administration that proves that the alt-right view of "limited government," i.e. "let corporations run amok and drop taxes on the people who actually have the money" is utter twaddle. Bush II didn't settle the question but Trump should.

        This doesn't mean I automatically favour regulating "all the things!" It does mean that where there is a boxing match we need the Queensberry rules to be enforced by a referee willing to stand up to either boxer.

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

        • icon
          sorrykb (profile), 10 Nov 2016 @ 9:00am

          Re: Re: Re:

          This is hopefully the administration that proves that the alt-right view of "limited government," i.e. "let corporations run amok and drop taxes on the people who actually have the money" is utter twaddle.

          That's not cause to celebrate.

          This isn't some abstract intellectual exercise. The cost of this proof will be huge, and will be borne disproportionately by those who can least afford it.

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

  • icon
    wereisjessicahyde (profile), 10 Nov 2016 @ 7:28am

    Whaa?

    "...that enabled our communications network to become the envy of the world"

    'envy of the world'? Sure it is mate. In your own tiny little mind.

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

  • icon
    Richard Bennett (profile), 11 Nov 2016 @ 1:18pm

    That pesky revolving door

    So Wheeler and Gigi Sohn will go back to private sector lobbying for Google, Netflix, and Facebook.

    That's the way of the world, kids.

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


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