Internet to be regulated by Feds… what could possibly go wrong?




Anyone else worried about this?

Think… Amtrack…… U.S. Post Office…

What could go wrong?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. raitchi2 says:

    This is a great and entertaining summary of why net neutrality enforcement is a better demon than letting the ISPs do what they want.

  2. Jackie L says:

    Follow the money. Now instead of companies working with their ISPs to get the speed they want they will have to bribe Washington for waivers, from this.

  3. The Egyptian says:

    Do the Catholic Bishops think their message will be pleasing to mordor on the potomac ?
    I truly wish that the USCCC would stop weighing in on things they don’t comprehend, this will bite them in the miter, remember the conscience clause in Obastardcare, how soon till they must promote abortion and birth control to appease the regulators, let alone gay marrage and wimin priests, to be American you MUST be inclusive to use the government regulated internet, comrade
    WASHINGTON—The vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) preserving an open Internet and preventing service providers from discriminating against content makers is a welcome move, crucial for allowing religions, including the Catholic Church, to communicate online, said Bishop John C. Wester of Salt Lake City, February 26.
    US Bishops’ Communication Chair Welcomes Government Takeover of Internet

  4. pannw says:

    The Egyptian, thanks for pointing that out. I saw a headline about it this morning and just couldn’t bring myself to click it. I’m so sick of the ‘official’ Church in America being in bed with the leftist regime I could cry. I am convinced that Bella Dodd’s testimony on communist infiltration into seminaries is absolutely the truth. Why wouldn’t it be, when The Blessed Virgin herself warned us that ‘Russia will spread her errors.’ Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

  5. chris_R says:

    Comparing this with the (un)Affordable Care Act is apples-oranges. Our telephone systems and other utilities have been regulated similarly for quite some time under the same laws now regulating Internet traffic. Thus, “net neutrality” is simply regulating the Internet like phone service, it’s not doing it by new legislation but by using existing FCC laws. The Internet should have come under the FCC as a common carrier years ago. I understand why it wasn’t done, but too many powerful Internet providers got greedy, began throttling bandwidth of competitors or anybody else they didn’t like, and something had to be done to level the playing field. I’m glad it was NOT new legislation but simply making Internet service like telephone, water, gas, electric utilities where those companies cannot degrade or interrupt the service that you pay for if they simply don’t like how you are using that service.

  6. Dennis Martin says:


    When you have a moment, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona you might be interested in investing in.

    And I have a tent and a camel, in case you need them.

    The internet is not like your telephone. It happens to house the single greatest source of alternative information, alternative to Gubmint Pravda Media. It is the greatest possible prize in the struggle for the control of the flow of information in a world where information flow is power.

    Since the FCC adamantly refused to release the regulations, you have no way of knowing whether they merely regulate in the fashion of other utilities or whether they are a whole different animal. Knowing what I have learned in my paltry 60 years about gubmint and power, I expect the worst. You may gloat 30 years from now if it turns out my fears were exaggerated.

    And yes, the regs are legislation. What part of “today we are governed by bureaucratic regulations far more than by formal congressional legislation” don’t you get?

    But by the time you and others realize how high is the cost of the bill of goods you’ve been sold, it will be way past too late.

    Will the last person to leave this place we once called the Representative Republic of the USA please turn off the lights?

  7. I have no great trust for government, and certainly not for our current administration. I don’t trust private industry much, either, in this case. The real problem is that we may not have much other choice. If the ISP’s can start to discriminate against whoever and whatever they like, we’ll wind up with the bad old days of CBS, NBC, and ABC all over again. You want to go to, no problem, since CBS will have the money to pay off the ISP’s. You want to read about what Miley Cyrus did last night, no problem. You want to read good orthodox Catholic material, forget about it. You want to go to, well, too bad, Saucci doesn’t have the money to start buying bandwidth or the time to start making deals with ISPs, and his voice will be effectively silenced if people have to wait a minute or two to see Equal access is what makes Internet valuable. If the little guy has to fight for access, it’s over. The biggest problem is how to decide that is actually a big guy if it becomes successful– and who gets to decide that.

