Ajit Pai Whines About The Numerous State-Level Net Neutrality Laws He Just Helped Create

from the you-built-this dept

A common misconception is that the FCC's net neutrality rule just killed net neutrality. In reality, the "Restoring Internet Freedom" order eliminated most of the FCC's authority over broadband providers, shoveling remaining oversight to an FTC that lacks either the attention span or authority to police giants like AT&T and Comcast. The order also attempted to ban states from protecting consumers in the wake of the FCC's apathy to industry issues. This accountability vacuum was, if you're a slow learner, the entire point of the plan.

But a recent court ruling was a mixed outcome for the FCC. While the court supported much of the FCC's repeal (despite the obvious fraud that occurred), it ruled the FCC lacked the authority to block states from protecting consumers. As a result, while federal net neutrality protections are gone, a flood of states are now passing their own laws. And despite creating this problem, Ajit Pai and the broadband industry aren't happy about it, angry that their dream of zero meaningful oversight for one of the most broken industries in America wasn't fully realized.

In a softball interview this week at the WSJ Tech Live conference, Pai took some time to whine about the fact that the broadband industry now has to deal with a multitude of often discordant state laws instead of a singular cohesive rule set. At no point, please notice, does Pai even remotely acknowledge that he himself caused the problem by rushing to dismantle federal rules using bunk data:

"When you're talking about the choice for a venture capitalist or an entrepreneur to set up shop in the United States where they have to get permission from the federal government or from the state of California, San Francisco, or some other jurisdiction, or whether they should set up shop in country B where there's a uniform, well-established set of regulations that are consistent, I worry that the proposition value for country B will become stronger over time."

Again, Pai created this problem. Telecom industry lobbyists, using bogus data and fake people, pushed to repeal hugely popular federal net neutrality rules. Those rules, while portrayed as "draconian" by Pai and industry, were among the most modest in the world (failing to even address things like usage caps and "zero rating"). Pai and the industry he's pandering to created this problem by killing off modest federal rules. Now they're complaining about the fact that there's no cohesive federal framework in place. The same thing occurred with FCC privacy rules. It's dumbfounding.

And again, the FCC's (read: industry's) goal has been to kill most state and federal oversight of telecom under the false pretense that this will somehow, magically, spur Comcast Corporation to begin caring about customer service and deploying broadband to lower ROI regions of the country. Pai, a former Verizon lawyer who has yet to stand up to industry on a single issue of substance, tries so very hard to dress this up as some kind of sophisticated ethos:

"He argued that "while that federalist system has served us very well" up to this point in our nation's history, it's time for Congress to consider "whether or not we can still maintain a multilayer regulatory system." He said allowing states and local governments to pass their own laws regulating internet services, which inherently cross state lines, creates market uncertainty."

The market uncertainty was created by regulatory capture and pandering to industry. Hugely popular, modest and cohesive federal guidelines were in place. Corruption and blind fealty to industry eliminated them, creating a chaotic state by state approach to market oversight. There's only really one place the blame for the resulting chaos belongs.

Filed Under: ajit pai, fcc, net neutrality, oversight, state laws, state's rights


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  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 23 Oct 2019 @ 6:19am

    Birds of a feather

    Pai is a tool of and for the Telecoms and when he destroyed those net neutrality rules, the states filled in the gap (or at least the states that haven't been corrupted). If Ajit Pai were remotely honest, he'd acknowledge responsibility in the process, but if anything, he's Trumpian in his buck-passing and lack of self-awareness.

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

  • identicon
    Iggy, 23 Oct 2019 @ 6:35am

    When has market uncertainty ever stood in the way of huge profit margins on internet service provision in the USA?

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

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 23 Oct 2019 @ 6:41am

    Pai shoots self in foot, complains about foot being in the way of the bullet. %-/

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

    • icon
      Bergman (profile), 28 Oct 2019 @ 3:29am

      Re:

      Prior to shooting, Pai had scoped in on his foot so closely he cannot see anything but foot through the scope, and every expert except his paymasters were screaming at him not to shoot.

      He shot anyway.

      And we're left wondering whether he knew it would hurt before he pulled the trigger, or if he was just unaware that he was being lied to?

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

  • icon
    Jeremy Lyman (profile), 23 Oct 2019 @ 6:47am

    Oh, it's the oppressive consumer rights regulation and uncertainty that's keeping all the new Vanderbilts from blessing us plebes with their competing information services? I'd thought it was the NATURAL MONOPOLY and regulatory capture of entrenched telcom giants that kept any competition at bay. Local loop unbundling would fix all that, right?

