Comcast Is Trying To Ban States From Protecting Broadband & TV Consumers

from the this-will-surely-end-well dept

We've repeatedly tried to make it clear that while everybody tends to focus on the death of net neutrality itself, the Pai FCC's "Restoring Internet Freedom" order killing net neutrality had a far broader impact than just killing net neutrality rules. As part of the repeal, Comcast, Verizon and AT&T also convinced FCC boss Ajit Pai to effectively neuter FCC authority over ISPs entirely, making it harder for the agency to hold giant ISPs accountable on a wide variety of issues ranging from privacy to transparency (the recent fire fighter kerfuffle being a prime example).

The order also attempts to ban individual states from holding giant ISPs accountable as well, though early ISP efforts to take advantage of this legal language haven't gone very well. In an effort to double down on weakening state oversight of natural telecom monopolies, Comcast lobbyists at the NCTA (the cable industry's biggest lobbying and policy organization) have also started petitioning the FTC, urging it to similarly "pre-empt" (read: ban or ignore) state-level efforts to protect consumers:

"The FTC should ensure that the Internet is subject to uniform, consistent federal regulations, including by issuing guidance explicitly setting forth that inconsistent state and local requirements are preempted," the NCTA wrote.

The FCC is already trying to preempt state net neutrality laws at the urging of industry groups, and courts might ultimately have to decide whether federal agencies can preempt such rules.

"The FTC should endorse and reinforce the FCC's ruling by issuing guidance to state attorneys general and consumer protection authorities reaffirming that they are bound by FCC and FTC precedent in this arena," NCTA argued."

The shorter version: the FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom order effectively cripples the FCC's ability to protect consumers, then shovels any remaining enforcement authority over to the FTC, which is ill-equipped to actually police the telecom market. Predicting that states would then try to jump in and fill the oversight accountability vacuum (which is precisely what started happening on both net neutrality and privacy), ISPs have also been urging both the FCC and the FTC to ban states from doing so.

This is all being done under the pretense that blind deregulation of the telecom sector magically results in greater industry investment and broader deployment. But as we've explained countless times, that's not how the U.S. telecom sector works. With neither competition nor reasonable government oversight to constrain it, natural monopolies like Comcast are simply free to double down on all their worst behaviors. To ignore this historical fact, one is required to pretend that the broadband industry is actually competitive, something Comcast again leans on in its filing with the FTC:

"ISPs claim they face so much competition that market forces will prevent bad behavior. Cable TV faces competition from online video services like Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon, NCTA noted. But notably, the NCTA filing includes a graphic listing "competitors" that doesn't include any broadband providers."

None of this logic is new. It was the same argument used by former FCC head Mike Powell (now the top lobbyist of the cable industry), who happily deregulated the broadband sector in the early aughts promising a cornucopia of investment and competition (consumers instead got a bigger Comcast monopoly, skyrocketing prices, usage caps, and virtually no competition at faster speeds). Oddly, giving giant telecom monopolies the precise regulatory landscape they want (no oversight, no concern about monopoly power) doesn't end well for consumers, innovation, or competition.

That this is still debated speaks to how lost in the woods on these issues we've become. And like Charlie Brown and his football, we never seem to learn, so nothing changes. And our reward for this collective gullibility is expensive broadband, comically-terrible customer service, and a bigger, meaner Comcast.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2018 @ 6:25am

    i wonder how long b4 the pricks in congress fall over themselves to give then, yet again, what they want and how much Comcast is prepared to pay to get it done?? i doubt if we'll have very long to wait!!

    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, 30 Aug 2018 @ 6:44am

      Re:

      I wonder how long b4 the pricks voting these bastards in will fall over themselves to vote the same bought and paid for bastards?

      As long as you keep blaming the WRONG people the problem does not get solved!

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

      • icon
        Gary (profile), 30 Aug 2018 @ 6:55am

        Re: Re: Wrong

        As long as you keep blaming the WRONG people the problem does not get solved!

        Since you are an unidentified poster, which "Obvious simple" solution would that be? The one where you declare that laws don't apply to you (SovCit) or the one where we magically create competition by removing regulations without meaningful steps to break up the monopolies?

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

        • icon
          Killercool (profile), 30 Aug 2018 @ 7:03am

          Re: Re: Re: Wrong

          Ooh! Ooh!

