Net Neutrality FCC Vote Today December 14, 2017

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by hmscott, Dec 14, 2017.

  1. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

    Reputations:
    4,331
    Messages:
    15,285
    Likes Received:
    18,765
    Trophy Points:
    931
    Read the dissenting statements of the Democratic FCC commissioners slamming net neutrality repeal
    By Colin Lecher@colinlecher Dec 14, 2017, 11:49am EST
    https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/14/16776712/fcc-commissioners-democrat-statements-net-neutrality

    "Ahead of the FCC’s historic vote on a rollback of net neutrality protections, the two Democratic FCC commissioners have released the full text of their comments on the vote. As they’ve already publicly — and vocally — said, both are voting against the proposal, which is expected to unwind the Obama-era rules through a 3-2 party-line vote.

    Both Democratic commissioners were also serving at the agency when those rules passed in 2015. Commissioner Mignon Clyburn says she dissents as she is “among the millions” who are “outraged” by the FCC’s conduct. “Why are millions so alarmed?” she says. “Because they understand the risks this all poses and even those who may not know what Title II authority is, know that they will be at risk without it.”

    Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel similarly slams the FCC’s plan. “Net neutrality is internet freedom,” her statement begins. “I support that freedom.”

    Below are both statements. First, Clyburn’s:
    I dissent. I dissent from this fiercely-spun, legally-lightweight, consumer-harming, corporate-enabling Destroying Internet Freedom Order.

    I dissent, because I am among the millions who is outraged. Outraged, because the FCC pulls its own teeth, abdicating responsibility to protect the nation’s broadband consumers. Why are we witnessing such an unprecedented groundswell of public support, for keeping the 2015 net neutrality protections in place? Because the public can plainly see, that a soon-to-be-toothless FCC, is handing the keys to the Internet – the Internet, one of the most remarkable, empowering, enabling inventions of our lifetime – over to a handful of multi-billion dollar corporations. And if past is prologue, those very same broadband internet service providers, that the majority says you should trust to do right by you, will put profits and shareholder returns above, what is best for you.

    Each of us raised our right hands when we were sworn in as FCC Commissioners, took an oath and promised to uphold our duties and responsibilities ‘to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, without discrimination… a rapid, efficient, Nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.’ Today the FCC majority officially abandons that pledge and millions have taken note.

    I do not believe that there are any FCC or Congressional offices immune to the deluge of consumer outcry. We are even hearing about state and local offices fielding calls and what is always newsworthy is that at last count, five Republican Members of Congress went on the record in calling for a halt of today’s vote. Why such a bipartisan outcry? Because the large majority of Americans are in favor of keeping strong net neutrality rules in place. The sad thing about this commentary, it pains me to say, is what I can only describe as the new norm at the FCC: A majority that is ignoring the will of the people. A majority that will stand idly by while the people they serve lose.

    We have heard story after story of what net neutrality means to consumers and small businesses from places as diverse as Los Angeles’ Skid Row and Marietta, Ohio. I hold in my hand letters that plead with the FCC to keep our net neutrality rules in place but what is striking and in keeping with the new norm, despite the millions of comments, letters, and calls received, this Order cites, not even one. That speaks volumes about the direction the FCC is heading. That speaks volumes about just who is being heard.

    Sole proprietors, whose entire business model, depends on an open internet, are worried that the absence of clear and enforceable net neutrality protections will result in higher costs and fewer benefits because you see: they are not able to pay tolls for premium access. Even large online businesses have weighed in, expressing concern about being subject to added charges as they simply try to reach their own customers. Engineers have submitted comments including many of the internet’s pioneers, sharing with the FCC majority, the fundamentals of how the internet works because from where they sit, there is no way that an item like this would ever see the light of day, if the majority understood the platform some of them helped to create.

    I have heard from innovators, worried that we are standing up a mother-may-I regime, where the broadband provider becomes arbiter of acceptable online business models. And yes, I have heard from consumers, who are worried given that their broadband provider has already shown that they will charge inscrutable below-the-line fees, raise prices unexpectedly, and put consumers on hold for hours at a time. Who will have their best interests at heart in a world without clear and enforceable rules overseen by an agency with clear enforcement authority? A toothless FCC?

    There has been a darker side to all of this over the past few weeks. Threats and intimidation. Personal attacks. Nazis cheering. Russian influence. Fake comments. Those are unacceptable. Some are illegal. They all are to be rejected. But what is also not acceptable, is the FCC’s refusal to cooperate with state attorney general investigations, or allow evidence in the record that would undercut a preordained outcome.

    Many have asked, what happens next? How will all of this – Net Neutrality, my internet experience, look after today? My answer is simple. When the current protections are abandoned, and the rules that have been officially in place since 2015 are repealed, we will have a Cheshire cat version of net neutrality. We will be in a world where regulatory substance fades to black, and all that is left is a broadband provider’s toothy grin and those oh so comforting words: we have every incentive to do the right thing. What they will soon have, is every incentive to do their own thing.

    Now the results of throwing out your Net Neutrality protections, may not be felt right away. Most of us will get up tomorrow morning and over the next week, wade through hundreds of headlines, turn away from those endless prognosticators, and submerge ourselves in a sea of holiday bliss. But what we have wrought will one day be apparent and by then, when you really see what has changed, I fear, it may not only be too late to do anything about it, because there will be no agency empowered to address your concerns. This item insidiously ensures the FCC will never be able to fully grasp the harm it may have unleashed on the internet ecosystem. And that inability might lead decisionmakers to conclude, that the next internet startup that failed to flourish and attempted to seek relief, simply had a bad business plan, when in fact what was missing was a level playing field online.

    Particularly damning is what today’s repeal will mean for marginalized groups, like communities of color, that rely on platforms like the internet to communicate, because traditional outlets do not consider their issues or concerns, worthy of any coverage. It was through social media that the world first heard about Ferguson, Missouri, because legacy news outlets did not consider it important until the hashtag started trending. It has been through online video services, that targeted entertainment has thrived, where stories are finally being told because those same programming were repeatedly rejected by mainstream distribution and media outlets. And it has been through secure messaging platforms, where activists have communicated and organized for justice without gatekeepers with differing opinions blocking them.

    Where will the next significant attack on internet freedom come from? Maybe from a broadband provider allowing its network to congest, making a high-traffic video provider ask what more can it pay to make the pain stop. That will never happen you say? Well it already has. The difference now, is the open question of what is stopping them? The difference after today’s vote, is that no one will be able to stop them.

    Maybe several providers will quietly roll out paid prioritization packages that enable deep-pocketed players to cut the queue. Maybe a vertically-integrated broadband provider decides that it will favor its own apps and services. Or some high-value internet-of-things traffic will be subject to an additional fee. Maybe some of these actions will be cloaked under nondisclosure agreements and wrapped up in mandatory arbitration clauses so that it will be a breach of contract to disclose these publicly or take the provider to court over any wrongdoing. Some may say ‘Of Course this will never happen?” After today’s vote, what will be in place to stop them?

    What we do know, is that broadband providers did not even wait for the ink to dry on this Order before making their moves. One broadband provider, who had in the past promised to not engage in paid prioritization, has now quietly dropped that promise from its list of commitments on its website. What’s next? Blocking or throttling? That will never happen? After today’s vote, exactly who is the cop of the beat that can or will stop them?

    And just who will be impacted the most? Consumers and small businesses, that’s who. The internet continues to evolve and has become ever more critical for every participant in our 21st century ecosystem: government services have migrated online, as have educational opportunities and job notices and applications, but at the same time, broadband providers have continued to consolidate, becoming bigger. They own their own content, they own media companies, and they own or have an interest in other types of services.

    Why are millions so alarmed? Because they understand the risks this all poses and even those who may not know what Title II authority is, know that they will be at risk without it.

    I have been asking myself repeatedly, why the majority is so singularly-focused on overturning these wildly-popular rules? Is it simply because they felt that the 2015 Net Neutrality order, which threw out over 700 rules and dispensed with more than 25 provisions, was too heavy-handed? Is this a ploy to create a “need” for legislation where there was none before? Or is it to establish uncertainty where little previously existed?

    Is it a tactic to undermine the net neutrality protections adopted in 2015 that are currently parked at the Supreme Court? You know, the same rules that were resoundingly upheld by the D.C. Circuit last year? No doubt, we will see a rush to the courthouse, asking the Supreme Court to vacate and remand the substantive rules we fought so hard for over the past few years, because today, the FCC uses legally-suspect means to clear the decks of substantive protections for consumers and competition.

    It is abundantly clear why we see so much bad process with this item: because the fix was already in. There is no real mention of the thousands of net neutrality complaints filed by consumers. Why? The majority has refused to put them in the record while maintaining the rhetoric that there have been no real violations. Record evidence of the massive incentives and abilities of broadband providers to act in anti-competitive ways are missing from the docket? Why? Because they have refused to use the data and knowledge the agency does have, and has relied upon in the past to inform our merger reviews. As the majority has shown again and again, the views of individuals do not matter, including the views of those who care deeply about the substance, but are not Washington insiders.

    There is a basic fallacy underlying the majority’s actions and rhetoric today: the assumption of what is best for broadband providers, is best for America. Breathless claims about unshackling broadband services from unnecessary regulation, are only about ensuring that broadband providers, have the keys to the internet. Assertions that this is merely a return to some imaginary status quo ante, cannot hide the fact, that this is the very first time, that the FCC, has disavowed substantive protections for consumers online.

    And when the current, 2015 Net Neutrality rules are laid to waste, we may be left with no single authority with the power to protect consumers. Now this Order loudly crows about handing over authority of broadband to the FTC, but what is absent from the Order and glossed over in that haphazardly issued afterthought of a Memorandum of Understanding or MOU, is that the FTC is an agency, with no technical expertise in telecommunications; the FTC is an agency that may not even have authority over broadband providers in the first instance; the FTC is an agency that if you can even reach that high bar of proving unfair or deceptive practices and that there issubstantial consumer injury, it will take years upon years to remedy. But don’t just take my word for it: even one of the FTC’s own Commissioners has articulated these very concerns. And if you’re wondering why the FCC is preempting state consumer protection laws in this item without notice, let me help you with a simple jingle that you can easily commit to memory: If it benefits industry, preemption is good; if it benefits consumers, preemption is bad.

    Reclassification of broadband will do more than wreak havoc on net neutrality. It will also undermine our universal service construct for years to come, something which the Order implicitly acknowledges. It will undermine the Lifeline program. It will weaken our ability to support robust broadband infrastructure deployment. And what we will soon find out, is what a broadband market unencumbered by robust consumer protections will look like. I suspect the result will not be pretty.

    I know there are many questions on the mind of Americans right now, including what the repeal of net neutrality will mean for them. To help answer outstanding questions I will host a town hall through Twitter next Tuesday at 2pm EST. What saddens me is that the agency that is supposed to protect you is abandoning you, but what I am pleased to be able to say is the fight to save net neutrality does not end today. This agency does not have, the final word. Thank goodness.

