Sen. Hatch responds to Obama’s net neutrality statement

stock image | St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY — Sen. Orrin Hatch, current member and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and chairman of the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force, made the following statement Monday on net neutrality:

In a 2009 Wall Street Journal op-ed about the importance of net neutrality, I wrote that ‘the Internet has grown because of a virtuous and mutually beneficial circle: network operators provide ever-increasing speed and bandwidth; content providers one-up each other with game-changing innovations; and consumers adapt and adopt at lightning speed.’ In the five years since, the Internet has only continued to expand. Yet the President now seeks to use 80-year-old regulations to control that incredible growth.  It’s not 1934, and we are not dealing with telephones you hold in two parts.  I’m proud of the work Senate Republicans have done to lay out an agenda for encouraging growth and innovation here in America, and we must defend against the use of a decades-old regulatory framework that would hurt that progress.

As chairman of the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force, Hatch has been a strong voice for net neutrality. In the next Congress, Hatch will focus on a pro-tech, pro-innovation agenda that relies heavily on a free and open internet.

Submitted by the Offices of Orrin Hatch

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  • Bender November 10, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Uncle Orrin: keeping the Internet Tubes safe for monopolists to continue to make bank on. US: lags the rest of the world in fast and inexpensive internet. You can bet the lobbyists from Comcast, Verizon and CenturyLink have Uncle Orrin on speed dial.

    • Jaybird November 10, 2014 at 9:26 pm

      Too true, Bender. It’s sad and upsetting.

  • Koolaid November 10, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Aren’t those 80-year-old regulations the same ones that older than the dinosaurs Hatch wanted? When is this petrified … going to become extinct?
    Ed. ellipsis.

    • Jaybird November 10, 2014 at 9:27 pm

      With you all the way Koolaid.

    • Zonkerb November 11, 2014 at 5:02 am

      Hopefully PDQ

  • Kacee November 10, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    1934 Did Orrin introduce that bill? Seriously what kind of check will Comcast and the rest be sending him on this little gift.

  • Jaybird November 10, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    Poor Hatch. He probably just dusted off his computer last week since he learned to turn it on without the help of his assistant. Now he wants regulation, when it only effects the little guy.

  • RGinSG November 11, 2014 at 12:41 am

    So is he for our against? My understanding was that Obama wants net neutrality

    • Big Guy November 11, 2014 at 7:07 am

      I agree that Hatch’s position isn’t clear from his statement. He says he wants net neutrality but no regulation. Those two are incongruent with the common usage of these terms.

  • Big Guy November 11, 2014 at 5:52 am

    Opposing something in knee jerk fashion just because Sen. Hatch favors it doesn’t reflect understanding of a complex subject. High speed streaming services like Netflix create well over half of all Internet traffic, as much as 80 % at peak times. Netflix subscribers expect uninterrupted service. To provide the needed capacity, Internet service providers (ISPs) must spend significantly on new equipment. Who should pay for this equipment caused by Netflix, et al? Two possibilities: (A) raise rates for all ISP customers, regardless of whether they use Netflix or similar services or not. This is “net neutrality:” every data packet is given equal priority. (B) ISPs strike deals with Netflix, et al, to guarantee priority delivery of their streaming data and Netflix pays for this service. The ISPs use these funds to upgrade their systems and Netflix raises its monthly rates to cover its higher costs. Thus only Netflix users end up paying for the additional equipment needed. But this requires private contracts negotiated between ISPs and Netflix that raise suspicions from Obama and the likes of BENDER and KOOLAID who demand government regulation and approval (of just about everything, I might add). Not without reason, many will be suspicious that someone is getting a “special deal” at their expense. Meanwhile others want the government to stay away from the Internet which has exploded far faster than any regulator could possibly have responded. Should Netflix have been required to get government approval before it launched its service since it needed so much additional bandwidth? An analogy: should Amazon be allowed to negotiate with UPS and FedEx for special service or should the government step in a require that all UPS and FedEx customers get charged the same rates? High speed Internet service is available everywhere in the U.S. If our percentage of high speed users is lower than other countries, that’s a matter of personal choice. Internet service costs are constrained by competition: even in little old St. George, we have a number of providers, none of which is a highly profitable monopoly as BENDER suggests.

    • Bender November 11, 2014 at 8:08 am

      Netflix will install, at its own expense, a caching appliance(s) on any ISP’s premises which will decrease the ISP’s Netflix traffic by orders of magnitude. Comcast, et al have no interest as they want to use Netflix throttling to squeeze both their customers and Netflix. As usual, BIGGUY, your knee jerk response to support the looney right wing view on an issue shows your ignorance.