          Don't forget to make confused statements about EEEE-vil Corporations owning everybody, and if not for regulations, the free market would have stopped them.

          Even though that's the exact opposite of what happened from 1850-1920.

          And the fact that copyright is a government regulation.

          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, 30 Aug 2018 @ 7:27am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong

            I guess coherence is not one of your attributes huh?

            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, 30 Aug 2018 @ 7:25am

          Re: Re: Re: Wrong

          I support Anti-Monopoly and Anti-Trust regulations.

          My question for you is when will you get tired of lying? O wait, I keep forgetting... lies are the only game you got.

          And to point out my other argument... we have had those regulations for a while and they failed too, because of folks like you. Let me explain how it all worked out.

          Ma Bell created a monopoly.
          Anti-Monopoly laws did not stop them because the regulators themselves failed, NOT because the regulations were bad.
          Then folks got tired of the regulatory failure and guess what they did? Asked for moar regulation.
          Guess what the politicans learned?
          If we fail, they give us moar power? Why again should we actually do anything that works? They will give us moar power when we fail, and guess what! We can even make regulatory agencies so when they do fail... we can blame them! Those fucking losers will NEVER know what hit them!

          I don't know why you think I would be a SovCit, but I guess being intelligent is not something you are familiar with.

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

          • icon
            Gary (profile), 30 Aug 2018 @ 7:31am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong

            I don't know why you think I would be a SovCit,

            Why? Because the SovCits always post as Cowards - because, and I'm trying to understand this, if they post with a name, they have granted authority to Mike to make them slaves.
            So I was careful to frame that with the possibility you were the other kind of Coward, that misstates the history of natural monopolies and ignores the example of European ISPs, and that all regulatory agencies are impositions on the Free Market.

            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, 30 Aug 2018 @ 7:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong

              "Why? Because the SovCits always post as Cowards"

              Ohh... is there some reason you need a name up here? I am just to lazy to give a fuck about making accounts. If you don't like that excuse, I have an ass, you can kiss it, no wait... I would not want your nasty fucking lips on that! So sod off instead eh?

              "So I was careful to frame that with the possibility you were the other kind of Coward, that misstates the history of natural monopolies and ignores the example of European ISPs,"

              I misstated no history of the natural monopolies, just exposing the lies you are peddling about them. And I don't give a shit about the example the Europeans ISP's are setting last I checked they are well on their way to a surveillance state where freedom of speech is already lost. You want that you can have it, but don't come to me and tell me to look towards a bunch of idiots that are near destruction. Europe is going to look very different in the next 30 years...

              "and that all regulatory agencies are impositions on the Free Market."

              Damn you are a fucking knob that just does not have a fucking clue!

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

              • icon
                Stephen T. Stone (profile), 30 Aug 2018 @ 8:54am

                Europe is going to look very different in the next 30 years

                Oh dear lord, you’re a SovCit and a racist.

                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, 30 Aug 2018 @ 9:08am

                  Re:

                  Wait making a factual observation is now racist? Well, I guess if you are going to be that stupid, just go for broke eh?

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2018 @ 5:53pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong

                Oh look it’s mister “I never insult anybody unless they insult me first.”

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

        • identicon
          Chip, 30 Aug 2018 @ 10:13am

          Re: Re: Re: Wrong

          You are LIAR!Q I have Lots and "lots" of Solutions! I have SO many SOLUTIONS! Why must you Syophantic "Idiots" ALWAYS "lie" and say that I have NO solutions?

          Every Nation eats the Paint chips it Deserves!

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2018 @ 9:24pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Wrong

            >Every Nation eats the Paint chips it Deserves!

            Translation: "I'm a vengeful idiot who enjoys seeing people I disagree with suffer."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2018 @ 6:33am

    States rights, no longer just for bigots.

    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, 30 Aug 2018 @ 6:46am

      Re:

      lol... I don't think these guys are intelligent enough to understand the irony here!

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2018 @ 8:52am

        Re: Re:

        You underestimate your self proclaimed enemies.

        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, 30 Aug 2018 @ 9:05am

          Re: Re: Re:

          they are not enemies, just idiots.

          They can figure shit out when they get rid of their ignorance.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Newt Rallity, 30 Aug 2018 @ 6:35am

    "uniform, consistent federal regulations" would be neutrality.

    But how many more shrieky little rehashes of "the sky is falling!" are you going to do without a bit of actual harm? You've already got a rep for that, you know.

