FCC Passes Net Neutrality Rules: Plenty to Hate

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Yesterday the FCC passed new ‘Net Neutrality’ rules along party lines: 3-2.  The full text of the rules haven’t yet been released, but the draft proposals have drawn plenty of fire from both sides, and many experts predict different portions will end up in court soon after they take effect at the beginning of next year.

If I understand correctly, the FCC failed to assert that wireless broadband should fall under their jurisdiction and classify Broadband as a communication service, leaving telecoms to their own devices, making it possible to control what applications you can access on hand-held devices.  

The new rules seem to provide for a two-tiered service for different IPs, and that corporate  heavy-hitters like Google and Amazon will be able to provide faster access than the second-tier IPs.

Boldprogressives.org:

1: Corporate censorship is allowed on your phone

The rules passed today by Obama FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski absurdly create different corporate censorship rules for wired and wireless Internet, allowing big corporations like Comcast to block websites they don’t like on your phone — a clear failure to fulfill Net Neutrality and put you, the consumer, in control of what you can and can’t do online.2

2: Online tollbooths are allowed, destroying innovation

The rules passed today would allow big Internet Service Providers like Verizon and Comcast to charge for access to the “fast lane.” Big companies that could afford to pay these fees like Google or Amazon would get their websites delivered to consumers quickly, while independent newspapers, bloggers, innovators, and small businesses would see their sites languish in the slow lane, destroying a level playing field for competition online and clearly violating Net Neutrality.3

3: The rules allow corporations to create “public” and “private” Internets, destroying the one Internet as we know it

For the first time, these rules would embrace a “public Internet” for regular people vs. a “private Internet” with all the new innovations for corporations who pay more — ending the Internet as we know it and creating tiers of free speech and innovation, accessible only if you have pockets deep enough to pay off the corporations.


The statement issued by the FCC about why it chose to pass the rules gets ridiculed by engadget.com; they wonder if the FCC should have consulted some 17-year-old kids about Android:

[snip]  “Further, we recognize that there have been meaningful recent moves toward openness, including the introduction of open operating systems like Android. In addition, we anticipate soon seeing the effects on the market of the openness conditions we imposed on mobile providers that operate on upper 700 MHz C-Block spectrum, which includes Verizon Wireless, one of the largest mobile wireless carriers in the U.S.

In light of these considerations, we conclude it is appropriate to take measured steps at this time to protect the openness of the Internet when accessed through mobile broadband.

Now, we obviously love Android, and there’s no doubt that Google’s OS has been part of some wonderfully furious competition in the mobile space recently. But we’re not sure any of that has anything to do with net neutrality — it doesn’t matter how open your OS is when you’re stuck with a filtered and throttled connection, and it’s a pretty huge stretch to think Android’s openness (however you want to define it) has anything to do with network access itself. And let’s not forget that the primary proponent of the 700MHz open-access rules was Google, which promptly flip-flopped on the issue when it became Verizon’s policy BFF after the Droid launch — if we were slightly more paranoid, we’d be pretty sure there’s a link between the FCC’s Android mention and the combined furious lobbying of Google and Verizon. Nice try, boys — but how about you make with the actual rules now?”


Wired.com is quite sanguine bout the rules, as is the business community at large.  Republicans are irate at any attempts to regulate even this much, and Mitch McConnel claims Obama is trying to take over the internet.

Obama campaigned on Internet Neutrality, and is proud of the FCC’s rules; The Hill claims there was a lot of pressure from Dems on Copps and Clyburn to avoid burning the White House on this deal.  

It’s hard not to see this as a major burn to consumers.

David Rosen and Bruce Kushnik say that the real story is the backstory concerning BitTorrent and peer-to-peer communications.  

http://www.alternet.org/media/…

(I’m bailing on hyperlinks again; sorry.)

Wired.com: http://www.wired.com/epicenter…

The Hill McConnel: http://thehill.com/blogs/congr…

Pressure on FCC Dems Copps and Mignon I-forget-her-last-name: http://thehill.com/blogs/congr…

Obama loves it: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-…

Bold progressives: http://act.boldprogressives.or…

14 comments

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  1. http://www.alternet.org/media/

    “The rule is so riddled with loopholes that it’s become clear that this FCC chairman crafted it with the sole purpose of winning the endorsement of AT&T and cable lobbyists, and not defending the interests of the tens of millions of Internet users.”

  2. http://www.itworld.com/governm

    FCC rules would allow carriers to:

    limit how many Netflix movies you can stream to your house;

    limit how much interoffice video you can run;

    throttle the bandwidth and quality of your VoIP systems during heavy traffic periods;

    reduce your ability to use video, audio or applications on Web sites aimed at customers;

    limit the responsiveness and functional speed of SAAS or cloud-based applications that require a lot of bandwidth and are not tolerant of jitter or latency.

    What exactly can’t carriers do?

    I don’t know.

    And here’s an overview of White House pressure from HuffPo…

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

    Why did the FCC take a dive? It’s a simple political calculation. At the urging of the White House, Genachowski wanted AT&T’s buy-in to whatever the Commission did. He chose to make AT&T happy over the objections of traditional Democratic constituencies, like people of color and over the objections of the public interest community.

    The idea here is that allowing virtually any kind of restrictions the carriers want to put on wireless will be especially onerous in inner-city neighborhoods, where wireless is typically the only way to access the internet.

    • RUKind on December 23, 2010 at 6:17 am

    Seems like all five at that table were already neutered by the great ATTConCast genie.

    “If it isn’t broken then regulate it. If it is broken then don’t regulate it.” RUKind

  3. The internet as a cheap AOL hell suburban shopping mall devoid of any rational discourse.  My long term prognositcation from the electronic industry’s direction of shoving max bandwidth into serial interfaces…ie…that capability to shove commercial crap into any mobile device.

    OK, so why are they not “regulating” mobile devices?   Well,, because they already SOLD that fucking bandwidth, that’s why.

    If I wanted movies on the cell phone I don’t own…..well I would stick my head in a microwave oven and hit Frappee.

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