      • Big Guy November 11, 2014 at 8:43 am

        And what of that ISP’s Netflix customers? They get to wait until the ISP’s traffic is low, possibly hours later, and watch their movies then. Apparently you are in favor of ISPs deciding which content providers they will support with their existing network and which they will not. But isn’t that just the reverse of striking a deal with the provider to “fast track” its content? You are against allowing “fast track” agreements but in favor of allowing ISPs to “slow track” services that clog their networks as they choose. These are two sides of the same coin. Oh, I forgot, letting a government agency dictate how this dilemma is to be solved with cure all problems. You’ve got to be kidding.

        • Bender November 11, 2014 at 10:31 am

          You’re out of your depth dude. There are plenty of references to Netflix’s caching devices and big ISP’s reluctance to use them on the web. Google it up and learn if you want to be informed. Otherwise, keep posting misinformed rants.
          The Netflix caching device sits on the ISP’s premises. It holds essentially the entire catalog of Netflix’s offerings. This allows the ISP’s customers to stream from the ISP’s internal network and relieves the ISP of having to provision huge upstream pipes to satisfy Netflix streaming demand. This is an easy fix and costs the ISP nothing. Comcast, and others, refuse this solution because they are in the video content delivery business themselves (cable companies) and are willing to do whatever they can get away with to hinder Netflix and other streaming services.
          I know you anti-government loons think we can manage ourselves at the state level without the federal government, but giving the beat down to abusive monopolists is one of the most important roles of federal government. See Teddy Roosevelt, Republican, and immortalized in N. Dakota granite.

      • Big Guy November 11, 2014 at 8:51 am

        And this is the same BENDER who complains that the “US lags the rest of the world in fast and inexpensive internet” but wants to encourage ISPs to cache Netflix content rather than upgrade their networks. Which side of this coin is he on? Oops, I forgot again: a government agency could require high speed Internet service for all at a reasonable price, just like health care under Obamacare.

        • Bender November 11, 2014 at 10:32 am

          Like I said above, your confusion on this matter is at the heroic level.

      • Big Guy November 11, 2014 at 12:55 pm

        Address the issue: do you believe that FCC regulation of the Internet will improve quality of service, foster innovation and reduce cost? Should the FCC require ISPs to co-locate Netflix servers on their premises? (Yes, there are costs to do this.) How will the FCC decide which other content providers should be co-located and at what cost? If Netflix comes up with a new service requiring more bandwidth per user or significantly increasing the number of local streaming users, should the FCC first decide whether this new service is desirable and then require the additional investment by ISPs? Should the FCC establish a “fair” rate of return for ISPs? Should the FCC regulate the Internet the way the ICC regulated the trucking industry and the CAB regulated the airline industry before we all wised up? Only a true believer that the “government knows best” could embrace these ideas. I am no apologist for ISPs but they are not monopolies and all have competitors (as do truckers and airlines) who will strive to undercut them on price or service. Does anyone really believe the Internet would be better today if government had regulated it as a utility from day one?

        • Bender November 11, 2014 at 2:57 pm

          Your comparison of the trucking and airline industries with monopolist ISP/cable companies is telling and indicates you have a loose grasp of the problem. You are aware the Internet was the direct result of research, engineering and initial build out by the federal government at which point it was commercialized? The federal government funds, through military, NSF, and other venues, cutting edge networking and communications research which continues to directly benefit internet users. You anti-government dead enders delight in flying the “Gubmit Sucks!” flag yet have no concept of the federal government’s role in making the US the world’s technology leader. Net neutrality rules/legislation are not government overreach. It is a long overdue response to egregiously abusive behavior by incumbent scumbag monopolist cable companies.
          A final point would be that just because someone supports federal regulation in a specific instance, this does not mean he supports any and all federal regulation. I suspect this is too fine of a point to burden a reactionary far right wing mind with.

  • Fred November 11, 2014 at 9:10 am

    “In the next Congress, Hatch will focus on a pro-tech, pro-innovation agenda that relies heavily on a free and open internet.” Except for when someone proposes allowing law enforcement increased access to spy on Americans. When that comes up, Senator Hatch will be all for it.

  • Aaron Judd November 11, 2014 at 10:00 am

    I posted this article to a close friend of mine in DC who is significantly better informed than I. I found this article to be a little flip floppy and hard to follow. I’m hesitate to say he is my know all end all of information however he makes it his business to understand whats going on and digger a little deeper than I typically care to. I thought I would share our conversation. First he translates this into commonsense, then breaks up some concerns I had regarding this issue. I hope you enjoy it.