    By the way, I don't agree that broadband is "expensive". You're just not getting unlimited HD video on your phone the way you want for one fixed low price effectively subsidized by those who just use it for a few voice or texts.


    You know, you kids don't and perhaps can't enjoy the best time in human history ever! You're always complaining of oppression. Lighten up, kid. You aren't starving, never even have to meet a writing schedule, let alone labor. Throw your stupid little phones away, you'll be happier.

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

    • icon
      Killercool (profile), 30 Aug 2018 @ 6:47am

      Re: "uniform, consistent federal regulations" would be neutrality.

      I know, right?

      If the ISPs could have proven actual harm caused by net neutrality instead of just claiming (in opposition to their own reports to shareholders!) that it was damaging investment, maybe the vast majority of the public would have come out on their side, instead of what actually happened.

      Their constant shrieking about how "the sky is falling" were really annoying, though.


      You're making a lot of assumptions about whoever you're calling "kid", though.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 30 Aug 2018 @ 7:00am

      how many more shrieky little rehashes of "the sky is falling!" are you going to do without a bit of actual harm?

      Are you asking us, or are you asking Comcast?

      I don't agree that broadband is "expensive".

      United States broadband is expensive when compared to countries such as Japan, which offers much faster speeds for a lower price than Americans would pay for those same speeds.

      kids

      You are the only one here who sounds like a child—to be precise, you sound like a whiny brat.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2018 @ 8:38am

      Re: "uniform, consistent federal regulations" would be neutrality.

      That's not what neutrality means.

      American broadband internet is literally expensive compared to broadband in other 1st-world countries.

      Your attempt to redefine words is a joke.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2018 @ 8:58am

      Re: "uniform, consistent federal regulations" would be neutrality.

      Man, this is the funniest post all week.

      I gave you a +1 on LOL... unless you were serious.

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

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 30 Aug 2018 @ 9:34am

      Re: "uniform, consistent federal regulations" would be neutrality.

      Look!


      I know how to use the _ key to make lines on my comments!

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 30 Aug 2018 @ 7:21am

    'It's not fair, we didn't want ANY rules(that we didn't write)!"

    "The FTC should ensure that the Internet is subject to uniform, consistent federal regulations, including by issuing guidance explicitly setting forth that inconsistent state and local requirements are preempted," the NCTA wrote.

    We had those, they were the network neutrality rules and privacy rules, and you killed both of them with the help of your stooge in the FCC and tools in congress. It was only after the 'uniform, consistent federal regulations' were killed that the states felt the need to step in and do it themselves, making this a problem entirely of Comcast and company's making.

    Claiming that they want consistent federal rules after killing them... why, it's almost as though they're lying through their teeth and in fact don't want any rules that they themselves didn't write.

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

  • identicon
    Iggy, 30 Aug 2018 @ 8:14am

    The telcos stand up for every important and noble issue!

    When petitioning the government for financial aid in building out networks, they are for universal access to internet and Title II.

    When Google Fiber or another overbuilder comes to town, they are in favor of minimizing environmental impact, nuissance levels. They are for the sanctity of property rights for their utility poles built in front of peoples houses without asking them.

    When the Obama FCC tried to preempt state laws banning municipal networks, they were in favor of State Rights and against burdensome regulation.

    When the states try to enact their own Net Neutrality laws, they are in favor of uniformity and regulation.

    When the Trump FCC throws out Net Neutrality on the Federal level, they are for public safety. They are against Title II as burdensome regulation.

    When firefighters get throttled after signing up for a phony "unlimited" data plan designed to upsell them, they think its a shame were all so confused.

    You have to admire their nobility and activism!

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

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 30 Aug 2018 @ 8:36am

      Re: The telcos stand up for every important and noble issue!

      Your saying the telcos have more than two faces? I tend to agree, but it's getting crowded. They are going to wind up not actually understanding what they believe, except that some things earn them more money, and other don't.

      Getting Congress to just pass a law that guarantees not only certain levels of profit, but growth in profit along with overall growth, forever, is just a bit beyond their reach, so far.

      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, 30 Aug 2018 @ 8:42am

      Re: The telcos stand up for every important and noble issue!

      Yep, but the politicians gave them all of those BS loopholes to work with.

      Again, stop blaming the Telcos for playing the game that the Regulators and Politicians came up with. This has been my eternal complaint there.