    As I close my eulogy of our 2015 net neutrality rules, carefully crafted rules that struck an appropriate balance in providing consumer protections and enabling opportunities and investment, I take ironic comfort in the words of then Commissioner Pai from 2015, because I believe this will ring true about this Destroying Internet Freedom Order:

    I am optimistic, that we will look back on today’s vote as an aberration, a temporary deviation from the bipartisan path, that has served us so well. I don’t know whether this plan will be vacated by a court, reversed by Congress, or overturned by a future Commission. But I do believe that its days are numbered.

    Amen to that, Mr. Chairman. Amen to that.
    Rosenworcel released the following:
    Net neutrality is internet freedom. I support that freedom. I dissent from this rash decision to roll back net neutrality rules. I dissent from the corrupt process that has brought us to this point. And I dissent from the contempt this agency has shown our citizens in pursuing this path today. This decision puts the Federal Communications Commission on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American public.

    The future of the internet is the future of everything. That is because there is nothing in our commercial, social, and civic lives that has been untouched by its influence or unmoved byits power. And here in the United States our internet economy is the envy of the world. This is because it rests on a foundation of openness.

    That openness is revolutionary. It means you can go where you want and do what you want online without your broadband provider getting in the way or making choices for you. It means every one of us can create without permission, build community beyond geography, organize without physical constraints, consume content we want when and where we want it, and share ideas not just around the corner but across the globe. I believe it is essential that we sustain this foundation of openness—and that is why I support net neutrality.

    Net neutrality has deep origins in communications law and history. In the era when communications meant telephony, every call went through, and your phone company could not cut off your call or edit the content of your conversations. This guiding principle of nondiscrimination meant you were in control of the connections you made.

    This principle continued as time advanced, technology changed, and Internet access became the dial tone of the digital age. So it was twelve years ago—when President George W. Bush was in the White House—that this agency put its first net neutrality policies on paper. In the decade that followed, the FCC revamped and revised its net neutrality rules, seeking to keep them current and find them a stable home in the law. In its 2015 order the FCC succeeded—because in the following year, in a 184-page opinion the agency’s net neutrality rules were fully and completely upheld.

    So our existing net neutrality policies have passed court muster. They are wildly popular. But today we wipe away this work, destroy this progress, and burn down time-tested values that have made our Internet economy the envy of the world.

    As a result of today’s misguided action, our broadband providers will get extraordinary new power from this agency. They will have the power to block websites, throttle services, and censor online content. They will have the right to discriminate and favor the internet traffic of those companies with whom they have pay-for- play arrangements and the right to consign all others to a slow and bumpy road.

    Now our broadband providers will tell you they will never do these things. They say just trust us. But know this: they have the technical ability and business incentive to discriminate and manipulate your internet traffic. And now this agency gives them the legal green light to go ahead and do so.

    This is not good. Not good for consumers. Not good for businesses. Not good for anyone who connects and creates online. Not good for the democratizing force that depends on openness to thrive. Moreover, it is not good for American leadership on the global stage of our new and complex digital world.

    I’m not alone with these concerns. Everyone from the creator of the world wide web to religious leaders to governors and mayors of big cities and small towns to musicians to actors and actresses to entrepreneurs and academics and activists has registered their upset and anger. They are reeling at how this agency could make this kind of mistake. They are wondering how it could be so tone deaf. And they are justifiably concerned that just a few unelected officials could make such vast and far-reaching decisions about the future of the internet.

    So after erasing our net neutrality rules what is left? What recourse do consumers have?

    We’re told don’t worry, competition will save us. But the FCC’s own data show that our broadband markets are not competitive. Half of the households in this country have no choice of broadband provider. So if your broadband provider is blocking websites, you have no recourse. You have nowhere to go.

    We’re told don’t worry, the Federal Trade Commission will save us. But the FTC is not the expert agency for communications. It has authority over unfair and deceptive practices. But to evade FTC review, all any broadband provider will need to do is add new provisions to the fine print in its terms of service. In addition, it is both costly and impractical to report difficulties to the FTC. By the time the FTC gets around to addressing them in court proceedings or enforcement actions, it’s fair to assume that the start-ups and small entities wrestling with discriminatory treatment could be long done. Moreover, what little authority the FTC has is now under question in the courts.

    We’re told don’t worry, the state authorities will save us. But at the same time, the FCC all but clears the field with sweeping preemption of anything that resembles state or local consumer protection.

    If the substance that got us to this point is bad, the process is even worse.

    Let’s talk about the public record.

    The public has been making noise, speaking up, and raising a ruckus. We see it in the protests across the country and outside here today. We see it in how they lit up our phone lines, clogged our e-mail in-boxes, and jammed our online comment system. It might be messy, but whatever our disagreements are on this dais I hope we can agree this is democracy in action—and something we can all support.

    To date, nearly 24 million comments have been filed in this proceeding. There is no record in the history of this agency that has attracted so many filings. But there’s something foul in this record:

    Two million comments feature stolen identities.

    Half a million comments are from Russian addresses.

    Fifty thousand consumer complaints are inexplicably missing from the record.

    I think that’s a problem. I think our record has been corrupted and our process for public participation lacks integrity. Nineteen state attorneys general agree. They have written us demanding we halt our vote until we investigate and get to the bottom of this mess. Identity theft is a crime under state and federal law—and while it is taking place this agency has turned a blind eye to its victims and callously told our fellow law enforcement officials it will not help.

    This is not acceptable. It is a stain on the FCC and this proceeding. This issue is not going away. It needs to be addressed.

    Finally, I worry that this decision and the process that brought us to this point is ugly. It’s ugly in the cavalier disregard this agency has demonstrated to the public, the contempt it has shown for citizens who speak up, and the disdain it has for popular opinion. Unlike its predecessors this FCC has not held a single public hearing on net neutrality. There is no shortage of people who believe Washington is not listening to their concerns, their fears, and their desires. Add this agency to the list.

    I, too, am frustrated. But here’s a twist: I hear you. I listen to what callers are saying. I read the countless, individually written e-mails in my in-box, the posts online, and the very short and sometimes very long letters. And I’m not going to give up—and neither should you. If the arc of history is long, we are going to bend this toward a more just outcome. In the courts. In Congress. Wherever we need to go to ensure that net neutrality stays the law of the land. Because if you are conservative or progressive, you benefit from internet openness. If you come from a small town or big city, you benefit from internet openness. If you are a company or non-profit, you benefit from internet openness. If you are a start-up or an established business, you benefit from internet openness. If you are a consumer or a creator, you benefit from internet openness. If you believe in democracy, you benefit from internet openness.
    ...So let’s persist. Let’s fight. Let’s not stop here or now. It’s too important. The future depends on it."

    Read the Dissenting Opinions of the Only Two FCC Commissioners Trying to Save Net Neutrality [Updated]
    https://gizmodo.com/read-the-dissenting-opinion-of-the-fcc-commissioner-try-1821290547

    "With an issue this important, paraphrasing won’t do. At time of writing, the FCC’s open meeting has begun and soon the commission will vote on an order that will repeal net neutrality and place the future of the open internet in the hands of Verizon, AT&T, and a small handful of other powerful corporations.
    As the FCC is controlled by a Republican majority, the vote is almost certain to pass. But below you will find the dissenting opinion of FCC Commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn, both of whom stand vehemently opposed to Chairman Ajit Pai’s decision to repeal the Obama-era rules enforcing net neutrality. Their statements are sharp, they are brutal, and they are honest.

    “Unlike its predecessors this FCC has not held a single public hearing on net neutrality,” Rosenworcel writes. “There is no shortage of people who believe Washington is not listening to their concerns, their fears, and their desires. Add this agency to the list.”

    Democrat Mignon Clyburn, who was often seen on the ground at net neutrality protests this year in Washington DC, is the FCC’s longest serving commissioner.

    “Particularly damning is what today’s repeal will mean for marginalized groups, like communities of color, that rely on platforms like the internet to communicate, because traditional outlets do not consider their issues or concerns, worthy of any coverage,” she said. “It was through social media that the world first heard about Ferguson, Missouri, because legacy news outlets did not consider it important until the hashtag started trending. It has been through online video services, that targeted entertainment has thrived, where stories are finally being told because those same programming were repeatedly rejected by mainstream distribution and media outlets. And it has been through secure messaging platforms, where activists have communicated and organized for justice without gatekeepers with differing opinions blocking them.”

    You can watch the FCC hearing here and read Rosenworcel and Clyburn’s statements below.

    Here is Rosenworcel’s statement:

    Net neutrality is internet freedom. I support that freedom. I dissent from this rash decision to roll back net neutrality rules. I dissent from the corrupt process that has brought us to this point. And I dissent from the contempt this agency has shown our citizens in pursuing this path today. This decision puts the Federal Communications Commission on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American public.

    The future of the internet is the future of everything. That is because there is nothing in our commercial, social, and civic lives that has been untouched by its influence or unmoved by its power. And here in the United States our internet economy is the envy of the world. This is because it rests on a foundation of openness.

    That openness is revolutionary. It means you can go where you want and do what you want online without your broadband provider getting in the way or making choices for you. It means every one of us can create without permission, build community beyond geography, organize without physical constraints, consume content we want when and where we want it, and share ideas not just around the corner but across the globe. I believe it is essential that we sustain this foundation of openness—and that is why I support net neutrality.

    Net neutrality has deep origins in communications law and history. In the era when communications meant telephony, every call went through, and your phone company could not cut off your call or edit the content of your conversations. This guiding principle of nondiscrimination meant you were in control of the connections you made.

    This principle continued as time advanced, technology changed, and Internet access became the dial tone of the digital age. So it was twelve years ago—when President George W. Bush was in the White House—that this agency put its first net neutrality policies on paper. In the decade that followed, the FCC revamped and revised its net neutrality rules, seeking to keep them current and find them a stable home in the law. In its 2015 order the FCC succeeded—because in the following year, in a 184-page opinion the agency’s net neutrality rules were fully and completely upheld.

    So our existing net neutrality policies have passed court muster. They are wildly popular. But today we wipe away this work, destroy this progress, and burn down time-tested values that have made our Internet economy the envy of the world.

    As a result of today’s misguided action, our broadband providers will get extraordinary new power from this agency. They will have the power to block websites, throttle services, and censor online content. They will have the right to discriminate and favor the internet traffic of those companies with whom they have pay-for-play arrangements and the right to consign all others to a slow and bumpy road.

    Now our broadband providers will tell you they will never do these things. They say just trust us. But know this: they have the technical ability and business incentive to discriminate and manipulate your internet traffic. And now this agency gives them the legal green light to go ahead and do so.

    This is not good. Not good for consumers. Not good for businesses. Not good for anyone who connects and creates online. Not good for the democratizing force that depends on openness to thrive. Moreover, it is not good for American leadership on the global stage of our new and complex digital world.

