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FCC Chair Genachowski Resigns; What Effect on Net Regulation? 42

Posted by timothy
from the wish-the-government-would-be-neutral-toward-the-net dept.
New submitter RougeFemme writes with news of Friday's announcement that FCC chairman Julius Genachowski will step down in the next several weeks (also at Politico), and asks "Obama promised us the continuation of a free, open Internet. Will the resignation of the FCC chairman have any affect on that 'net neutrality'?"
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FCC Chair Genachowski Resigns; What Effect on Net Regulation?

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  • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @10:36AM (#43262853) Journal

    That right there should tell you how that will turn out.

  • My question is (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    What company will be his new employer: Comcast? Verizon?

  • by HavenBastion (2457216) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @10:58AM (#43262953)
    it's pretty goddamned ridiculous that one person can presumably have so great an effect on the freedom of us all in a way that goes well beyond national boundaries or the ability of any single individual to know if they're doing the right thing.
    • Does the FCC chairman actually have much power?

      As far as I can tell:

      1. They can't make any significant decisions themselves. All actual power in the FCC is held by the 5-member FCC board, which is required to have at least 2 members from each of the major parties.

      2. Most of the ridiculous things about telecom law are passed by Congress, not decided by the FCC itself (and certainly not individually by the FCC chairman). And if Congress wanted to fix any of them, they could pass better laws: even for the things the FCC does have the authority to make decisions on, it's precisely because Congress punted on making a decision, and delegated the authority.

      • by rnturn (11092)
        And... with two members of the FCC board leaving, will anything at all get done? If the FCC rules are anything like those of the NLRB, they may not have a quorum and would be prevented from making any decisions regarding regulation at all. I fully expect that any nominees to the FCC will be blocked by an anonymous senator making a simple phone call to the Senate leadership that will neatly prevent anyone's nomination going to the floor for a vote and leaving the FCC toothless. Nothing will get done.
  • Never forget (Score:5, Informative)

    by TubeSteak (669689) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @11:27AM (#43263119) Journal

    http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/11/f-c-c-commissioner-to-join-comcast/ [nytimes.com]

    Four months after the Federal Communications Commission approved a hotly contested merger of Comcast and NBC Universal,
    one of the commissioners who voted for the deal said on Wednesday that she would soon join Comcast's Washington lobbying office.

  • Every one of Obama's campaign promises comes with a expiration date...

    • "Every one of Obama's campaign promises comes with a expiration date..."

      I can hardly wait for the expiration date of his term in office. The guy is evil. Sadly, he's evil in such a way that many Americans don't even see it. And that just adds to the evil.

      • What, you have evidence his replacement will be any different?

        • "What, you have evidence his replacement will be any different?"

          I wouldn't call it evidence, but if the trends shown with the last 3 Presidents are any indication, the next one will be even worse.

          (1) Clinton. - I wouldn't call him a GREAT President, but at least his administration had the economy in order.

          (2) George W. Bush - What can I say?

          (3) Barack Obama - Yikes! Run for the hills! Stock up on food and ammo while you can still get them!

  • While the transition from analogue to digital OTA television was decades in the making, Julius Genachowski saw the actual cut-over event as an opportunity to supply newfound spectrum to the suddenly burgeoning wireless data and mobile phone industry segments. Genachowski was the driving force in trying to squeeze down the amount of broadcast spectrum that had been given long ago to analogue OTA TV broadcasting. Historically, the reassignment of analogue UHF TV channels 70 through 83 to other industries in t

  • by isdnip (49656) on Sunday March 24, 2013 @01:17PM (#43263743)

    First off, it should be understood that the existing "net neutrality" rules (FCC Rules 47CFR Part 8) are being challenged in the courts, and odds on will be overturned. That's because they were designed to be overturned! They were a political feint designed to get past the last elections before the (DC Circuit) court got to them, which will be this year. Before adopting Part 8, the FCC suggested other rule options that would have been legal, but they put flagrant errors in their actual Order, as if to say "overturn me!". (The biggest one was hanging it on Section 706, basically a legal footnote, which doesn't grant that power, rather than Title II of the law, which could, if applied correctly, which would probably have opened the telco networks a bit more.)