  8. SimonDodd says:

    I am by no means defending the FCC’s reclassification, which I do not support. Nevertheless, there is a difference between what amount to government-run entities, such as the examples tendered (“Amtrack…… U.S. Post Office…” (ellipses in original)) and government-regulated entities, such as Time Warner Cable or Citibank. Internet companies are now subject to a different, more invasive, and frankly inapt regulatory regime, but they haven’t been nationalized.

  9. SimonDodd says:

    Dennis Martin says: “Since the FCC adamantly refused to release the regulations, you have no way of knowing whether they merely regulate in the fashion of other utilities or whether they are a whole different animal.”

    What are you talking about? The existing title II regs are in the CFR. The reclassification and any additional changes will be published expediently in the Federal Register.

    And yes, the regs are legislation.

    The regulations are regulations, subject to revision by future administrations and review under Chevron.

  10. The Egyptian says:

    Oh Andrew, how ever did this Catholic Blog ever get online without the wondrous hand of givimint.
    The faith can withstand the open market, but when the time comes that givimint decides that we are “unamerican”, comrade watch out. The ISPs are non demoninational and there is no limit to how many there are, soon they will require givimint approval, at a price of course, and like the givimint phone system we will be taxed for our use, do you believe the givimint won’t be able to resist a new source of revinue

    (givimint = give us our share comrade, it’s not your money anyway)

  11. jeffreyquick says:

    Pace Chris_R, I find this argument ( compelling:

    In 2014, the last time a Federal Court told the FCC it was acting unconstitutionally, there were suggestions that it would try again a third time, this time by using a different tactic.

    It has now in fact used that tactic. The internet is an “information service” over which the FCC has no power. So the FCC has decided, on its own authority, to declare the Internet a “telecomunications service,” over which it does have authority.

    Note that Congress did not make this important change in definition. An agency charged with executing the law as Congress passes it has decided that it itself would change the law.

    So it would appear that the USCCB is opposed to the rule of law, and systemic checks and balances. Which might explain quite a bit about liturgical praxis in the US.

  12. The Egyptian says:

    jeffreyquick says
    So it would appear that the USCCB is opposed to the rule of law, and systemic checks and balances. Which might explain quite a bit about liturgical praxis in the US.


  13. Dennis Martin says:

    For Andrew Saucci and all who are following his line of thinking:

    If the FCC regs merely regulated “net neutrality” so that the big bad ISPs and big bad companies were reined in in their evil money-grubbing, well, perhaps one could agree. (Though the class warfare rhetoric is not exactly Catholic in sensibility.)

    But what you all seem to be forgetting is that
    because the FCC will NOT make the regs public. This flies in the face of all the principles of proper lawmaking in a republic. The document is supposedly 300 pages long. I am willing to bet my house that the document contains much more than “net neutrality.”

    How foolish can you be to swallow the propaganda that you were force-fed, namely, that it’s all about “net neutrality.” That’s how it was marketed to you and you fell for it.

    When the regs finally are released and we finally know what’s in them and if it then proves that all 300 pages are merely about reining in evil greed by ISPs and Big Business, I will apologize and crawl on my hands and knees up the steps of St. John Cantius Church in penance.

    But until we know what’s in those regs, it seems very imprudent to assume it’s merely what Big Gubmint tells us it is. Given the track record of this Fundamental Transformation Administration whose (P)resident proudly proclaims that “we’ve just expanded my authorities,” the prudent thing to do would be to assume the worst or close to the worst. That it’s about net neutrality merely as a not even very much disguised pretext for government control of the Internet.

    And last time I checked, Prudence was still a virtue. Isn’t it about time that we Catholics start being as wise as serpents about these things, at least once in a while?

  14. Dennis Martin says:

    Simon Dodd, directed at me: “”What are you talking about? The existing title II regs are in the CFR. The reclassification and any additional changes will be published expediently in the Federal Register.”