    I’m not alone with these concerns. Everyone from the creator of the world wide web to religious leaders to governors and mayors of big cities and small towns to musicians to actors and actresses to entrepreneurs and academics and activists has registered their upset and anger. They are reeling at how this agency could make this kind of mistake. They are wondering how it could be so tone deaf. And they are justifiably concerned that just a few unelected officials could make such vast and far-reaching decisions about the future of the internet.

    So after erasing our net neutrality rules what is left? What recourse do consumers have?

    We’re told don’t worry, competition will save us. But the FCC’s own data show that our broadband markets are not competitive. Half of the households in this country have no choice of broadband provider. So if your broadband provider is blocking websites, you have no recourse. You have nowhere to go.

    We’re told don’t worry, the Federal Trade Commission will save us. But the FTC is not the expert agency for communications. It has authority over unfair and deceptive practices. But to evade FTC review, all any broadband provider will need to do is add new provisions to the fine print in its terms of service. In addition, it is both costly and impractical to report difficulties to the FTC. By the time the FTC gets around to addressing them in court proceedings or enforcement actions, it’s fair to assume that the start-ups and small entities wrestling with discriminatory treatment could be long done. Moreover, what little authority the FTC has is now under question in the courts.

    We’re told don’t worry, the state authorities will save us. But at the same time, the FCC all but clears the field with sweeping preemption of anything that resembles state or local consumer protection.

    If the substance that got us to this point is bad, the process is even worse.

    Let’s talk about the public record.

    The public has been making noise, speaking up, and raising a ruckus. We see it in the protests across the country and outside here today. We see it in how they lit up our phone lines, clogged our e-mail in-boxes, and jammed our online comment system. It might be messy, but whatever our disagreements are on this dais I hope we can agree this is democracy in action—and something we can all support.

    To date, nearly 24 million comments have been filed in this proceeding. There is no record in the history of this agency that has attracted so many filings. But there’s something foul in this record:

    Two million comments feature stolen identities.

    Half a million comments are from Russian addresses.

    Fifty thousand consumer complaints are inexplicably missing from the record.

    I think that’s a problem. I think our record has been corrupted and our process for public participation lacks integrity. Nineteen state attorneys general agree. They have written us demanding we halt our vote until we investigate and get to the bottom of this mess. Identity theft is a crime under state and federal law—and while it is taking place this agency has turned a blind eye to its victims and callously told our fellow law enforcement officials it will not help.

    This is not acceptable. It is a stain on the FCC and this proceeding. This issue is not going away. It needs to be addressed.

    Finally, I worry that this decision and the process that brought us to this point is ugly. It’s ugly in the cavalier disregard this agency has demonstrated to the public, the contempt it has shown for citizens who speak up, and the disdain it has for popular opinion. Unlike its predecessors this FCC has not held a single public hearing on net neutrality. There is no shortage of people who believe Washington is not listening to their concerns, their fears, and their desires. Add this agency to the list.

    I, too, am frustrated. But here’s a twist: I hear you. I listen to what callers are saying. I read the countless, individually written e-mails in my in-box, the posts online, and the very short and sometimes very long letters. And I’m not going to give up—and neither should you. If the arc of history is long, we are going to bend this toward a more just outcome. In the courts. In Congress. Wherever we need to go to ensure that net neutrality stays the law of the land. Because if you are conservative or progressive, you benefit from internet openness. If you come from a small town or big city, you benefit from internet openness. If you are a company or non-profit, you benefit from internet openness. If you are a start-up or an established business, you benefit from internet openness. If you are a consumer or a creator, you benefit from internet openness. If you believe in democracy, you benefit from internet openness.

    So let’s persist. Let’s fight. Let’s not stop here or now. It’s too important. The future depends on it.

    And here is the full text of Clyburn’s statement:

    I dissent. I dissent from this fiercely-spun, legally-lightweight, consumer-harming, corporate-enabling Destroying Internet Freedom Order.

    I dissent, because I am among the millions who is outraged. Outraged, because the FCC pulls its own teeth, abdicating responsibility to protect the nation’s broadband consumers. Why are we witnessing such an unprecedented groundswell of public support, for keeping the 2015 net neutrality protections in place? Because the public can plainly see, that a soon-to-be-toothless FCC, is handing the keys to the Internet – the Internet, one of the most remarkable, empowering, enabling inventions of our lifetime – over to a handful of multi-billion dollar corporations. And if past is prologue, those very same broadband internet service providers, that the majority says you should trust to do right by you, will put profits and shareholder returns above, what is best for you.

    Each of us raised our right hands when we were sworn in as FCC Commissioners, took an oath and promised to uphold our duties and responsibilities ‘to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, without discrimination… a rapid, efficient, Nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.’ Today the FCC majority officially abandons that pledge and millions have taken note.

    I do not believe that there are any FCC or Congressional offices immune to the deluge of consumer outcry. We are even hearing about state and local offices fielding calls and what is always newsworthy is that at last count, five Republican Members of Congress went on the record in calling for a halt of today’s vote. Why such a bipartisan outcry? Because the large majority of Americans are in favor of keeping strong net neutrality rules in place. The sad thing about this commentary, it pains me to say, is what I can only describe as the new norm at the FCC: A majority that is ignoring the will of the people. A majority that will stand idly by while the people they serve lose.

    We have heard story after story of what net neutrality means to consumers and small businesses from places as diverse as Los Angeles’ Skid Row and Marietta, Ohio. I hold in my hand letters that plead with the FCC to keep our net neutrality rules in place but what is striking and in keeping with the new norm, despite the millions of comments, letters, and calls received, this Order cites, not even one. That speaks volumes about the direction the FCC is heading. That speaks volumes about just who is being heard.

    Sole proprietors, whose entire business model, depends on an open internet, are worried that the absence of clear and enforceable net neutrality protections will result in higher costs and fewer benefits because you see: they are not able to pay tolls for premium access. Even large online businesses have weighed in, expressing concern about being subject to added charges as they simply try to reach their own customers. Engineers have submitted comments including many of the internet’s pioneers, sharing with the FCC majority, the fundamentals of how the internet works because from where they sit, there is no way that an item like this would ever see the light of day, if the majority understood the platform some of them helped to create.

    I have heard from innovators, worried that we are standing up a mother-may-I regime, where the broadband provider becomes arbiter of acceptable online business models. And yes, I have heard from consumers, who are worried given that their broadband provider has already shown that they will charge inscrutable below-the-line fees, raise prices unexpectedly, and put consumers on hold for hours at a time. Who will have their best interests at heart in a world without clear and enforceable rules overseen by an agency with clear enforcement authority? A toothless FCC?

    There has been a darker side to all of this over the past few weeks. Threats and intimidation. Personal attacks. Nazis cheering. Russian influence. Fake comments. Those are unacceptable. Some are illegal. They all are to be rejected. But what is also not acceptable, is the FCC’s refusal to cooperate with state attorney general investigations, or allow evidence in the record that would undercut a preordained outcome.

    Many have asked, what happens next? How will all of this – Net Neutrality, my internet experience, look after today? My answer is simple. When the current protections are abandoned, and the rules that have been officially in place since 2015 are repealed, we will have a Cheshire cat version of net neutrality. We will be in a world where regulatory substance fades to black, and all that is left is a broadband provider’s toothy grin and those oh so comforting words: we have every incentive to do the right thing.

    What they will soon have, is every incentive to do their own thing.Now the results of throwing out your Net Neutrality protections, may not be felt right away. Most of us will get up tomorrow morning and over the next week, wade through hundreds of headlines, turn away from those endless prognosticators, and submerge ourselves in a sea of holiday bliss. But what we have wrought will one day be apparent and by then, when you really see what has changed, I fear, it may not only be too late to do anything about it, because there will be no agency empowered to address your concerns. This item insidiously ensures the FCC will never be able to fully grasp the harm it may have unleashed on the internet ecosystem. And that inability might lead decisionmakers to conclude, that the next internet startup that failed to flourish and attempted to seek relief, simply had a bad business plan, when in fact what was missing was a level playing field online.

    Particularly damning is what today’s repeal will mean for marginalized groups, like communities of color, that rely on platforms like the internet to communicate, because traditional outlets do not consider their issues or concerns, worthy of any coverage. It was through social media that the world first heard about Ferguson, Missouri, because legacy news outlets did not consider it important until the hashtag started trending. It has been through online video services, that targeted entertainment has thrived, where stories are finally being told because those same programming were repeatedly rejected by mainstream distribution and media outlets. And it has been through secure messaging platforms, where activists have communicated and organized for justice without gatekeepers with differing opinions blocking them.

    Where will the next significant attack on internet freedom come from? Maybe from a broadband provider allowing its network to congest, making a high-traffic video provider ask what more can it pay to make the pain stop. That will never happen you say? Well it already has. The difference now, is the open question of what is stopping them? The difference after today’s vote, is that no one will be able to stop them.

    Maybe several providers will quietly roll out paid prioritization packages that enable deep-pocketed players to cut the queue. Maybe a vertically-integrated broadband provider decides that it will favor its own apps and services. Or some high-value internet-of-things traffic will be subject to an additional fee. Maybe some of these actions will be cloaked under nondisclosure agreements and wrapped up in mandatory arbitration clauses so that it will be a breach of contract to disclose these publicly or take the provider to court over any wrongdoing. Some may say ‘Of Course this will never happen?” After today’s vote, what will be in place to stop them?

    What we do know, is that broadband providers did not even wait for the ink to dry on this Order before making their moves. One broadband provider, who had in the past promised to not engage in paid prioritization, has now quietly dropped that promise from its list of commitments on its website. What’s next? Blocking or throttling? That will never happen? After today’s vote, exactly who is the cop of the beat that can or will stop them?

    And just who will be impacted the most? Consumers and small businesses, that’s who. The internet continues to evolve and has become ever more critical for every participant in our 21st century ecosystem: government services have migrated online, as have educational opportunities and job notices and applications, but at the same time, broadband providers have continued to consolidate, becoming bigger. They own their own content, they own media companies, and they own or have an interest in other types of services.

    Why are millions so alarmed? Because they understand the risks this all poses and even those who may not know what Title II authority is, know that they will be at risk without it.

    I have been asking myself repeatedly, why the majority is so singularly-focused on overturning these wildly-popular rules? Is it simply because they felt that the 2015 Net Neutrality order, which threw out over 700 rules and dispensed with more than 25 provisions, was too heavy-handed? Is this a ploy to create a “need” for legislation where there was none before? Or is it to establish uncertainty where little previously existed?

    Is it a tactic to undermine the net neutrality protections adopted in 2015 that are currently parked at the Supreme Court? You know, the same rules that were resoundingly upheld by the D.C. Circuit last year? No doubt, we will see a rush to the courthouse, asking the Supreme Court to vacate and remand the substantive rules we fought so hard for over the past few years, because today, the FCC uses legally-suspect means to clear the decks of substantive protections for consumers and competition.