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

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 23 Oct 2019 @ 7:54am

      Re:

      Local loop unbundling provisions of Title II could serve to fix competition issues by separating the potentially competitive service layer and the naturally uncompetitive infrastructure layer.

      However, local loop unbundling took decades to finally pay out with POTS, due to limp regulations regarding licencing use of that infrastructure. I know it did successfully pay out in a number of areas, including in the bay area, which lead to the elimination of metered local service and the eventual end of long distance charges on fixed telephone service. But a watchful eye needs to be held by regulators to ensure punative licencing costs don't strangle broadband local loop unbundling in the cradle.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2019 @ 5:00pm

        Re: Re:

        So I'm assuming you are talking about the separation of ILEC and CLEC operations, but that was undone mainly in 2005, with the elimination of new installation installs like fiber. Obviously, DSL, T1/E1, DS3, OC3, et al technology has simply been replaced. I get it that cable did not have to unbundle, so why punish legacy telcos for doing the same without implementing it on coax networks. I'm more in favor of local state/city networks which are open to unbundling. I can't remember who did this already, but it has only happened once in my recollection in the US and sadly I can't remember what city did it.

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

    • icon
      Toom1275 (profile), 23 Oct 2019 @ 8:16am

      Re:

      Not entirely. Even in places that enforce LLU, Neutrality rules still provide benefit to customers compared to relying on competition alone.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2019 @ 7:03am

    is that the sound of closing checkbooks i here?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2019 @ 7:20am

    Pai did the exact same thing his former employer did: dismantle one portion of legislation only to see it get stronger with another.

    If this trend continues, we won't need Congress to act.

    Keep up the good work, "Verizon". Your plan is working perfectly.

    For us!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2019 @ 7:26am

    FCC Authority

    what ??? -- there are limits on FCC authority over states and consumers?

    Never heard that before.
    What are those FCC limits and where are they written down?

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

    • icon
      James Burkhardt (profile), 23 Oct 2019 @ 8:00am

      Re: FCC Authority

      The FCC only has authority to regulate under the laws which govern the FCC. So the answer to your question is that the limits are defined by the myriad Telecommunications Acts passed over the years. Under 10th amendment jurisprudence, if the FCC doesn't have congressionally-granted authority to regulate a market, it also doesn't have the authority to preempt state authority.

      The Title II debate was about the classification of broadband, and existed because a court decision ruled the FCC could not implement the first set of Net Neutrality rules under Title I.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2019 @ 9:36am

      Re: FCC Authority

      Can the FCC shoot someone in the middle of 5th ave?

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

    • icon
      R.H. (profile), 23 Oct 2019 @ 6:56pm

      Re: FCC Authority

      I assume that you're joking a bit but, in this case the FCC simply gave up part of their own authority. If Pai had a stroke and decided to call ISP's Telecommunication Services under Title II again and regulate them accordingly, then they'd be able to preempt all of these state laws without issue.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 23 Oct 2019 @ 7:37am

    HOW DARE YOU MAKE ME LIE IN THE BED I MADE!!!!!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2019 @ 7:50am

    That sound you hear is Richard Bennett having an extended stay in Pai's dungeon...

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

  • icon
    Bloof (profile), 23 Oct 2019 @ 8:06am

    'Stop! You can't do this! Telecoms lobbyists will stop giving me money if the targeted deregulation done purely for their benefit can be undone in the states where people actually live! There's no money to be made making the poor internet services worse in red states!'

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

  • icon
    norahc (profile), 23 Oct 2019 @ 8:12am

    Grandpa always told me, "Be careful what you wish for...you might actually get it."

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2019 @ 8:53am

    'Ajit Pai and the broadband industry aren't happy about it, angry that their dream of zero oversight for one of the most broken industries in America wasn't fully achieved'

    It's one of the most corrupt and broken industries on the Planet! And the fuckers in Congress are to blame for the amount of corruption, lack of services, lack of accountability, sky-high prices and, most importantly, the LACK OF COMPETITION, not just in the USA but anywhere worldwide!!

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

  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 23 Oct 2019 @ 9:27am

    Reap what you sow

    As most of us know there is a difference between doing things right, and doing the right thing. This is a prime example that Ajit Pai can't get either right, independently or together.

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

  • identicon
    anon, 23 Oct 2019 @ 9:54am

    Just Wow!

    ... "whether or not we can still maintain a multilayer regulatory system."...

    WOW!! So, he's advocating removing the Federal System of government (2 levels, national and state) which was one of the things our founding fathers fought for??