      The politicians sucker you guys and make you think they are working for you, they are not. They are creating these legal loopholes and gimmicks to make you think they did their part while the companies are still bad. Companies don't give a shit, they just want money and they will do whatever they can to get it.

      When you get the politicians to fix it, then we can get somewhere, until then this is what we are going to get... BS gimmicks and loopholes that allow these businesses to screw us and the entire time folks continue to avoid blaming the MOTHERFUCKING PROBLEM!

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2018 @ 8:59am

        Re: Re: The telcos stand up for every important and noble issue!

        You seem to be missing a piece of the puzzle.

        Corporations fund PACS who fund politicians who rubber stamp legislation written by PACS in order to run roughshod over the minions in their sprint to the bottom line payoff big bonus .... and you want others to believe your story about how it is their fault for this crapfest - gaslighting is for pimps.

        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, 30 Aug 2018 @ 9:11am

          Re: Re: Re: The telcos stand up for every important and noble issue!

          I am not missing that. At the end of the day it the blame of the politician for accepting those "legal bribes".

          If you feel gaslit, then there is probably a reason for it. Politicians spend a lot of their time tricking knobs like you into believing everyone else but them are the problem.

          Read this article by Charley Reese that reveals folks like you for the fucking knobs you are!

          https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/545-people/

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

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 30 Aug 2018 @ 9:22am

            fucking knobs

            I am a goddamn crank and you should damn well address me as such.

            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, 30 Aug 2018 @ 9:23am

              Re:

              okay, you are a crank! I will try to remember that!

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2018 @ 5:56pm

                Re: Re:

                Might be hard for you as you seem to keep forgetting that you get your shit pushed in every time you make the same stupid arguement about regulations and then you call everyone stupid and run away.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2018 @ 10:10am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: The telcos stand up for every important and noble issue!

            "Politicians spend a lot of their time tricking knobs like you into believing everyone else but them are the problem."

            Finger wagging will get you nowhere other than laughed at.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2018 @ 9:54am

        Re: Re: The telcos stand up for every important and noble issue!

        You are as much an absolutists as any theocrat, and just as dangerous because you want what you want and will not look at alternative ideas, or compromise to make progress.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2018 @ 8:34am

    Regulatory Capture

    Regulatory capture is a form of government failure which occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or political concerns of special interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.[1] When regulatory capture occurs, the interests of firms or political groups are prioritized over the interests of the public, leading to a net loss for society. Government agencies suffering regulatory capture are called "captured agencies".

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 30 Aug 2018 @ 9:35am

    Where is the States Rights crew?

    *crickets*

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Aug 2018 @ 1:20pm

    "we never seem to learn"

    What do you mean "we", Kemosabe? I vote as hard and often as I can. Doesn't seem to help.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 30 Aug 2018 @ 2:17pm

    to all that care..

    Dont know how many times, Iv seen Strange groups/agencies CREATE DATA, to support anything a corp says..They get paid VERY WELL for this strange data.

    Also, our Gov has Cut back so many people that knew how to do a job, that they cant give ANY specific data. We/they know the Cellphone maps are WRONG..and the Cable/DSL listing are CRAP, even if you call to check if a residence is covered, THE Data is 50% wrong.

    The Old phone system was/is the only developed system. but the Corps dont want to replace Anything. If they could/would replace all the lines with Fiber..They could do TONS of things with it. From Phone, Cell site, Wireless local phones, 1000 channel TV..

    What is the problem with these folks??

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Aug 2018 @ 1:38am

    None of this logic is new.

    None of this is logic.

    Here - fixed it for you.

    If the market prevents bad behaviour so much better than regulation, then the regulation will not hurt and they have nothing to worry about.

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

    • icon
      ECA (profile), 31 Aug 2018 @ 3:12pm

      Re:

      Problem with that is IF' they are doing the right thing, would we worry about them STOPPING doing the right thing??

      In the past Getting married was as simple as saying YOU ARE MARRIED..
      Then the Church got involved, but you could STILL do Common law marriage..
      THEN the State said, NOPE cant do that, we need the $50 to register it..

      Common law marriage had a stipulation.. that you called yourself by the Mans last name, AND you were together more then 6 months..(and sometimes LESS)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Sep 2018 @ 3:45pm

    Blizzard Shop

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Sep 2018 @ 10:57am

    Webex Blog – Ideas in Motion

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


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