    It is abundantly clear why we see so much bad process with this item: because the fix was already in. There is no real mention of the thousands of net neutrality complaints filed by consumers. Why? The majority has refused to put them in the record while maintaining the rhetoric that there have been no real violations. Record evidence of the massive incentives and abilities of broadband providers to act in anti-competitive ways are missing from the docket? Why? Because they have refused to use the data and knowledge the agency does have, and has relied upon in the past to inform our merger reviews. As the majority has shown again and again, the views of individuals do not matter, including the views of those who care deeply about the substance, but are not Washington insiders.

    There is a basic fallacy underlying the majority’s actions and rhetoric today: the assumption of what is best for broadband providers, is best for America. Breathless claims about unshackling broadband services from unnecessary regulation, are only about ensuring that broadband providers, have the keys to the internet. Assertions that this is merely a return to some imaginary status quo ante, cannot hide the fact, that this is the very first time, that the FCC, has disavowed substantive protections for consumers online.

    And when the current, 2015 Net Neutrality rules are laid to waste, we may be left with no single authority with the power to protect consumers. Now this Order loudly crows about handing over authority of broadband to the FTC, but what is absent from the Order and glossed over in that haphazardly issued afterthought of a Memorandum of Understanding or MOU, is that the FTC is an agency, with no technical expertise in telecommunications; the FTC is an agency that may not even have authority over broadband providers in the first instance; the FTC is an agency that if you can even reach that high bar of proving unfair or deceptive practices and that there is substantial consumer injury, it will take years upon years to remedy. But don’t just take my word for it: even one of the FTC’s own Commissioners has articulated these very concerns. And if you’re wondering why the FCC is preempting state consumer protection laws in this item without notice, let me help you with a simple jingle that you can easily commit to memory: If it benefits industry, preemption is good; if it benefits consumers, preemption is bad.

    Reclassification of broadband will do more than wreak havoc on net neutrality. It will also undermine our universal service construct for years to come, something which the Order implicitly acknowledges. It will undermine the Lifeline program. It will weaken our ability to support robust broadband infrastructure deployment. And what we will soon find out, is what a broadband market unencumbered by robust consumer protections will look like. I suspect the result will not be pretty.
    I know there are many questions on the mind of Americans right now, including what the repeal of net neutrality will mean for them. To help answer outstanding questions I will host a town hall through Twitter next Tuesday at 2pm EST. What saddens me is that the agency that is supposed to protect you is abandoning you, but what I am pleased to be able to say is the fight to save net neutrality does not end today. This agency does not have, the final word. Thank goodness.

    As I close my eulogy of our 2015 net neutrality rules, carefully crafted rules that struck an appropriate balance in providing consumer protections and enabling opportunities and investment, I take ironic comfort in the words of then Commissioner Pai from 2015, because I believe this will ring true about thisDestroying Internet Freedom Order:

    “I am optimistic, that we will look back on today’s vote as an aberration, a temporary deviation from the bipartisan path, that has served us so well. I don’t know whether this plan will be vacated by a court, reversed by Congress, or overturned by a future Commission. But I do believe that its days are numbered.”

    Amen to that, Mr. Chairman. Amen to that.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2017
  2. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

    Reputations:
    4,331
    Messages:
    15,285
    Likes Received:
    18,765
    Trophy Points:
    931
    Jessica Rosenworcel on Net Neutrality during FCC Vote

    Mignon Clyburn on Net Neutrality during FCC Vote

    Michael O'Rielly on Net Neutrality during FCC Vote

    Brendan Carr on Net Neutrality during FCC Vote

    Ajit Pai on Net Neutrality during FCC Vote

    Bomb Threat during FCC Vote on Title II
     
  3. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

    Reputations:
    4,331
    Messages:
    15,285
    Likes Received:
    18,765
    Trophy Points:
    931
    Read FCC chairman Ajit Pai’s statement on killing net neutrality
    By Jacob Kastrenakes Dec 14, 2017, 2:16pm EST
    https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/14/16777626/ajit-pai-net-neutrality-speech

    "When Ajit Pai was named FCC chairman earlier this year, shortly into the start of the Trump administration, he quickly made it a goal to reverse the net neutrality rules passed in 2015. Today, he got his wish, and he explained why he felt it was appropriate in a speech ahead of the vote.

    In his comments, Pai reiterates a number of his regular talking points, saying once again that “the internet wasn’t broken in 2015. We weren’t living in a digital dystopia” and that “there was no problem to solve,” ignoring that internet providers had in fact blocked content at various points in recent years.

    The speech went on to make a specious comparison between regulating internet providers and regulating websites, like Facebook, saying it was unfair to impose rules on one but not the other. “[Websites] regularly block content that they don’t like. They regularly decide what news, search results, and products you see — and perhaps more importantly, what you don’t,” Pai said.

    Pai wrapped up by saying that, following this vote, “Americans will still be able to access the websites they want to visit. They will still be able to enjoy the services they want to enjoy.” And that’ll certainly be true for a while. But Pai also just voted to remove the rules that guarantee those things, so it’s a weird thing for him to be promising.

    Here’s Pai’s statement as written. His actual delivery was briefly disrupted by an evacuation of the meeting room, so it is slightly different from the speech as delivered — though he more-or-less picked up where he left off:"
    The Internet is the greatest free-market innovation in history. It has changed the way we live, play, work, learn, and speak. During my time at the FCC, I’ve met with entrepreneurs who have started businesses, doctors who have helped care for patients, teachers who have educated their students, and farmers who increased their crop yields, all because of the Internet. And the Internet has enriched my life immeasurably. In the past few days alone, I’ve downloaded interesting podcasts about blockchain technology, ordered a burrito, managed my playoff-bound fantasy football team, and—as you may have seen—tweeted.

    What is responsible for the phenomenal development of the Internet? It certainly wasn’t heavy-handed government regulation. Quite to the contrary: At the dawn of the commercial Internet, President Clinton and a Republican Congress agreed that it would be the policy of the United States “to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet . . . unfettered by Federal or State regulation.”

    This bipartisan policy worked. Encouraged by light-touch regulation, the private sector invested over $1.5 trillion to build out fixed and mobile networks throughout the United States. 28.8k modems gave way to gigabit fiber connections. Innovators and entrepreneurs grew startups into global giants. America’s Internet economy became the envy of the world.

    And this light-touch approach was good for consumers, too. In a free market full of permissionless innovation, online services blossomed. Within a generation, we’ve gone from email as the killer app to high-definition video streaming. Entrepreneurs and innovators guided the Internet far better than the clumsy hand of government ever could have.

    But then, in early 2015, the FCC jettisoned this successful, bipartisan approach to the Internet. On express orders from the previous White House, the FCC scrapped the tried-and-true, light touch regulation of the Internet and replaced it with heavy-handed micromanagement. It decided to subject the Internet to utility-style regulation designed in the 1930s to govern Ma Bell.

    This decision was a mistake. For one thing, there was no problem to solve. The Internet wasn’t broken in 2015. We weren’t living in a digital dystopia. To the contrary, the Internet is perhaps the one thing in American society we can all agree has been a stunning success.

    Not only was there no problem, this “solution” hasn’t worked. The main complaint consumers have about the Internet is not and has never been that their Internet service provider is blocking access to content. It’s that they don’t have access at all or enough competition. These regulations have taken us in the opposite direction from these consumer preferences. Under Title II, investment in high-speed networks has declined by billions of dollars. Notably, this is the first time that such investment has declined outside of a recession in the Internet era. When there’s less investment, that means fewer next-generation networks are built. That means less competition. That means fewer jobs for Americans building those networks. And that means more Americans are left on the wrong side of the digital divide.

    The impact has been particularly serious for smaller Internet service providers. They don’t have the time, money, or lawyers to navigate a thicket of complex rules. I have personally visited some of them, from Spencer Municipal Utilities in Spencer, Iowa to Wave Wireless in Parsons, Kansas. I have personally spoken with many more, from Amplex Internet in Ohio to AirLink Services in Oklahoma. So it’s no surprise that the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, which represents small fixed wireless companies that typically operate in rural America, surveyed its members and found that over 80% “incurred additional expense in complying with the Title II rules, had delayed or reduced network expansion, had delayed or reduced services and had allocated budget to comply with the rules.” Other small companies, too, have told the FCC that these regulations have forced them to cancel, delay, or curtail fiber network upgrades. And nearly two dozen small providers submitted a letter saying the FCC’s heavy-handed rules “affect our ability to find financing.” Remember, these are the kinds of companies that are critical to providing a more competitive marketplace.

    These rules have also impeded innovation. One major company, for instance, reported that it put on hold a project to build out its out-of-home Wi-Fi network due to uncertainty about the FCC’s regulatory stance. And a coalition of 19 municipal Internet service providers—that is, city-owned nonprofits—have told the FCC that they “often delay or hold off from rolling out a new feature or service because [they] cannot afford to deal with a potential complaint and enforcement action.”

    None of this is good for consumers. We need to empower all Americans with digital opportunity, not deny them the benefits of greater access and competition.

    And consider too that these are just the effects these rules have had on the Internet of today. Think about how they’ll affect the Internet we need ten, twenty years from now. The digital world bears no resemblance to a water pipe or electric line or sewer. Use of those pipes will be roughly constant over time, and very few would say that there’s dramatic innovation in these areas. By contrast, online traffic is exploding, and we consume exponentially more data over time. With the dawn of the Internet of Things, with the development of high bit-rate applications like virtual reality, with new activities like high-volume bitcoin mining that we can’t yet fully grasp, we are imposing ever more demands on the network. Over time, that means our networks themselves will need to scale, too.

    But they don’t have to. If our rules deter the massive infrastructure investment that we need, eventually we’ll pay the price in terms of less innovation. Consider these words from Ben Thompson, a highly-respected technology analyst, from a post on his blog Stratechery supporting my proposal:

    The question that must be grappled with . . . is whether or not the Internet is ‘done.’ By that I mean that today’s bandwidth is all we [will] need, which means we can risk chilling investment through prophylactic regulation and the elimination of price signals that may spur infrastructure build-out. . . .

    If we are “done”, then the potential harm of a Title II reclassification is much lower; sure, ISPs will have to do more paperwork, but honestly, they’re just a bunch of mean monopolists anyways, right? Best to get laws in place to preserve what we have.

    But what if we aren’t done? What if virtual reality with dual 8k displays actually becomes something meaningful? What if those imagined remote medicine applications are actually developed? What if the Internet of Things moves beyond this messy experimentation phase and into real-time value generation, not just in the home but in all kinds of unimagined commercial applications? I certainly hope we will have the bandwidth to support all of that![1]

    I do too. And as Thompson put it in another Stratechery post: “The fact of the matter is there is no evidence that harm exists in the sort of systematic way that justifies heavily regulating ISPs; the evidence that does exist suggests that current regulatory structures handle bad actors perfectly well. The only future to fear is the one we never discover because we gave up on the approach that has already brought us so far.”[2]

    Remember: networks don’t have to be built. Risks don’t have to be taken. Capital doesn’t have to be raised. The costs of Title II today may appear, at least to some, to be hidden. But the consumers and innovators of tomorrow will pay a severe price.

