Sunday, July 20, 2014

Fight For Open Internet Is Not Over

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering rules that will change the internet, enabling Comcast and other owners of the internet backbone to charge those who originate or receive content whatever the market will bear, dividing the internet into so-called "fast" and "slow" lanes.


IT MEANS the "fast lanes" will go to wealthy corporations like ABC­ Disney, CBS­Viacom, NetFlix, HBO, ESPN, YouTube, Amazon, and Facebook, all of which can pay Comcast & other internet backbone owners millions for the privilege of reaching you. Since Comcast also owns NBC­Universal, it will reserve high speed capacity for its own content too.

IT MEANS broadcast radio stations that stream their content via the internet will have to pay up, or their listeners must pay to hear them.

IT MEANS internet radio, which has never made much money, will be over, since it will not be able to afford the tolls.

IT MEANS low cost phone providers like Vonage & Magik­Jack and all the makers of long distance discount phone cards must raise prices steeply to pay the tolls, or go out of business, because they all route their calls over the internet.

IT MEANS newspapers, magazines and online journalism of all kinds, along with the voices of scholars, small businesses, blogs and communities will quickly disappear, unable pay “fast lane” tolls. Opinions independent of the owners of corporate media will become difficult to publish and hard to find.

IT MEANS artists who sell their work over the internet will be forced to use just a few middlemen, like Amazon and Apple, which will take an even larger rake off the top and will possess nearly complete control over what is available.

IT MEANS greedy telecom companies will finally achieve their dream of being able to charge for “long distance” or “international” email, or to limit the number of emails you can send, forward or receive without additional tolls.

IT MEANS email listserves which send bulk email to customers, scholars, and interest groups of all kinds might be forced to pay tolls as well.

The original deadline for FCC comments was July 15.  But such a vast number of people sought to comment on the pending rules changes before the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) which would divide the internet into fast and slow lanes depending on how much those producing or receiving the content can pay, that the FCC's system for taking those comments broke down repeatedly.


The link where you can post your comment is here.

Please tell them that at the very least the internet should be classified as a "common carrier," or better yet a public utility.

In the age we live in, cheap, reliable, and widely available fast broadband internet access is needed for education, for accessing medical care, banking, government services and much more.  It's as essential to economic development as paved roads.  The internet really ought to be a public utility.



Bruce A. Dixon
Managing Editor,
Black Agenda Report

Public Comment 

As of Friday at 4 p.m., 1,062,000 public comments had been filed in the FCC’s Open Internet proceeding.

The following is a statement from FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler regarding this outpouring of comments:

“When the Commission launched its effort to restore Open Internet protections that were struck down in January, I said that where we end up depends on what we learn during this process.

We asked the public a fundamental question:“What is the right public policy to ensure that the Internet remains open?

”We are grateful so many Americans have answered our call. Our work is just beginning as we review the more than one million comments we have received. There are currently no rules on the books to protect an Open Internet and prevent ISPs from blocking or degrading the public’s access to content. There is no question the Internet must remain open as a platform for innovation, economic growth and free expression.

Today’s deadline is a checkpoint, not the finish line for public comment. We want to continue to hear from you. “

Tom Wheeler (Pictured above) became the 31st Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on November 4, 2013. Chairman Wheeler was appointed by President Barack Obama and unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate.

Open Internet

The "Open Internet" is the Internet as we know it. It's open because it uses free, publicly available standards that anyone can access and build to, and it treats all traffic that flows across the network in roughly the same way. The principle of the Open Internet is sometimes referred to as "net neutrality." Under this principle, consumers can make their own choices about what applications and services to use and are free to decide what lawful content they want to access, create, or share with others. This openness promotes competition and enables investment and innovation.

The Open Internet also makes it possible for anyone, anywhere to easily launch innovative applications and services, revolutionizing the way people communicate, participate, create, and do business—think of email, blogs, voice and video conferencing, streaming video, and online shopping. Once you're online, you don't have to ask permission or pay tolls to broadband providers to reach others on the network. If you develop an innovative new website, you don't have to get permission to share it with the world.

On December 23, 2010, the Commission released the Open Internet Order, which established high-level rules requiring transparency and prohibiting blocking and unreasonable discrimination to protect Internet openness.  The FCC's rules were challenged in federal court, and on January 14, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit affirmed the Commission's authority to regulate broadband Internet access service and upheld the Commission's judgment that Internet openness encourages broadband investment and that its absence could ultimately inhibit broadband deployment.  The court upheld the transparency rule, but vacated the no-blocking and no-unreasonable-discrimination rules. The court also invited the FCC to act to preserve a free and open Internet

In response, the FCC on May 15 launched a rulemaking seeking public comment on how best to protect and promote an open Internet.  The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking poses a broad range of questions to elicit the broadest range of input from everyone impacted by the Internet, from consumers and small businesses to providers and start-ups.   The public is encouraged to comment in this proceeding at

The 2010 transparency rule remains in full force and effect, requiring broadband Internet access service providers to disclose the network management practices, performance characteristics, and terms and conditions of their broadband services. This rule helps consumers make informed choices about their broadband service, and it gives edge providers technical information that helps them develop their business plans and assess risks.  If you think there has been a violation of the open Internet rules, you can file a complaint with the FCC.

—> Edited by Anibal Ibarra

No comments:

Post a Comment