    What are you talking about? “will be published expediently in the Federal Register” says to me that no one in the general public knows what the regulations are. Yet all sorts of people are assuring us that the regulations merely take care of the evil ISPs and big companies.

    Editing and publication is in progress. Will be published. Expediently. Exactly my point.

  15. Sword40 says:

    If the Government is fer it I agin it.

  16. The Cobbler says:

    In the spirit of internettiness, this whole thread needs “[citation needed]” plastered all over it.

    Don’t listen to anyone who discusses internet regulation without discussing the history of ICANN.

  17. qowieury says:

    This was a good thing. This means, inter alia, that the first amendment applies to the internet. So comcast cannot start blocking your website because they consider it hate speech. Think of what happened at Mozilla last year.

    Most of the conservative opposition is because Ted Cruz is against it, which is not surprising since he is paid by Comcast.

  18. jflare says:

    I think it’d be very interesting to know what anyone thinks has been done to or on the internet that requires the feds to step in to “regulate” it.

    Considering how the courts routinely chastise the existence of manger scenes in public, but seem incapable of admitting that pornography might be a plague, I’d prefer we didn’t have any more “help” from the government than is strictly required.

    If it may be difficult to provoke a company to change its mind about something, it’s darn near impossible to change the course a federal agency takes. Congress should exercise oversight over federal agencies, but Congressmen rarely have enough interest in that to do anything.

  19. bookworm says:

    I work for a state agency whose function is to review state regulations before they are adopted, and to insure that all aspects of the state Administrative Procedure Act (the rules for making rules) are followed. Any agency that attempted to do what the FCC has done here — promulgate hundreds of pages of regulations without releasing them to the public first — would NEVER get away with it, even if the regs involved were actually good regs. No rule can be considered unless it has been published in the official State register and at least 45 days have been allowed for public comment. We also never allow an agency to make substantive changes in a proposed rule without providing some opportunity for the public to see the changes first.

    Most states have similar systems, in which a committee or agency of the legislative branch oversees the rulemaking process to insure that agencies aren’t going beyond the authority granted to them by law. In some states the body has authority to prevent “bad” rules from taking effect, while in others it is merely advisory. The federal government has no equivalent body; hence, federal agencies can pretty much do whatever they please.

  20. Lin says:

    The USCCC welcomes government intervention!?! When will they EVER learn?!? Is it even possible to rise to an influential level of power and NOT succumb to the evil effects of power, money, ego, and so much worse?!? Sorry for all the quotation marks but it seems to me the holy people cannot rise to the top of ANY organization and remain holy. Please pray my friends.

  21. SKAY says:

    Thank you Cobbler. There is a lot more behind this than meets the eye and of course that is no surprise. Interesting that Iran’s name comes up in this article.

    The cartoon is perfect. I do not think we will like what we find in the contents of this Obama FCC “lock box” when we are “allowed” to know what is in it. The two members who voted against it felt that way and one tried to warn us before the vote. Once again the law of unintended consequences will apply but I am not sure the consequences are unintended at all. The lawyers are happy because there will be lawsuits.

    Egyptian– Remember-the Catholic hospitals were very supportive of Obamacare also.
    As I recall, Cardinal Dolan was quite surprised that Obama did not exactly mean what
    he said to him.
    What is that saying about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different

  22. Supertradmum says:

    Sometimes, I just have to stop and forgive all those blind Catholics who voted for O twice.

    I forgive them….

    Tyranny…is reality in America.

  23. poohbear says:

    qowieury says:
    28 February 2015 at 10:07 pm
    This was a good thing. This means, inter alia, that the first amendment applies to the internet. So comcast cannot start blocking your website because they consider it hate speech. Think of what happened at Mozilla last year.

    You are right, now the government will shut down every site it doesn’t like. So much better, don’t you think?

  24. Kerry says:

    As the political rulers, no longer servants, but rulers desire only power, their seizing of it will continue. Why the USCCB should put its faith in princes leaves one’s mouth agape. (Interesting that pronounced as in the Greek word, agape is far different from an ape, gagged.)
    The political rulers will have their reward. It is a good day to profess Christ. Viva Christo Rey! Viva nuestra Senora de Guadalupe!

