Republican Mike Coffman joins push to restore net neutrality

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 2018
Colorado Representative Mike Coffman on Tuesday became the first Republican to demonstrate support for U.S. House efforts to force a vote on net neutrality protections, undone earlier this year by a 3-2 vote at the Federal Communications Commission.

Fiber optic cables


Coffman has also introduced a bill that would amend the Communications Act of 1934 to require net neutrality. So far, the petition to force a vote has only had the support of 176 Democrats, Reuters noted -- a problem given that the House has 435 members in all. A majority must sign for the vote to take place.

The Coffman bill would ban measures like throttling, blocking, and paid prioritization by internet service providers, but if passed would also block the FCC from setting service rates. At present, it is not clear if the bill as it stands will even make it to a vote.

During the Obama administration, a 2015 order placed ISPs under Title II regulations treating them as utilities, enshrining net neutrality. In December however the FCC under Republican chairman Ajit Pai voted to overturn net neutrality, which officially expired on June 11.

Pai has largely dismissed fears that his campaign could lead to things like tiered website access and an uphill battle for startups. He has also downplayed accusations that many of the 22 million public comments submitted to the FCC were submitted multiple times, and/or that millions of them were faked.

An undercurrent of resistance has existed within the U.S. government. On May 16 the Senate voted 52 to 47 to reverse the FCC's decision, and a collection of 22 states has sued the FCC. The cause is also believed to have broad public support, but opposition from major ISPs like Verizon.

AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon have vowed not to engage in unfair discrimination, but the companies are no longer legally bound to do so.

Apple has been a vocal backer of net neutrality. Throttling, blocking, or prioritization could potentially interfere with services like Apple Music and iTunes, and the company depends on smooth internet in general to make its hardware appealing.

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 21
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,106member
    Keep government control far away from the Internet. “Net Neutrality” is total crap.
    JonInAtlredraider11lkruppentropys
  • Reply 2 of 21
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,574administrator
    Okay, let's try this again. You know the rules. If you don't, refer to the commenting guidelines conveniently linked at the bottom of the page.
    2stepbayairnerd
  • Reply 3 of 21
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,918member
    On this issue, I trust the input from folks at companies like Apple or Netflix more than I do the telecoms. 

    People at tech companies like Apple certainly aren't dumb -- you can't say they don't understand the technology issues in play (which you could say about politicians or others from outside of tech). 

    And while the people at the telecom companies understand the technical issues, they clearly have a massive conflict of interest here, making their input almost useless. 

    I'm not suggesting that people at Apple, Netflix, etc are more virtuous. But in this case, their interests are better aligned with consumers than the interests of the telecoms are. 

    So.... I'm happy to hear that there's now a hint of bipartisan support for net neutrality. 
    2stepbaydysamoriajeffharrislarrya
  • Reply 4 of 21
    2stepbay2stepbay Posts: 111member
    Given the current market saturation by a small number of media outlets and the shrinking choices when selecting an internet or mobile provider, maintaining net neutrality is paramount to ensuring the free, uncensored and flowing exchange of information between users.
    dysamoriablastdoorjeffharrislostkiwi
  • Reply 5 of 21
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,115member
    Legislation is the right way to do things. Congress makes the laws and agencies help implement them.
    lostkiwi
  • Reply 6 of 21
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,918member
    2stepbay said:
    Given the current market saturation by a small number of media outlets and the shrinking choices when selecting an internet or mobile provider, maintaining net neutrality is paramount to ensuring the free, uncensored and flowing exchange of information between users.
    Indeed... and it seems that one thing people with differing political views might be able to agree on is that they don't want to live in a world where "the other side" is in control of the Internet or media. In other words, perhaps we can all come together, unified in our mistrust of one another, and stand up for preserving our ability to communicate how much we dislike each other. 
  • Reply 7 of 21
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    Apple is on the right side of this issue. Just like they always are.
    jeffharrislostkiwi
  • Reply 8 of 21
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,062member
    I'm less concerned about net neutrality than I am about universal broadband service, and I mean true broadband service and not some of the pathetic service that is being touted as broadband. If you live in a low population density or rural area it is likely that your Internet service totally blows and there is no financial incentive for profit-above-all-else companies to pay for the infrastructure needed to bring true broadband service to your area. This is unacceptable when so much of modern life requires access to services that require reliable internet connectivity. If the current model for broadband internet service delivery was applied to electrical service delivery people living in rural areas would only being seeing 30 volts AC of non frequency regulated electrical service, say 30 VAC at somewhere between 10 and 100 Hz.  