    >>”In a 2009 Wall Street Journal op-ed about the importance of net neutrality, I wrote that ‘the Internet has grown because of a virtuous and mutually beneficial circle: network operators provide ever-increasing speed and bandwidth; content providers one-up each other with game-changing innovations; and consumers adapt and adopt at lightning speed.”

    Translation: In 2009, I supported Net Neutrality, because It was important

    >>”In the five years since, the Internet has only continued to expand.”

    Translation: I’m about to justify why I’ve changed my mind.

    >> “Yet the President now seeks to use 80-year-old regulations to control that incredible growth. It’s not 1934, and we are not dealing with telephones you hold in two parts.”

    Translation: Hey, Obama now favors it, so I’m opposed to it. I supported it in 2009, when it was a 75 year old regulation and apparently the internet was telephones you hold at two parts, but in 2014, this isn’t the case anymore. Oh who am I kidding, I’m just spewing wordvomit because I’m backtracking support since the President now favors this, and I can’t be seen as supporting something the president does.

    >>”I’m proud of the work Senate Republicans have done to lay out an agenda for encouraging growth and innovation here in America, and we must defend against the use of a decades-old regulatory framework that would hurt that progress.”

    Translation: Screw Senate Democrats, we are in control now!
    >>So is he saying, there needs to be change but not in favor of big communication?

    Let me introduce you to something called Political Spin, Judd.
    It’s the idea that I can sell Ketchup to a lady with white gloves and convinces her it’s ok and good for her, nothing will happen.

    Just because you call something a pro-tech, pro-innovation agenda, doesn’t mean it is. The only thing that is pro-tech and pro-innovation is Net Neutrality. But calling doing away with Net Neutrality also pro-tech and pro-innovation is a genius way of confusing everyone.

    >> Is he still backing net neutrality?
    Nope. He is announcing he is switching positions.

    >>Could you go into a little but about how we can maintain net neutrality and still expect high demand high speed high deff instant streaming?

    You’re talking about to different things. The Speed of the internet is called Data Bandwidth. You can expect high speed internet by paying for a higher bandwidth speed. Net Neutrality does not affect this. How fast your internet is, is not the same as charging for data.

    >>Someone said netflix now has a majority of internet users in the US who’s customers demand instant streaming. In order for this to be maintained the isp’s have to spend more money to create and innovate ways to provide the data, therefore they are forced to either charge all of their customer base more money regardless of their Netflix use, or charge Netflix to offer high speed. Is there truth to this?

    Netflix does have the majority of users in the US who demand to instant stream. The ISPs do have to spend more money to create and innovate new ways, but they simply pass that cost on to the consumers in the form of tiered data plans, and bandwidth packages. Imagine watching Netflix in 56k AOL dail up. You can’t. You must pay higher tier data bandwidth plans to stream it. That cost is to pick up and pay for that expanded network. You have/are already paying the costs of your ISP expanding the network when you pay your higher bandwidth premium.

    >>>If that is the case what do the big companies like google, Netflix and amazon offer as solutions to large communications so called … Financial problem?

    Yeah get out of the business and let individual tiny companies like Cox take over, instead of Verizon and TimeWarner trying to take over the US and call dibs on areas. Verizon/TimeWarner makes Billions Judd, Billions of dollars. Believe me, they are in no Financial problem, they just want even more money .

    • Bender November 11, 2014 at 10:34 am

      Thanks Aaron for some intelligent analysis.

  • Big Guy November 11, 2014 at 1:54 pm

    “Net neutrality” is one of those terms that, like “pro-life” and “pro-choice,” seems impossible to disagree with…until you understand what it means. For Obama, it means Internet regulation by the FCC, plain and simple. (I don’t understand Hatch’s press release in which he supports net neutrality but opposes regulation.) I asked BENDER above to address the issue of whether he supports FCC regulation of the Internet and posed questions that he should consider. I suggest that majority of the commenters above ask themselves the same questions, most of whom are supporting FCC Internet regulation and all that implies, whether they know it or not.

    • Bender November 11, 2014 at 3:06 pm

      Monopolists will always wave the banner of government overreach when someone suggests putting rules in place to stop their abuses. There will always be dupes that buy into their propaganda. It appears BIG GUY is throwing in with abusive Mega-corps while the rest of us side with consumers, small business, continued innovation on the Internet and reasonable government regulation. It never ceases to amaze me how the far right continues to support policies that are directly and absolutely not in their best long or short term interest.