    * * *

    So what is the FCC doing today? Quite simply, we are restoring the light-touch framework that has governed the Internet for most of its existence. We’re moving from Title II to Title I. Wonkier it cannot be.

    It’s difficult to match that mundane reality to the apocalyptic rhetoric that we’ve heard from Title II supporters. And as the debate has gone on, their claims have gotten more and more outlandish. So let’s be clear. Returning to the legal framework that governed the Internet from President Clinton’s pronouncement in 1996 until 2015 is not going to destroy the Internet. It is not going to end the Internet as we know it. It is not going to kill democracy. It is not going to stifle free expression online. If stating these propositions alone doesn’t demonstrate their absurdity, our Internet experience before 2015, and our experience tomorrow, once this order passes, will prove them so.

    Simply put, by returning to the light-touch Title I framework, we are helping consumers and promoting competition. Broadband providers will have stronger incentives to build networks, especially in unserved areas, and to upgrade networks to gigabit speeds and 5G. This means there will be more competition among broadband providers. It also means more ways that startups and tech giants alike can deliver applications and content to more users. In short, it’s a freer and more open Internet.

    We also promote much more robust transparency among ISPs than existed three years ago. We require ISPs to disclose a variety of business practices, and the failure to do so subjects them to enforcement action. This transparency rule will ensure that consumers know what they’re buying and startups get information they need as they develop new products and services.

    Moreover, we empower the Federal Trade Commission to ensure that consumers and competition are protected. Two years ago, the Title II Order stripped the FTC of its jurisdiction over broadband providers. But today, we are putting our nation’s premier consumer protection cop back on the beat. The FTC will once again have the authority to take action against Internet service providers that engage in anticompetitive, unfair, or deceptive acts. As FTC Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen recently said, “The FTC’s ability to protect consumers and promote competition in the broadband industry isn’t something new and far-fetched. We have a long-established role in preserving the values that consumers care about online.” Or as President Obama’s first FTC Chairman put it just yesterday, “the plan to restore FTC jurisdiction is good for consumers. . . . [T]he sky isn’t falling. Consumers will remain protected, and the nternet will continue to thrive.”

    So let’s be absolutely clear. Following today’s vote, Americans will still be able to access the websites they want to visit. They will still be able to enjoy the services they want to enjoy. There will still be cops on the beat guarding a free and open Internet. This is the way things were prior to 2015, and this is the way they will be once again.

    Our decision today will also return regulatory parity to the Internet economy. Some giant Silicon Valley platforms favor imposing heavy-handed regulations on other parts of the Internet ecosystem. But all too often, they don’t practice what they preach. Edge providers regularly block content that they don’t like. They regularly decide what news, search results, and products you see—and perhaps more importantly, what you don’t. And many thrive on the business model of charging to place content in front of eyeballs. What else is “Accelerated Mobile Pages” or promoted tweets but prioritization?

    What is worse, there is no transparency into how decisions that appear inconsistent with an open Internet are made. How does a company decide to restrict a Senate candidate’s campaign announcement video because her views on a public policy issue are too “inflammatory”? How does a company decide to demonetize videos from political advocates without notice? How does a company expressly block access to websites on rival devices or prevent dissidents’ content from appearing on its platform? How does a company decide to block from its app store a cigar aficionado app, apparently because the company perceives that the app promotes tobacco use? You don’t have any insight into any of these decisions, and neither do I. Yet these are very real, actual threats to an open Internet—coming from the very entities that claim to support it.

    Look—perhaps certain companies support saddling broadband providers with heavy-handed regulations because those rules work to their economic advantage. I don’t blame them for taking that position. And I’m not saying that these same rules should be slapped on them too. What I am saying is that the government shouldn’t be in the business of picking winners and losers in the Internet economy. We should have a level playing field and let consumers decide who prevails.

    * * *

    Many words have been spoken during this debate but the time has come for action. It is time for the Internet once again to be driven by engineers and entrepreneurs and consumers, rather than lawyers and accountants and bureaucrats. It is time for us to act to bring faster, better, and cheaper Internet access to all Americans. It is time for us to return to the bipartisan regulatory framework under which the Internet flourished prior to 2015. It is time for us to restore Internet freedom.

    I want to extend my deepest gratitude to the staff who have worked so many long hours on this item. From the Wireline Competition Bureau: Annick Banoun, Joseph Calascione, Megan Capasso, Paula Cech, Ben Childers, Nathan Eagan, Madeleine Findley, Doug Galbi, Dan Kahn, Melissa Kirkel, Gail Krutov, Susan Lee, Ken Lynch, Pam Megna, Kris Monteith, Ramesh Nagarajan, Eric Ralph, Deborah Salons, Shane Taylor. From the Office of General Counsel: Ashley Boizelle, Jim Carr, Kristine Fargotstein, Tom Johnson, Doug Klein, Marcus Maher, Scott Noveck, Linda Oliver, and Bill Richardson. From the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau: Stacy Ferraro, Nese Guendelsberger, Garnet Hanly, Betsy McIntyre, Jennifer Salhus, Paroma Sanyal, Jiaming “Jimmy” Shang, Don Stockdale, and Peter Trachtenberg. From the Office of Strategic Planning and Policy Analysis: Eric Burger, Mark Bykowsky, and Jerry Ellig. From the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau: Jerusha Burnett. From the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau: Ken Carlberg. And from the Media Bureau: Tracy Waldon.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
  4. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

    Reputations:
    4,331
    Messages:
    15,285
    Likes Received:
    18,765
    Trophy Points:
    931
    'The fight isn’t over': Tech erupts after the FCC's vote to kill net neutrality
    http://www.businessinsider.com/tech...n-net-neutrality-vowing-to-fight-back-2017-12

    "Tech executives from Sheryl Sandberg to Microsoft's Brad Smith spoke out Thursday to decry the Federal Communications Commission's vote to kill net neutrality.

    The move by the FCC eliminates rules designed to stop broadband providers like Comcast and Verizon from charging customers more for access to certain sites, blocking or slowing down competitors' content, and charging for internet "fast lanes."

    Groups that support net neutrality argue that the rules are necessary to ensure a level internet playing field. And many of the big internet companies wasted no time in speaking out against the FCC move.

    Here's how some of the top tech companies and industry executives reacted to Thursday's vote:
    Netflix
    We’re disappointed in the decision to gut #NetNeutrality protections that ushered in an unprecedented era of innovation, creativity & civic engagement. This is the beginning of a longer legal battle. Netflix stands w/ innovators, large & small, to oppose this misguided FCC order.

    Internet Association
    Michael Beckerman, the president and CEO of Internet Association, an industry organization whose members include Facebook, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Salesforce, issued a statement on IA's website with plans to fight back.

    "The internet industry opposes Chairman Pai's repeal of the 2015 Open Internet Order. Today's vote represents a departure from more than a decade of broad, bipartisan consensus on the rules governing the internet. Relying on ISPs to live up to their own 'promises' is not net neutrality and is bad for consumers.

    "Let's remember why we have these rules in the first place. There is little competition in the broadband service market — more than half of all Americans have no choice in their provider — so consumers will be forced to accept ISP interference in their online experience. This is in stark contrast to the websites and apps that make up Internet Association, where competition is a click away and switching costs are low.

    "The fight isn't over. Internet Association is currently weighing our legal options in a lawsuit against today's Order, and remains open to Congress enshrining strong, enforceable net neutrality protections into law."

    Google
    View image on Twitter
    [​IMG]Google statement on #NetNeutrality repeal.

    Reddit
    Reddit's user community has been incredibly active in speaking out against the repeal of net neutrality, and the company itself also supports net neutrality.

    On Reddit, CEO Steve Huffman issued a statement from him and the cofounder Alexis Ohanian thanking users for their activism and expressing disappointment and the desire to fight back.

    "Nevertheless, today's vote is the beginning, not the end. While the fight to preserve net neutrality is going to be longer than we had hoped, this is far from over.

    "Many of you have asked what comes next. We don't exactly know yet, but it seems likely that the FCC's decision will be challenged in court soon, and we would be supportive of that challenge. It's also possible that Congress can decide to take up the cause and create strong, enforceable net neutrality rules that aren't subject to the political winds at the FCC. Nevertheless, this will be a complex process that takes time.

    "What is certain is that Reddit will continue to be involved in this issue in the way that we know best: seeking out every opportunity to amplify your voices and share them with those who have the power to make a difference."

    Read the full comment here.

    Twilio
    Business Insider received a statement from Twilio, written by the company's general counsel, Karyn Smith.

    "Today's vote to roll back net neutrality protections is a clear indication the FCC is moving away from its role to protect consumers. An open internet is vital to maintain competition and foster innovation — and for that we need basic ground rules and a transparent process to enforce them. We look forward to working with Congress to enact basic ground rules and a transparent process to enforce them. They should also direct the FCC to use its authority to ensure that consumers have access to the communications they want to receive."

    Microsoft's president and chief legal officer, Brad Smith, spoke out on Twitter:

    The open internet benefits consumers, business & the entire economy. That’s jeopardized by the FCC’s elimination of #netneutrality protections today.

    Facebook's chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, spoke out on her personal Facebook page.

    Airbnb's cofounder and CEO, Brian Chesky, weighed in via Twitter, speaking for himself and his company.

    "The FCC’s vote to repeal net neutrality is wrong & disappointing. A free & open internet is critical to innovation, an open society, & widespread access to economic empowerment. @Airbnb will continue to speak out for net neutrality."
     
  5. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

    Reputations:
    4,331
    Messages:
    15,285
    Likes Received:
    18,765
    Trophy Points:
    931
    Net neutrality is dead. It’s time to fear Mickey Mouse
    By T.C. Sottek Dec 14, 2017, 3:18pm EST
    https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/14...disney-comcast-internet-providers-free-speech

    "It’s a red letter day for the media industry. Disney just took control of 21st Century Fox’s media empire, and the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal net neutrality regulations that prevent internet providers from discriminatory behavior.

    These two industry-shaking events will set media companies on a dramatic collision course with ISPs. It is the conflict that threatens the internet.

    This week you might have seen lots of talk about fast and slow lanes, blocked websites, and the end of the internet. But the death of net neutrality is not going to look like a sudden apocalypse. It’s going to look more like things we’ve already seen: data caps, “free” data for apps, and service bundling, like an AT&T mobile plan that comes with HBO. These schemes will change the internet slowly, and they might even seem boring.

    More and more of these little schemes will add up over time as ISPs merge with more media companies and own more content. These mergers will create huge conflicts of interest, because companies that own access to the internet will be tempted to rig it in favor of their own shows and services. Some of these schemes will show up on an internet bill, while others will be decided in backroom corporate warfare that leaves customers stuck in the middle and in the dark. The next Comcast versus Netflix might be Comcast versus Disney.