    Societies that exist for human benefit always require a balance between public and private interests. There will always be essential services that aren't in the best financial interests of private for-profit organizations to deliver across the broader society. That's where the public sector has to step up and fill the gaps and do things that don't make financial sense for the private sector. Broadband internet service is now a utility service that must be available for all members of society.   
    blastdoorairnerd
  • Reply 9 of 21
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,918member
    dewme said:
    I'm less concerned about net neutrality than I am about universal broadband service, and I mean true broadband service and not some of the pathetic service that is being touted as broadband. If you live in a low population density or rural area it is likely that your Internet service totally blows and there is no financial incentive for profit-above-all-else companies to pay for the infrastructure needed to bring true broadband service to your area. This is unacceptable when so much of modern life requires access to services that require reliable internet connectivity. If the current model for broadband internet service delivery was applied to electrical service delivery people living in rural areas would only being seeing 30 volts AC of non frequency regulated electrical service, say 30 VAC at somewhere between 10 and 100 Hz.  

    Societies that exist for human benefit always require a balance between public and private interests. There will always be essential services that aren't in the best financial interests of private for-profit organizations to deliver across the broader society. That's where the public sector has to step up and fill the gaps and do things that don't make financial sense for the private sector. Broadband internet service is now a utility service that must be available for all members of society.   
    Sounds reasonable, but I wonder if people living in rural areas in the US look at it that way. My casual impression is that they don't tend to vote in a way that would result in the kind of policy that you're suggesting here. 
    lostkiwi
  • Reply 10 of 21
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,072member
    The whole problem is that the initial implementation of Net Neutrality policy was done by executive fiat. The previous administration, frustrated by an uncooperative Congress, decided to use executive orders to establish important policies. The current administration is using that same power to undo those executive orders. And Net Neutrality was not the only policy set by executive order. It was clearly Congress’s job to legislate and decide what form or if Net Neutrality came to be. The executive branch has taken more and more of a My Way Or The Highway approach. Now both sides have entrenched themselves in that same My Way Or The Highway self-imposed prison. Compromise has become a dirty word. The object is to destroy the opposition, not compromise with them. So the issue of Net Neutrality will probably continue to be a political football with neither side willing to compromise.

    This is a job for the legislature, not the executive or judicial branches.
    steven n.lostkiwi
  • Reply 11 of 21
    mjtomlinmjtomlin Posts: 1,855member
    I consider myself to be fairly liberal, but I do not agree with "big" government regulation. In an ideal world, things would naturally balance themselves out. However, when things are left to the private sector, there has to be something or someone to counter the greed that is inherent in the system. Especially when corporate interests are allowed to essentially bribe government officials and coerce legislation.
  • Reply 12 of 21
    City and state governments need to roll out their own services that specifically follow net neutrality rules. Enough of the nonsense and double-talk. 
  • Reply 13 of 21
    steven n.steven n. Posts: 1,115member
    lkrupp said:
    The whole problem is that the initial implementation of Net Neutrality policy was done by executive fiat. The previous administration, frustrated by an uncooperative Congress, decided to use executive orders to establish important policies. The current administration is using that same power to undo those executive orders. And Net Neutrality was not the only policy set by executive order. It was clearly Congress’s job to legislate and decide what form or if Net Neutrality came to be. The executive branch has taken more and more of a My Way Or The Highway approach. Now both sides have entrenched themselves in that same My Way Or The Highway self-imposed prison. Compromise has become a dirty word. The object is to destroy the opposition, not compromise with them. So the issue of Net Neutrality will probably continue to be a political football with neither side willing to compromise.

    This is a job for the legislature, not the executive or judicial branches.
    Thank you. The Legislature really needs to do their job. All you have to do is look at the current import tariffs to understand how much power the legislature has needed to the executive over the past several decades. 
  • Reply 14 of 21
    icoco3icoco3 Posts: 1,459member
    dewme said:
    I'm less concerned about net neutrality than I am about universal broadband service, and I mean true broadband service and not some of the pathetic service that is being touted as broadband. If you live in a low population density or rural area it is likely that your Internet service totally blows and there is no financial incentive for profit-above-all-else companies to pay for the infrastructure needed to bring true broadband service to your area. This is unacceptable when so much of modern life requires access to services that require reliable internet connectivity. If the current model for broadband internet service delivery was applied to electrical service delivery people living in rural areas would only being seeing 30 volts AC of non frequency regulated electrical service, say 30 VAC at somewhere between 10 and 100 Hz.  

    Societies that exist for human benefit always require a balance between public and private interests. There will always be essential services that aren't in the best financial interests of private for-profit organizations to deliver across the broader society. That's where the public sector has to step up and fill the gaps and do things that don't make financial sense for the private sector. Broadband internet service is now a utility service that must be available for all members of society.   
    My neighbors are cow fields and just had Spectrum install 100meg line to the house yesterday.  They are wiring every rural house in a large area where I live.
  • Reply 15 of 21
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,574administrator
    icoco3 said:
    dewme said:
    I'm less concerned about net neutrality than I am about universal broadband service, and I mean true broadband service and not some of the pathetic service that is being touted as broadband. If you live in a low population density or rural area it is likely that your Internet service totally blows and there is no financial incentive for profit-above-all-else companies to pay for the infrastructure needed to bring true broadband service to your area. This is unacceptable when so much of modern life requires access to services that require reliable internet connectivity. If the current model for broadband internet service delivery was applied to electrical service delivery people living in rural areas would only being seeing 30 volts AC of non frequency regulated electrical service, say 30 VAC at somewhere between 10 and 100 Hz.  