    Just wow.

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

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 23 Oct 2019 @ 11:45am

    Nothing better than a little humble Pai.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 23 Oct 2019 @ 11:59am

    Long ago, far away...

    The corps have been pushing things abit hard over the years..
    Anyone in the military knows some of this stuff..
    As The military bases USED to be tax free heavens. And the profit margins were Very low for anyone using those facilities..
    BUT, the corps got pissy, and said the Gov. sholdnt do that.. Its not competitive..
    So the corps got hold of it...and the prices are NOW about the same as most Towns and cities..And some of those military wages HAD to go up..

    "creates market uncertainty."
    Anyone from the EU, can you tell us about your services over there?? Please..
    Iv heard some of them, but compared to the USA, you got it good.
    Over here, if you go to far from your AREA, they can shut you off, by declaring that your Phone may have been stolen..
    HERE, to track your phone, if lost is a REAL PITA, they want you to buy a new phone and they just SHUT the other one OFF... your NEW iphone is now a Lump in a persons pocket..
    AND if you go across the border, without telling them...the PRICE per min goes to ?????...per min used.
    WHO remembers what NAFTA is?? and that the USA/MEXICO/CANADA arnt supposed to be taxing things going back and forth...??? LONG GONE.. Bush jr. installed a 25% tax on lumber from canada...and (I THINK) we are back to taxing everything again..

    Who considers the ISP's...those that supply Access to connect to the net, that also own the TV/CABLE/SAT/Phone/Cellphones/... To be smaller corps then the Major Internet companies?? I DONT.
    Every time they Try to match what has already been created they mess it up BADLY..

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2019 @ 1:00pm

    And still learns nothing

    local Verizon man test chaos theory.
    Ajit: I can’t science.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 23 Oct 2019 @ 1:32pm

    Like advertising that someone else pays for

    In a softball interview this week at the WSJ Tech Live conference,

    If the only 'questions' lobbed are easy ones, and at no point is a lie and/or dishonest statement called out, that's not an interview, or reporting, or news, that's free PR.

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

  • identicon
    coward, 23 Oct 2019 @ 1:33pm

    Oh the irony

    Maybe someone should make a music video to rub it in his face?

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 23 Oct 2019 @ 1:51pm

    Still waiting for the California Gold Standard.

    Allegedly it's law, but is suspended while litigation by the federal DoJ plays out. I'd think recent rulings would have affected that.

    I'm also waiting for alleged market forces to kick in, and for a competitor to AT&T and Comcast to provide reasonably priced high-bandwidth service to my region in which net neutrality and lack of data caps is baked into the TOS.

    I'm pretty sure that was a thing Pai implicitly promised me. Years ago.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2019 @ 2:32pm

      Re: Still waiting for the California Gold Standard.

      Pai has given up the FCC's power to enforce promises, and I do not think that the telcos will allow competition to happen, so you are out of luck until something changes.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2019 @ 2:29pm

    "There's only really one place the blame for the resulting chaos belongs."

    Congress, for pushing its duty to make laws onto the executive branch? There's no reason for these to be "regulations" instead of laws.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Oct 2019 @ 3:16pm

    Ave Maria

    I completely understand pai. The invisible hand of the market is the decider and decide it must.

    Sorry AT: looks like your the first one on the block. “Pulls life support off”
    “Struggling for air”
    Truely sad to see such a company that has given so much to the world 👉💉 yet the hand feels it needed to leave.
    ☠️
    Sad

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

  • identicon
    JustSomeGuy, 24 Oct 2019 @ 10:14pm

    Conversation wento something like this:

    Ajit: We are removing the NN laws, we should not be in that business.
    States: Okay, FCC isn't in that business, here's our state laws to do the same.
    Ajit: F, double F!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Oct 2019 @ 4:44am

      Re: Conversation wento something like this:

      It's news and open to ridicule because it was entirely foreseeable from the first day they announced the plan.

      The next entirely foreseeable thing that may occur is the fcc reasserts their authority and then the states that sued over the NN repeal decision build out their own municipal broadband network and the companies that lobbied the net neutrality repeal into place lose giant swaths of the market and possibly go under.

      The federal government can't stop the states from building municipal broadband. It would almost certainly be found to be a states rights issue if it went to court.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Oct 2019 @ 6:45pm

        Re: Re:

        The federal government can't stop the states from building municipal broadband. It would almost certainly be found to be a states rights issue if it went to court.

        The federal government may not be able to, but incumbent ISPs have been doing a bang up job of it for the past couple decades.

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


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