    So let’s talk about Disney.
    Combined with Fox, it now has massive leverage over the content industry. It can use that leverage to compete with Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon, because, like Disney, those ISPs are trying to sell people their own video services. Because Disney now owns so much content, other media companies have greater incentive to consolidate to improve their bargaining positions. And ISPs have greater incentive to merge with media companies so they can reap profit from the content that travels on their networks. It’s an escalating cycle of consolidation.

    Here are some obvious conflicts that have already resulted from the Disney merger:
    • Disney now has a controlling stake in Hulu
    • Hulu was jointly owned by Disney (30%), Fox (30%), Comcast (30%) and Time Warner(10%) to compete with YouTube; now Disney owns more than both Comcast and Time Warner combined
    • Comcast owns NBCUniversal, which broadcasts shows on Hulu
    • Time Warner is about to be owned by AT&T, which is a competitor of Comcast
    • Time Warner is a competitor of both NBC and Disney
    • Comcast and AT&T control the network that people use to watch content from Disney, Time Warner, and NBC
    • (This is just a fun place to put this disclosure: Comcast’s NBCU division is a minority investor in Vox Media, which owns The Verge.)
    If this all sounds confusing to you, that’s because it’s confusing. In this world of mergers and overlapping conglomerates, the internet will be a pawn between companies that want to sell you television.

    Net neutrality regulations kept ISPs from the worst possible discriminatory behaviors, including paid prioritization, throttling traffic, and blocking websites or services completely. But ISPs quickly pushed these limits after the 2015 Open Internet Order went into effect, and they faced no consequences. The Republican FCC that just killed net neutrality said that all of this represented “hypothetical harm,” which is a lie, because there’s real evidence that ISPs are already trying to do these things.

    T-Mobile discriminated between types of content by giving customers unlimited access to music, and then video, from huge media brands. It even throttled video traffic and misled consumers about it, calling the practice “optimization.” AT&T zero-rated DirecTV data, discriminating against other video distributors. Verizon similarly zero-rated its Go90 video service. A report under Chairman Tom Wheeler’s FCC said AT&T and Verizon’s zero-rating programs violated net neutrality, but that inquiry was dropped by current FCC chairman Ajit Pai.

    Compounding the problem is that most people have terrible choices for internet service in America, if they even have a choice at all. That means a lot of customers are trapped by their ISP: if Comcast makes a deal you don’t like, and it’s your only choice for ISP, there’s nothing you can do about it. This gives the ISPs a ton of leverage against competitors, because they can’t send their content through other providers to reach their customers. The reason Comcast had so much leverage against Netflix is because many of Comcast’s customers couldn’t get Netflix from anyone else.

    Vertically integrated ISPs like Comcast and Verizon have huge incentives to make up for the decline in cable television revenue by making the internet more like cable, and they are already working on that by bundling video services with internet plans. (ISPs are also buying internet companies to compete with Google and Facebook, creating even more conflicts of interest.) Think about it: why wouldn’t you privilege the media companies you own if your customers have few or no choices about where to buy their internet service?

    US regulators have publicly recognized the threat of consolidation with their actions, even if they still allow these hugely problematic mergers to occur. A consequence of Comcast buying NBCUniversal was that Comcast had to enter a consent decree that enforced net neutrality rules to make sure it didn’t put NBC’s competitors at a disadvantage. But that decree ends in 2018 — just as the FCC’s net neutrality regulations are also eliminated. Comcast has promised it won’t behave badly, but without regulation all we have is trust.

    Comcast has not earned that trust.

    The net neutrality discussion is fundamentally about how speech ought to be treated in a free society. The vision that was given the force of law in the FCC’s Open Internet Order required ISPs to play fairly: to treat all traffic the same and let their customers decide what to say and where to go without coercion from the operators of the utility.

    So this is the threat to the internet: media companies and ISPs are consolidating at an alarming scale, these arrangements create massive conflicts of interest, and these conflicts of interest threaten the integrity of the internet without vital fairness regulations.

    We can’t talk about net neutrality anymore without talking about Mickey Mouse.

    Correction: A previous version of this story implied Hulu was originally a joint venture of Comcast and Time Warner. It was a joint venture of Disney, Fox, and Comcast.

    The might of Disney
    https://imgur.com/gallery/7H73u
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2017
    HTWingNut likes this.
  6. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

    Reputations:
    4,331
    Messages:
    15,285
    Likes Received:
    18,765
    Trophy Points:
    931
    Net neutrality: Fight to restore rules already underway after FCC vote
    By LEVI SUMAGAYSAY UPDATED: December 15, 2017 at 2:45 am
    http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/12/...estore-rules-already-underway-after-fcc-vote/

    "...“Some form of legislation or regulation will have to follow quickly after the rollback,” said Peter Cunningham, Technology, Media, & Telecoms practice lead at J.D. Power, in an interview. “Consumers don’t have a great level of trust in the ISPs.”
    Enter California state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, who is working on a bill to codify net neutrality in the Golden State. “Particularly in this authoritarian age  —  with constant attacks from Washington on our democratic values and the free press  —  we must have a free and open internet,” Wiener said in a Medium post Thursday.

    The San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation will back Wiener’s bill, saying it’s important for states to fill the void after the FCC’s vote to gut the federal rules.

    “This is a fascinating moment because you have 80 percent-plus of the public in opposition” to repealing the rules, said Ernesto Falcon, legislative counsel for the EFF.

    A survey released by the University of Maryland this week found that 83 percent of Americans do not approve of deregulating ISPs, including three out of four Republicans.

    In the U.S. House of Representatives, Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colorado, said he would introduce a net neutrality bill. “This conversation belongs in Congress,” he tweeted Thursday.

    Beyond the legislative moves, the EFF, American Civil Liberties Union and other public advocacy groups, as well as lawmakers, are preparing to challenge the FCC’s move in court.

    Jon Sallet, former FCC general counsel, said last week that he believed the rollback is “highly vulnerable to reversal.” He said Congress created the FCC as an expert agency to uphold regulations it has now thrown out.

    Now, the FCC says its plan is to make sure broadband providers are transparent about their practices, while the Federal Trade Commission will be in charge of going after them if they engage in unfair practices. But critics say there will be no rules to keep ISPs from acting against consumers’ interests in the first place.

    Before voting against the repeal Thursday, Democratic FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn warned that the vote’s effects may not be immediate, but they could be sweeping.

    “Most of us … will submerge ourselves in a sea of holiday bliss,” she said, “but what we have wrought will one day be apparent and by then, when you really see what has changed, I fear it may not only be too late to do anything about it … there will be no agency empowered to address your concerns.”"

    Lawmakers say they’ll fight for net neutrality
    By Shannon Liao@Shannon_Liao Dec 14, 2017, 3:27pm EST
    https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/14/16777510/net-neutrality-repealed-save-bills-lawsuits

    "Lawmakers and public officials are responding to the FCC’s decision to gut net neutrality with promises of action. In the hours following the FCC hearing, officials from around the country announced lawsuits and bills intended to counter the FCC’s decision.
    In New York, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said that he’s leading a multi-state lawsuit to challenge the FCC’s vote, though he didn’t give further details on the suit or who would be joining him. Calling today’s decision an “illegal rollback,” he described it as giving “Big Telecom an early Christmas present.” Schneiderman has headed efforts to investigate fake net neutrality comments for the past seven months, finding that 2 million comments were posted with stolen identities.

    AG Schneiderman: I Will Sue To Protect Net Neutrality

    Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson also announced he would sue alongside Schneiderman and other attorneys general across the country, saying that he held “a strong legal argument” and that it was likely the government had failed to follow the law with this vote.

    Other officials from Santa Clara, California, including county supervisor Joe Simitian, are also suing the FCC to block the decision. “We believe the depth of your ideas should outweigh the depths of your pockets,” Simitian said at a press conference.

    Gabe Carhart@GabeCarhart
    Santa Clara County will file a lawsuit to protect #NetNeutraility
    10:11 AM - Dec 14, 2017

    State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-CA) announced plans to introduce a bill to adopt net neutrality as a requirement in his state. He wrote in a Medium post, “If the FCC won’t stand up for a free and open internet, California will.”

    Scott Wiener
    FCC just repealed net neutrality. When CA Legislature reconvenes in January, I‘ll introduce a bill to adopt net neutrality as a requirement in CA. If FCC won’t protect free/open internet, we will. #NetNeutrality is key to protecting our democracy, esp in this authoritarian age.
    10:16 AM - Dec 14, 2017 · San Francisco, CA

    Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) tweeted that he will be submitting net neutrality legislation, saying that this was a decision better left to Congress. Coffman was the first Republican to ask the FCC to delay the vote, citing “unanticipated negative consequences” on Tuesday.

    Rep. Mike Coffman
    Given @AjitPaiFCC and the @FCC lack of response to my letter, I will be submitting legislation pertaining to #netneutrality. This conversation belongs in #Congress. As I draft this bill email me your suggestions to: netneutrality.coffman@mail.house.gov
    10:40 AM - Dec 14, 2017

    Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) released an official statement, saying, “The internet will be for sale to the highest bidder.” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) also responded in a statement, “The best way to move forward is turn our tweets and our comments into action.” Both senators are supporting Sen. Ed Markey’s (D-MA) plan to introduce a Congressional Review Actresolution to undo the FCC vote.

    Even Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), who had previously announced on Twitter her support for Ajit Pai and the FCC, tweeted a video, saying, “We will codify the need for no blocking, no throttling, and making certain that we preserve that free and open Internet.” She said that following the FCC’s action today, there would be action next week from Congress.

    Marsha Blackburn
    We're for a free and open internet. It's time for Congress to do its job.
    7:53 AM - Dec 14, 2017

    Others expressed their disappointment with the FCC’s decision, but have not announced any actions. Former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler posted a Brookings Institute piece this afternoon, calling the repeal of net neutrality “a clean-sweep for the network companies to whom we write our monthly checks” and “a lump of coal for consumers.”

    Given the unpopularity of the FCC’s decision, it’s safe to assume more lawsuits and proposed legislation will be announced in the coming days."
    Net Neutrality is Dead — What Happens Next?
    This is just the beginning
    By Russell Brandom and Adi Robertson Dec 15, 2017, 11:26am EST
    https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/15/16780564/net-neutrality-is-dead-what-happens-next
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
    HTWingNut likes this.
  7. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

    Reputations:
    4,331
    Messages:
    15,285
    Likes Received:
    18,765
    Trophy Points:
    931
    Killing Net Neutrality Has Brought On a New Call For Public Broadband
    Zaid Jilani December 15 2017, 2:17 p.m.
    https://theintercept.com/2017/12/15/fcc-net-neutrality-public-broadband-seattle/

    "THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS Commission’s 3-2 vote to repeal net neutrality rules has many worried that internet service providers will now build the same sort of tiered internet that some other countries have — where individual providers can collude to throttle traffic to certain websites and services in order to shake money from consumers or the companies themselves — or both.