  25. qowieury says:

    You are right, now the government will shut down every site it doesn’t like. So much better, don’t you think? – poohbear

    You might as well say that the government will shut down every newspaper and television station. The first amendment is strong protection. With this change, speech over the internet is protected by the first amendment. Without it, any internet provider would have been free to say that “We don’t carry hate speech, like Catholic websites.”

    The basic fact is this: broadband internet is now under the same protection as landline telephones and electricity and gas. All of these utilities are well managed by these regulations. Why would the internet connection be any different? Everyone is acting like these protections are against free speech, when they are actually strongly in favor of free speech. Also, people keep acting like it is a regulation of the internet. It is not. It is a regulation of internet providers. There is a major difference.

  26. qowieury says:

    To another point: The cartoon above and many commentators are making hay of the fact that only a summary of the new rules has been released. The full text will be released after it goes through the usual process, probably sometime in March. At that point, if we discover that there is some shocking new regulation that was not mentioned in the summary, we will be against it too. But there is no point in acting like the new rules are secret.

    The problem with the Obamacare bill that the Nancy Pelosi quote references was not that the public had not seen it but that the representatives voting on the bill had not seen it. That is not at all what happened here.

  27. CordiaGrace says:

    @ SKAY: “What is that saying about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different
    The answer to your question is : Insanity.

  28. Fr AJ says:

    For the record, it’s officially “Amtrak” with no letter c.

  29. The Egyptian says:

    for qowieury
    sorry a little long but read it anyway
    But such voices have been drowned out by left-wing activists who want to manage the Internet to achieve their political objectives. The most influential of these congregate around the deceptively named Free Press, a liberal lobby co-founded in 2002 by Robert McChesney, a University of Illinois communications professor.

    Read more at:
    At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies,” he told the website SocialistProject in 2009. “But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.” Earlier in 2000, he told the Marxist magazine Monthly Review: “Our job is to make media reform part of our broader struggle for democracy, social justice, and, dare we say it, socialism.” When I interviewed him in 2010, he admitted he is a socialist and said he was “hesitant to say I’m not a Marxist.” In essence, what McChesney and his followers want is an Unfree Press — a media world that promotes their values. “To cast things in neo-Marxist terms that they could appreciate, they want to take control of the information means of production,”

    Read more at:

  30. It is worth reminding everyone, especially the younger folks who are too young to know, that at one time, almost all TV and radio stations carried a little bit of religious programming– for free. Granted, it usually ran on Sunday mornings or late at night when ratings were low anyway, but the programs did air. Stations did this because of– gasp– government regulation! A TV or radio station was required to prove that it “served the public interest” or else it could not get its license renewed. There were also other public affairs programs that ran at odd hours. It was only after these rules became loosely enforced or not at all enforced that TV and radio operators were exposed as the opportunistic businesses that everyone becomes once free of government regulation. Today, religious programming still airs, of course, but almost always on a leased-time basis, meaning that the producer has to purchase the air time from the station. That is where Internet is headed if we wind up with three giant ISPs, General ISP, National ISP, and American ISP, and they are completely unregulated. When ISPs were mostly small, and did not provide content of their own, regulation would have been silly, but today most people probably receive Internet from either the local cable company or the local phone company, and those companies have been merging like crazy. When we wind up with an oligopoly, that’s when regulation will be essential, or else an alternative to Internet will need to be developed to keep the voice of the little guy available.

  31. SKAY says:

    President Obama’s pick for head of the FCC has very close ties with him. This article gives a little background on his nomination.

    “In addition to being a former lobbyist, Wheeler has been a big campaign contributor to President Obama, giving $38,500 of his own money between 2008 and 2011, and also bundling together contributions from friends and associates. In the 2008 campaign, he raised between two hundred thousand and five hundred thousand dollars in this way for Obama, according to, and he then led the Obama transition team focussed on science, technology, and the arts. During last year’s campaign, he raised more than five hundred thousand dollars for Team Obama.