    This is a good thing. The rules, were they to stand, would be very dangerous.

    The commercial Internet did not get created by government-imposed rules; it was however created because government-imposed rules on the telephone companies required them to allow ISPs to use their facilities. The key rule, dating back to 1980, was called Computer II. So ISPs could lease lines for business and do dial-up for consumers. And until 2005 ISPs could lease DSL for consumers too. Then the FCC, which had shifted in 2001 (hmmm... who took over that year?) to become very strongly in cahoots with the Bell companies (SBC/ATT, VZ, Qwest). They "deregulated" the phone companies, allowing them to not provide access to ISPs, so the phone companies could be the only ISPs on their DSL and fiber networks.

    Telco networks were common carriers. They had to be absolutely, totally content-neutral, as they were tariffed as "dumb" bit pipes. ISPs are legally treated as "information" providers, which grants editorial control and is meant to be the content, not the carriage. They are largely used like carriers, but that's because the carriers suck so bad.

    It was a couple of months after that FCC move that the term "network neutrality" came out. It was a terrible idea, meaning that because there was no competition any more for Internet, just cable vs. telco, the Internet itself should become content-regulated. So spammers, pirate CDNs, and other miscreants would have the right to congest your ISP and your ISP would not be allowed to do anything about it. They could do "reasonable network management", though, which means, basically, "whoever makes the most campaign contributions wins". Small ISPs would be creamed; Verizon (the law firm with an antenna on the roof) could do anything, including block much-wanted content.

    Julius did very little to fix this. Until 2011 he had a real hard-on for Verizon FiOS, though when VZ said they were discontinuing its expansion, he got ticked. The previous Chairman, Kevin Martin, hated hated hated Comcast (which is run by Democrats); Julius G was friendly to them. But didn't change the FCC's anti-competitive trajectory very much. Wall Street likes monopolies. Julius is a Wall Street kind of guy (a VC).

    So long as people argue for Internet content regulation ("network neutrality"), instead of for a free choice of ISPs ("open networks"), they'll be spinning their wheels. Alas, the next Chairman (probably Wheeler, Kornbluh, Sandoval, Levin, or Strickling) is unlikely to change much. Susan Crawford would really shake things up, but is probably too controversial to get the job.

    • by jdogalt (961241)

      note that parent author isdnip wrote this choice comment last year-

      "No, NAT will not die. NAT is a good idea, not a bad one. Virtually everyone uses firewalls nowadays, most of which do NAT, which adds a level of security (not enough by itself, but it helps).

      It is a critical flaw in TCP/IP architecture that the application translates the name to the address and sees the IP address. And there's never a good reason for applications to have numeric IP addresses inside them. NAT only breaks broken applications.

      • by isdnip (49656)

        Yes, I did, and I stand by my words. But it has nothing to do with Julius or his successor. Except that the FCC now and then talks about encouraging IPv6, as if it were The Thing To Do, probably because some financial capital types told them there's money in it. This is one more reason why I don't trust the FCC to do their planned "IP transition", as if that were the solution to telephone network modernization. That and 759 pages of a relevant Order that never mentioned the existence of the session borde

        • by jdogalt (961241)

          IPv6, at least as it was taught to me in my computer engineering degree, was about several things, though the most prominent is simply the transitioning from 32 bit to 128 bit addresses, thus making IP addresses not a scarce resource. That sounds good to me. In fact I eagerly awated it for a decade such that it would allow me to run, e.g. a quake3 video game server at home, without any valid reason for my "Internet Service Provider" to complain. Of course when Google was my first ISP offering residential

          • by isdnip (49656)

            All I can say is that this proves how computer engineering curricula today suck. I've been in the network business for decades, and work closely with people who were there when the IPNG fiasco led to IPv6. It ain't pretty and it was a total fustercluck.

            Not wanting customers to have servers at home is a different problem entirely.

  • Now why in the world would anyone give up such a powerful position? I know, he's going to donate all his time and energy to charitable organizations. Yeah, I didn't really think so either.
  • by x181 (2677887)
    Vampire Bueller's Day Off.

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