    For instance, in Morocco last year, multiple internet service providers worked together to briefly block voice chat services like WhatsApp and Skype, in what was interpreted by some as an attempt to push consumers to subscribe to their phone subscriptions instead.

    But Seattle’s Socialist Alternative Council Member Kshama Sawant — the prime mover of the city’s successful bid to enact a $15 an hour minimum wage — has another idea.

    She wants her city to simply build its own broadband network to compete with the private providers, guaranteeing a free flow of unthrottled information.
    It may sound radical but it’s not unheard of. Today, around 185 communities in the United States offer some form of public broadband service. Because these services are controlled by public entities, they are also accountable to the public — a perk that anybody who has tried to get a broadband company on the phone can appreciate. (In November, residents of Fort Collins, Colorado, rejected an industry fear-mongering attempt and voted to authorize the creation of a citywide broadband network.)

    In a Facebook post written Thursday night, Sawant urged the state and city to act.

    “The FCC is doing the bidding of big business like Comcast, not the voters of either party, because public opinion is clear: 76% favor net neutrality, even including 73% of Republican voters,” she wrote. “Olympia should urgently pass net neutrality legislation in Washington State, and Seattle must invest in building municipal broadband, so no internet corporation has the power to prioritize making money over our democratic rights.” She included this graphic her team made to illustrate the idea:
    [​IMG]
    The concept of Seattle having a municipal broadband network was debated during last year’s city council and mayoral elections. Jenny Durkan, who won the mayoral election, argued that setting up such a network would simply be too expensive. Her opponent Cary Moon was in favor of a municipal system.

    But last month, net neutrality was still alive. The FCC’s move gives fresh air to the arguments from municipal broadband proponents that city-run systems are the best way to ensure an affordable and free internet.

    Just ask the city of Chattanooga. The Tennessee municipality’s Electric Power Board invested in and started offering a fiber-optic network to city residents in 2010.

    “We didn’t rate with Comcast because we were a small market,” Ron Littlefield, Chattanooga’s mayor at that time, told Vice Motherboard, about why the city decided to take the step of offering a city-run broadband network to its residents. “By virtue of that, we had little say over what service we were receiving.”

    By 2016, the city was offering 1 gigabit internet service to residents for $70 a month. The cheap city-run internet acted as a sort of subsidy for small businesses, which started flocking to the city and built a vibrant tech and startup culture. “We hired consultants and they came back and told us: Chattanooga didn’t have a bad image, it just had no image. The Gig has restored our luster and given us a new lever to pull that has tied us to the next century, rather than the steam and smoke of the old century,” Littlefield told Motherboard.

    The political peril in pursuing public broadband, noted David Segal, head of Demand Progress, which advocates for an open internet, comes with the potential of giving unwarranted credibility to the arguments made by FCC Chair Ajit Pai, that states, cities, and the Federal Trade Commission are best poised to regulated the situation. That’s not at all the case, Segal argued, and public broadband is a good thing in itself, but shouldn’t be seen as a substitute for net neutrality.

    It’s no surprise that the telecommunications industry has responded bitterly toward the success of Chattanooga and similar public broadband systems. A number of states — with legislators backed by telecom giants like AT&Tmoved to ban cities from establishing their own broadband networks with statewide preemption laws.

    If these laws remind you of the preemption laws that prevent cities from raising the minimum wage, well, don’t be surprised: The American Legislative Exchange Council — a lobbying group that is funded and backed by a variety of corporations who want to influence state policy —promotes both laws.

    In the aforementioned Colorado, 31 counties have pushed back, voting to exempt themselves from a state law prohibiting municipal broadband services.

    Christopher Mitchell, director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, has studied the systems that have popped up all over the country. He pointed out to The Intercept that these systems have far greater incentive to maintain net neutrality and that local control has some benefits people may not immediately consider.

    “One of the things that we’ve seen with a hundred examples of municipal broadband is not only do people get the benefit of non-discriminatory access, they typically pay less, they have better access, and if something does go wrong, they get much better customer service,” he told The Intercept.
    Killing Net Neutrality Has Brought On a New Call For Public Broadband
    https://www.reddit.com/r/technology...ing_net_neutrality_has_brought_on_a_new_call/
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
  8. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

    Reputations:
    4,331
    Messages:
    15,285
    Likes Received:
    18,765
    Trophy Points:
    931
    The Biggest Whoppers From the FCC's Net Neutrality Meeting
    12.14.17 06:27 PM Authors: Issie Lapowsky, Klint Finley BUSINESS

    "IT TOOK LESS than two hours of debate for the Federal Communications Commission to repeal net neutrality protections, a decision that could send ripple effects across the internet for years. Over the objections of the commission's two Democrats, the three Republican members, including Chair Ajit Pai, voted to overturn protections put in place in 2015—but not before fudging a few facts.
    In their remarks, Chairman Pai, Commissioner Brendan Carr, and Commissioner Mike O’Rielly framed their votes as an attempt to restore the internet to a time not so long ago when it was free of heavy-handed government regulation. But that characterization of Thursday’s decision rests on a selective and misleading reading of recent history and how the internet has been regulated.

    Here are some of the most spurious claims we heard from the commissioners:

    1: "Prior to the FCC’s 2015 decision, consumers and innovators alike benefitted from a free and open internet. This is not because the government imposed utility style regulation. It didn’t. This is not because the FCC had a rule regulating internet conduct. It had none. Instead through Republican and Democratic administrations alike, including the first six years of the Obama administration, the FCC abided by a 20-year bipartisan consensus that the government should not control or heavily regulate internet access.”—Commissioner Carr

    One of the most commonly cited reasons for overturning the 2015 regulations is that internet service providers abided by neutrality principles before the rules were adopted. As we’ve written before, that’s not entirely accurate. When Americans first began dialing up in the 1990s, it was via phone lines that were regulated under Title II of the Communications Act, meaning they could not discriminate based on the content. When the phone companies began switching to DSL broadband for internet access, that too was regulated under Title II. That’s why the FCC intervened in an oft-cited case in which Madison River Communications, a small DSL provider, blocked access to Vonage, an internet phone service. DSL was regulated under Title II at the time, allowing the FCC to step in and compel Madison River to restore access to Vonage. Rules regulating internet conduct weren’t new in 2015, either. The FCC first outlined protections for internet users in a 2005 policy statement, and then created a more robust set of rules in 2010. Rolling back Title II protections for broadband doesn’t restore the internet to some glorious past in which broadband providers operated unfettered. It ushers the internet into a brave new world in which the FCC is hopeless to stop future attempts to prioritize or suppress certain kinds of traffic.

    2: "I sincerely doubt that legitimate businesses are willing to subject themselves to a PR nightmare for attempting to engage in blocking, throttling, or improper discrimination. It is simply not worth the reputational cost and potential loss of business."—Commissioner O’Rielly

    Perhaps O’Rielly has never paid a surge price to hail an Uber in New York City at rush hour or stood in a hellish airport security line, while TSA Pre fliers, who paid extra for the luxury, speed blissfully through the metal detectors. We’re here to tell him: Businesses try to maximize profits whenever they sniff demand. It’s true that sometimes it ends in embarrassment, as when Uber instituted surge pricing following an explosion in New York City in 2016. 1 But often, the “PR nightmare” is temporary, and consumers either adjust to the new pricing arrangement or defer the service altogether. That creates a two-tiered system with some commuters speeding down Broadway in an overly expensive Uber and others stuck taking the bus. O’Rielly doubts internet service providers would take advantage of those same market forces. Ah, innocence.

    Consumers can only resist when they have choices. But the FCC itself says that only slightly more than one-third of Americans have access to more than one internet provider offering service that it considers broadband. In rural areas, only 39 percent of people have access to even one broadband provider.

    3: "I, for one, see great value in the prioritization of telemedicine and autonomous car technology over cat videos...Consider that each autonomous vehicle is predicted to generate an additional four terabytes of data a day, much of which will be carried by wireless networks. It’s hard to imagine that some prioritization of traffic won’t be necessary, further undermining attempts to ban such practices."—Commissioner O’Rielly"

    You know who else believed telemedicine services should be prioritized over cat videos? The 2015 FCC that passed the net neutrality order. In that order, the commission created a category of services called “non-BIAS data services,” which include heart monitors and internet phone services, which are entitled to greater speeds. As Ars Technica recently pointed out, the 2015 rules specifically noted that “telemedicine services might alternatively be structured as ‘non-BIAS data services,’ which are beyond the reach of the open Internet rules.”

    4: “After a two year detour, one that has seen investment, decline, broadband deployments put on hold and innovative new offerings shelved, it’s great to see the FCC returning to this proven regulatory approach.”—Commissioner Carr

    This is the central justification for the FCC’s decision. But it doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, as we’ve detailed before. Many internet service providers increased their investments after the 2015 rules passed. Some, such as AT&T, cut investment, but those decreases were planned years in advance. In fact, executives at major broadband companies assured shareholders that the net neutrality rules didn’t affect their plans.

    Many small internet service providers did object to the rules, saying that the rules made it harder for them to attract investment. But as Ars Technica reports, the advocacy group Free Press found that some of those companies actually increased their footprints in both rural and urban areas after the rules passed, so the effects of net neutrality on small providers are, at best, unclear.

    5: “Moreover, we empower the Federal Trade Commission to ensure that consumers and competition are protected.”—Chairman Pai

    As Democratic FTC Commissioner Terrell McSweeny has told WIRED, the FTC only has the authority to pursue individual businesses for unfair or anticompetitive actions. It can’t issue industry-wide rules, such as a ban on blocking lawful content. In many cases, she says, the agency might be unable to use antitrust law against broadband providers that give preferential treatment to their own content or to that of partners.

    FCC CTO Eric Burger, who was appointed by Pai earlier this year, apparently came to the same conclusion. “If the ISP is transparent about blocking legal content, there is nothing the [Federal Trade Commission] can do about it unless the FTC determines it was done for anti-competitive reasons,” Burger wrote in an email to FCC staff, according to Politico. “Allowing such blocking is not in the public interest.” The FCC reportedly made a change to its order that satisfied Burger, but the agency has not responded to our request for clarification.

    6: "How does a company decide to restrict someone’s accounts or block their tweets because it thinks their views are inflammatory or wrong? How does a company decide to demonetize videos from political advocates without any notice?...You don’t have any insight into any of these decisions, and neither do I, but these are very real actual threats to an open internet."—Chairman Pai

    This isn't so much a fib as a clever bit of misdirection. Here, Pai is suggesting that companies such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are really to blame for the internet's decline, because they determine what people see online and have no obligation to tell people why they're seeing it. There's truth in that. Platforms are far from perfect and and far less open than they like to pretend. And yet, there's a key difference between the platforms that run on the internet and access to the internet itself. In a world of true net neutrality, people who think Twitter is skewing what they see online can seek alternatives, where they can expect the same speed and reliability. In a world without net neutrality—where we'll be in late February, after Thursday's rules take effect—internet service providers will decide whether it'll cost you.