    Rewarding campaign contributors is par for the course in Washington, of course. Usually, though, the prizes are ambassadorships or appointments to obscure boards rather than the chairmanship of a big federal regulatory agency. That’s another thing that makes Wheeler’s appointment look like just the sort of Washington inside job that Obama used to decry as a candidate. ”

    An informative interview with a former commissioner nominated by Lyndon Johnson about the Wheeler nomination.

    “Money talks” as they say. The vote was 3 to 2 and at some point we will see what the “box” contains.
    One of the commissioners who voted against it said that Obama is behind them even taking it up–
    so what could possibly go wrong? Lesson learned- Watch what he does-not what he says.

  32. The Masked Chicken says:

    “The internet is not like your telephone. It happens to house the single greatest source of alternative information, alternative to Gubmint Pravda Media. It is the greatest possible prize in the struggle for the control of the flow of information in a world where information flow is power.”

    The Internet is exactly like your telephone, seeing as how I still have dial-up that uses the telephone line to send a bitstream across wires. You could do the Internet by having someone speak 1 and 0 over the telephone speaker, although it would take hours to reconstruct the simplest bitstream. Simply put, ISPs are or should be considered subsidiaries of the phone company. I am not a fan of deregulation in this case, just as I was not a fan of deregulation of Ma Bell. Sometime, monopolies are a good thing. Sometimes, they are not. I think each monopoly should be judged on a case-by-case basis, instead of having a blanket law opposing monopolies. The free market has made the Internet cheaper, but not better. Compare the material on the Internet before and after the Eternal September, as a case in point:

    The Chicken

  33. jflare says:

    I often find these sorts of assertions rather puzzling. Where you refer to TV and radio broadcasters as being “opportunistic”, you seem to me to imply that they’re only in it for the money. Well, so is the mechanic, the plumber, the grocery store owner, and anyone else who runs a business that you frequent. Each business interest operates in pursuit of a market of some sort, thus the opportunity to make money. If the content of the business doesn’t suit you, perhaps you’d be wiser to persuade the patrons of that business that they’d be better off to seek something more wholesome.

    Then too, if you’re seeing those regulations as being the saving grace of the community against greedy broadcasters, perhaps those regulations came to exist because someone made it happen. What I’m reading elsewhere about this net neutrality concern makes me nervous. More than one militantly secular group has been insistent about causing the “public square” to reflect secular values these past few decades. If they can control the FCC’s attitude, they can inflict considerable pain on Catholic interests.

    As far as oligopolies go, we essentially have two choices where I live, Cox or CenturyLink. I’m not terribly convinced that federal regulations will improve anything. Federal regulation will not make providing a cable connection any cheaper, nor will insisting that all information must move at the same pace cause all users to request similar amounts of data. If anything, I would expect costs to rise because someone will still need more data more quickly, thus requiring more cable to be laid to handle the increased demand.

    Unless I’m very gravely mistaken, AOL developed quite the notorious reputation during the 90’s, precisely for the difficulties described in your link. …I also notice that many people–myself included–avoid it like the plague.
    Here again, if the content on the ‘net stinks, we ought to patronize those outlets most who provide better content. ..and work at evangelizing others, so that rotten markets will be caused to shrink.

  34. SimonDodd says:

    Dennis Martin will be delighted to know that the FCC has published its changes. It has been two weeks–barely. How the internet has spoiled us; time was, the Supreme Court decided a case, and all you’d have for weeks before the slip opinion did the rounds by mimeograph or photocopy, or a month or two before the pre-print reports, was what the media reported. Same thing with bills passed by Congress, or even your state legislature; unless you were physically able to visit the (state) capitol, you had to wait until the end of the session because that’s all that was possible within the limits of the physical channels of distribution that predated the internet.
    If having to wait a couple of weeks to see a government document is “tyranny,” it turns out that we have been living under tyranny all this time and we never knew it!

    Kids today, man.

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