    • Aaron Judd November 11, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      Big Guy. I don’t disagree that the idea of regulation in any form can cause issue. However if we consider the very likely moves large cable providers will take in order to maintain local monopolies, lining their pickets with cash, while have a chokehold on a resource that many other providers can offer better service, most Americans would agree to allow the FCC to restrict them of this choke hold. Take a look at this video posted, it’s an idea I can get behind It’s the governments responsibility to act in the name of the people, and sadly for you, the people have already spoken about what they want so hopefully the government will step in and allow us to have what we want for once.

      • Big Guy November 11, 2014 at 7:26 pm

        AARON JUDD, the video you link is unvarnished socialist thinking. It makes the argument that somehow the market is failing large numbers of citizens and therefore government should provide Internet service. Contrary to the first thing in the accompanying article, Comcast does NOT have a monopoly in the Washington D.C. area and nearby suburbs. I readily found at least two major providers there, in Northern Virginia and in Maryland, just as we have here in St. George. The socialist argument has been made for well over 150 years by liberals everywhere trying to justify why government should own the means of production and service. Can you name a socialist success story: The USSR? Russia? Cuba? Venezuela? China has emerged in the last 25 years only by embracing a market-based economy with private companies competing, spurring innovation and efficiency. Closer to home, how would you compare customer service at almost any local retail store with service at the DMV? This St. George News site is replete with complaints about local government: apparently local government’s customer service fails to meet expectations. Would government-provided Internet service somehow be better? And I’m still trying to understand what you meant by “sadly for you, the people have already spoken.” Yes they have, and by an overwhelming majority they have rejected Obama’s over-reaching “government will take care of you” philosophy; think of the VA, the IRS, Ebola, Obamacare. You and others posting on this topic let your in-bred antipathy to “evil” big business lead you to an automatic desire for government to regulate the lifeblood out of the Internet. Big businesses often disappoint us: that’s why we turn to their competitors.

  • Mongo November 11, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    “In order to keep the Internet open and free, we must regulate the Internet.” – Every crook in Washington.

  • Big Guy November 12, 2014 at 7:55 am

    BENDER refers to Comcast as a “scumbag monopolist cable company.” Comcast is the sole cable provider in many of its markets, but it is not a monopolist by any definition. It competes fiercely with DirecTV and Dish for television subscribers and competes for Internet subscribers with wireline phone companies (Verizon and others) and wireless companies (both terrestrial and satellite+wireline). Comcast may be a “scumbag” but it’s not a monopolist. BENDER avoids responding directly to any of my questions above but Obama does not. Obama called on the FCC to reclassify broadband Internet access as a utility and ban providers from blocking or slowing down traffic, or striking deals to give some websites special treatment. BENDER was quick to claim that Comcast could co-locate Netflix video servers at ISP head ends “at no cost to the ISP” (wrong). But such co-location would clearly be “striking deals to give some websites special treatment,” even if the deal was forced on the ISP by the FCC and involved no compensation. If Comcast is deliberately slowing down any website’s traffic, that is unacceptable (but also hard, expensive and easily “outed” by a disgruntled employee). But if Netflix traffic is slowed by the sheer volume of all traffic, then Netflix should cut a “special deal.” BENDER’s assertion that if users pay for a higher connection speed, their Netflix delays would go away is dead wrong. Delays can be caused by heavy traffic upstream of an ISP or by inadequate local provisioning. Internet service over cable systems is a shared service with one’s neighbors. A cable ISP must make investments to expand local networks when they become overloaded. I will be among the first to acknowledge that the Federal government’s spending on military and medical research have benefitted us all: everyone knows Al Gore (with a little help from DARPA) invented the Internet. But BENDER’s rant has nothing to do with whether it is wise to regulate the Internet. I ask again, will FCC Internet regulation improve quality of service, enhance innovation and/or lower costs? Few would think so. Or is regulation just a way for some to lash out at a corporate “scumbag” regardless of regulation’s impact and unintended consequences for us all?

  • Bender November 12, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Comcast, and other cable giants, are indeed monopolists in most of their service areas in the realm of Internet delivery, which is what we are arguing over. Satellite and cellular Internet delivery are not suitable replacements. In many urban areas you get high speed internet from big cable, or you don’t get it at all. Google up the term “most despised companies” and read the horror stories.
    Your confusion about Netflix caching appliances persists. Read this and perhaps you’ll get a better grip on the facts ( though I hold scant hope):
    “BENDER’s assertion that if users pay for a higher connection speed, their Netflix delays would go away is dead wrong.” I never said this, nor does it make a lick of sense. Where in the world did you get this?
    It’s comical that in your role as a far right wing apologist you defend the indefensible. Doesn’t the cognitive dissonance make your noodle ache?

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