    1 Correction: 12/14/17 9:31 PM ET This story has been corrected to say Uber instituted surge pricing during the New York City explosion in 2016. An earlier version incorrectly said it instituted surge pricing during airport protests following President Trump's institution of a travel ban on predominantly Muslim countries.*

    The @FCC's repeal of #NetNeutrality was illegal and we will be filing suit. Here's why:
    https://twitter.com/MassAGO/status/941446265023467522

    AG Maura Healey joining lawsuit against FCC's net neutrality decision


    After FCC Abandons Net Neutrality, States take up the Fight
    Klint Finley BUSINESS 12.15.170 6:00 AM
    https://www.wired.com/story/after-fcc-abandons-net-neutrality-states-take-up-the-fight/

    "THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS Commission will no longer protect net neutrality. Now, officials in more than a dozen states are trying to take on the job.
    Within minutes after the FCC voted to jettison its Obama-era rules that prohibit internet providers from blocking or discriminating against lawful content, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he would lead a multistate lawsuit against the agency to preserve the regulations.

    Ars Technica reported that that so far attorneys general in Illinois, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Washington have also announced suits. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller’s office tweeted that he will consult with other attorneys general about a suit. Others are likely to join as well—18 state attorneys general signed a letter encouraging the agency to delay the vote.

    Schneiderman didn't explain his legal case against the FCC, but cited the flood of fake comments in the public record as a corrupting influence on the FCC’s process. Schneiderman led a months-long investigation into the fake comments, which often used real people's names and addresses without their knowledge, and had called for the FCC to delay the vote.

    It's not clear which states will join the suit yet, but 18 state attorneys general signed a letter encouraging the agency to delay the vote.

    Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson called the FCC order a violation of the Administrative Procedure Act, which bans federal agencies from issuing "arbitrary and capricious" rules. Legal experts have told WIRED that such a suit just might succeed, though courts often defer to federal agencies.

    Suing the FCC wasn't enough for Washington Governor Jay Inslee. His office published a blog post Wednesday outlining measures he and state legislators plan to take to ensure net neutrality. The FCC’s action Thursday bars states from imposing their own net neutrality rules, but Inslee’s ideas seem designed to bypass those restrictions.

    The Washington proposal would make life difficult for internet service providers that don't promise not to block or discriminate against lawful content, and penalize companies that break their promises. That might mean revoking tax breaks or revoking preferential treatment in utility pole access for some carriers. The plan also calls for a statewide speed standard for broadband internet, and for the expansion of publicly owned internet services.

    California state Senator Scott Wiener promised in his own blog post to draft similar legislation over the next 60 days. "California can regulate business practices to require net neutrality, condition state contracts on adhering to net neutrality, and require net neutrality as part of cable franchise agreements, as a condition to using the public right-of-way for internet infrastructure, and in broadband packages," he wrote.

    Both proposals are a long way from becoming law. But some legal experts think there's a good chance that the FCC's rules barring states from making their own rules won't hold up in court. "There's been a lot of litigation not just with the FCC but with other agencies about federal preemption," Marc Martin, chair of law firm Perkins Coie’s communications practice. "Courts often look askance at it. It's an aggressive tactic." But he says there is some legal precedent for the FCC's move, pointing to the agency's 2004 decision to quash Minnesota's voice-over-internet-protocol regulations.

    Koch Brothers are Cities' new Obsticle to Building Broadband
    Susan Crawford BUSINESS 12.16.1707:00 AM
    https://www.wired.com/story/koch-brothers-are-cities-new-obstacle-to-building-broadband/

    "THE THREE REPUBLICAN commissioners now in power at the FCC voted this week to erase the agency's legal authority over high-speed Internet providers. They claim that competition will protect consumers, that the commission shouldn't interfere in the "dynamic internet ecosystem," and that they are "protecting internet freedom." Now that the vote is done, the agency has little to do but mess around with spectrum allocations.

    The mega-utility of the 21st century officially has no regulator."
    In the meantime, fed up with federal apathy and sick of being held back by lousy internet access controlled by local cable monopolies, scrappy cities around the US are working hard to find ways to get cheap, world-class fiber-optic connectivity. It’s always been an uphill climb, as the “incumbents”—giant carriers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T—are constantly working behind the scenes to block competition. (Recently, Comcast spent nearly $1 million opposing a municipal-fiber vote in Fort Collins, Colorado. The company did not prevail, I’m happy to report.) But now there’s an additional obstacle: Powerful right-wing billionaires have joined the fight against municipal fiber efforts, using their deep pockets to fund efforts to block even the most commonsense of plans.

    Bad news for internet access—the Koch brothers are fighting low-cost open fiber nets.

    Look what happened in Louisville, Kentucky. It's a city of about 750,000, the largest in the state. Earlier this year, the city noticed that the state of Kentucky was funding a "middle mile" fiber network designed to connect the state’s 120 counties and provide cheaper connectivity for municipal buildings—KentuckyWired. As part of the project, Louisville—also known as Jefferson County—would be able to run 100 miles of fiber alongside the state network for just the cost of materials.

    That seemed like a great deal to Louisville. The city estimated that if it installed fiber for city use from scratch, it would cost $15 million. With the KentuckyWired offer, the same project would cost just $5.4 million—with half of that amount dedicated to placing fiber nodes in West Louisville, a struggling, de facto segregated area of concentrated poverty, poor health outcomes, and general economic distress.

    The public benefits of jumping on the KentuckyWired offer would be substantial: Not only would West Louisville get a chance at better access for its homes and businesses, but the city could install fiber-controlled traffic signals, create better and cheaper connectivity for public-safety agencies, and ship data around inexpensively to improve its operations. In a nutshell, the city would build the infrastructure and lease capacity to private internet-service providers. "We were looking at this as our smart city foundation," Grace Simrall, Louisville's chief of civic innovation, says. At least half of the new fiber capacity would be reserved for open access leases, to encourage last-mile retail providers to wire homes and businesses. All for just the cost of the fiber lines.

    It seemed to be a no-brainer. “I can't think of a more sensible plan," Simrall says. "I just didn't think that we were going to face opposition on this. We thought surely people would understand that this was a way for us to leapfrog where we were for a fraction of the cost."

    But when Simrall and her colleagues went to talk to members of the Louisville Metro Council in May, they found that interest groups, including the cable trade association in Kentucky and something called the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, had been there already. Suddenly, the city's eminently sensible plan was in trouble. "The cable trade association in Kentucky was very vocal about how they thought that this was a waste of taxpayer money and had just spoken to numerous council members on the record about that," Simrall says.

    Then Simrall and the city found out that the Washington, DC-based Taxpayers Protection Alliance had been posting frequently on social media opposing Louisville's fiber plan. (Typical tweet: “Google suspended its fiber efforts in many cities due to cost - now wants Louisville taxpayers to foot the $5.4M bill.” The Louisville plan had nothing to do with Google.)

    That's when Simrall learned who had joined the forces determined to block Louisville from spending a dime on fiber for the city's use: Charles and David Koch, the brothers backing environment-hostile fossil fuels and funding politicians who dole out goodies to the super-rich. "It's widely known that they [the Taxpayers Protection Alliance] receive a lot of funding from the Koch brothers," Simrall says.

    The connection between the TPA and the Koch brothers emerged from investigative reporting by ProPublica and others. This work has revealed that the Taxpayers Protection Alliance is a front advocacy group, part of a network of dark-money organizations supported in part by the Koch brothers. (The funding seems not to come from the Koch family directly but instead is funneled through other Koch-funded groups.) TPA’s most recent IRS filing shows it received about half a million dollars in contributions in 2016, but the sources of these contributions are blacked out. Tax-exempt organizations are not required to disclose the names of their donors publicly. David Williams, TPA’s president, told the Louisville Courier-Journal earlier this year that the group receives funding from “a lot of different sources," including groups affiliated with the Koch brothers.

    A look at the TPA blog shows that the organization fights municipal fiber as part of its general anti-government and pro-private-sector activities, claiming that “taxpayer-funded broadband is a waste of money.” This week’s post, not surprisingly, congratulates the FCC on rolling back net neutrality regulations that TPA believes were “hurting taxpayers.”

    That made the Louisville fiber project a battle between those trying to help the city and outside money trying to preserve the status quo. With little time before the council vote in mid-June, and facing the prospect that the city would lose forever the opportunity to participate in KentuckyWired at cost, Simrall and her office swung into action. They patiently explained the economic and operational benefits of the city plan to council members and the public, creating a useful infographic to sum up the story. They urged residents to call council members. Simrall had come from the civic tech community in Louisville, and contacted everyone she knew. "Everybody said, 'This is complete common sense,'" Simrall says. On June 8, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer tweeted: "Tell your council member to back #KyWired and stop the Kochs from meddling in Louisville's progress."

    Later that month, there were two dramatic public meetings on the city's budget for the fiber project. The first vote went along party lines, with Republicans voting against any city involvement in fiber. Simrall and her team kept fighting, and managed to convince some Republicans that the city plan made a lot of sense—especially the Republicans from districts that have suffered from digital redlining by incumbents. In the end, at the final budget hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve the request. "It was really quite a thrilling thing," Simrall says.

    At the end of the day, the Koch-funded campaign backfired. It helped fire up some council members who might not have understood the importance of city fiber; once they knew the Koch brothers were against it, the city's plan got their attention. "That felt pretty good," Simrall says.

    If the Koch brothers were willing to throw money at opposing an incremental, cheap effort to string fiber alongside an existing state network plan, just imagine what they'll be capable of around more ambitious local efforts. There is a major onslaught looming.

    Simrall doesn't think the Kochs actually care about fiber. "It's all their way of opposing particular municipal or state efforts," Simrall says.

    The scary thing is that the TPA message can be effective to a public that doesn't understand the importance of fiber and can be easily swayed by claims that internet access should be handled solely by the private sector. The same kinds of Koch-like scare-points were rolled out when the unregulated private sector was solely in charge of electricity 100 years ago. But, as Simrall points out, "At this point, who would go to a city that doesn't have electric utilities? Who would go to a city that doesn't have water, or access to highways? Fiber is that type of infrastructure plan."

    That doesn’t matter to the funders of groups like TPA. No matter how limited the government involvement is, they're going to go after it."
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2017
  9. HTWingNut

    HTWingNut Potato

    Reputations:
    21,573
    Messages:
    35,411
    Likes Received:
    9,862
    Trophy Points:
    931
     
    hmscott likes this.
  10. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

    Reputations:
    4,331
    Messages:
    15,285
    Likes Received:
    18,765
    Trophy Points:
    931
    HTWingNut likes this.
Loading...

Share This Page