    Societies that exist for human benefit always require a balance between public and private interests. There will always be essential services that aren't in the best financial interests of private for-profit organizations to deliver across the broader society. That's where the public sector has to step up and fill the gaps and do things that don't make financial sense for the private sector. Broadband internet service is now a utility service that must be available for all members of society.   
    My neighbors are cow fields and just had Spectrum install 100meg line to the house yesterday.  They are wiring every rural house in a large area where I live.
    Your neighborhood is the exception, rather than the rule, I'm afraid.

    Good to hear, though.
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 16 of 21
    AppleishAppleish Posts: 117member
    Sounds like somebody is worried about his seat this Fall.
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 17 of 21
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,106member
    Gee, you don't think his contributors would benefit from "Net Neutrality"... do you?

    https://www.opensecrets.org/members-of-congress/contributors?cid=N00024753&cycle=2018&type=C
  • Reply 18 of 21
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,706member
    blastdoor said:
    On this issue, I trust the input from folks at companies like Apple or Netflix more than I do the telecoms. 

    People at tech companies like Apple certainly aren't dumb -- you can't say they don't understand the technology issues in play (which you could say about politicians or others from outside of tech). 

    And while the people at the telecom companies understand the technical issues, they clearly have a massive conflict of interest here, making their input almost useless. 

    I'm not suggesting that people at Apple, Netflix, etc are more virtuous. But in this case, their interests are better aligned with consumers than the interests of the telecoms are. 

    So.... I'm happy to hear that there's now a hint of bipartisan support for net neutrality. 
    I’m sorry, but I have to say that trusting viewpoint is...quite naive. Tech companies are vested interests here as well. Particularly service companies.  I wouldn’t trust any of them. I also get suspicious when proponents come up with a snappy title for their plans like net neutrality which is intended to sound great, and helps avoid the need to see what they are actually up to, whatever it might be. In all things never be distracted from seeing what the left hand is doing while the right hand is doing flashy tricks. Is why inevitably when this issue arises people start talking about rural services when that is not what the issue is.

    I can remember when a certain fruit company tried to set up its own, special internet for its customers called eWorld, a kind of walled garden if you will. It failed. Anyone trying to quarantine the intertube pipes for exclusive services including performance would have just as much trouble. Some sociopathic MBA weenie might try it on, and in the early days rabbit on about its success etc, but it will ultimately fail.

    I can see see there is a risk here, but I can also see that an unencumbered market will be more efficient, cheaper and would likely punish those that tried any funny business pretty quick, and more effectively than a juicy fat government bureaucracy. A bureaucracy run by people who actually know nothing except how to plan the next step in their career path that could be anywhere, completely unrelated to the task at hand. It disturbs me these days how freely people, young people in particular, run to nanny government as a first option to solve all their problems, realised or, as in this case, a future risk.

    What should happen as a general rule, is there is no regulation until there is evidence of nefarious activity. Only then do you impose regulation, and then with as light a hand as possible. Even the possible threat of regulation can help what the market will do to them anyway.  Regulation always has unintended consequences. I know this because I have been writing and critiquing legislation for 35 years, and part of the art is remembering how important it is to do no harm.  Always remember, when focussed on one risk there is always a tendency to forget the risk that the cure is worse than the disease.

    The only regulation in this area I think is needed right now is enforcement of existing anti competition provisions that could stop mergers like AT&T and Time Warner. You don’t need new Regs to do that.
    edited July 2018
  • Reply 19 of 21
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,706member
    mjtomlin said:
    I consider myself to be fairly liberal, but I do not agree with "big" government regulation. In an ideal world, things would naturally balance themselves out. However, when things are left to the private sector, there has to be something or someone to counter the greed that is inherent in the system. Especially when corporate interests are allowed to essentially bribe government officials and coerce legislation.
    Yes, I can see the point here. When people rant about the evils of capitalism, what they are really complaining about is corporatism, where there is a happy enclave of Big Business and Big Union happily enabled by Big Government to benefit the operators in the three groups. A triumph-erate if you will. 

    Capitalism is really about one group of people buying stuff from another group of people to varying degrees of mutual benefit which changes every day. Corporatism is about using the power of regulation to more permanently rig the buying and selling in your favour. 
  • Reply 20 of 21
    airnerdairnerd Posts: 662member
    It is going to take one company finally taking the step to tiered access to their network for a "competing" product for the floodgates to open. Right now no one wants to be the first to go there, but they all have their plans ready to roll out. If you need proof of this, look no further than bag fees when you fly. That was resisted forever and now just about everyone does it and no one complains too much anymore.
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