Net Neutrality FCC Vote Today December 14, 2017

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  1. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Date engraved onto Net neutrality tombstone: June 11, 2018
    But wait! Is that a shining white knight come to save us all?
    By Kieren McCarthy in San Francisco 11 May 2018 at 22:34
    https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/05/11/net_neutrality_date/

    "So we finally have a date: June 11, 2018.

    That will be the day net neutrality finally dies in the United States following the publication of the full "Restoring Internet Freedom" FCC rules in the Federal Registry on Friday morning.

    Despite having been formally voted on and approved back in December last year, the order that pulls back previous FCC rules and re-re-classifies internet access as a "Title I" information service, wasn’t published until February 22.

    Everyone had assumed that mean that net neutrality would be killed off on April 23, but no – it turns out the FCC had written the order such that it was subject to approval by the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

    Well that all appears to have happened and now the FCC has formally published the order, meaning it will take effect in 30 days' time – which brings us to Monday, June 11.

    There has been some degree of conjecture over why it has taken so long – especially when FCC chair Ajit Pai repeatedly stressed how important it was that the rules were rescinded as soon as possible.

    The most likely explanation is that Pai worked with Republicans in Congress on a joint strategy where the impending death of net neutrality would be used to get Democrats to agree on new legislation that specifically addressed the issue.

    An actual law on the books would prevent the next chair of the FCC from doing exactly what Pai has done this time and simply reversing a previous order with a new one.

    But that strategy has backfired and Democrats in the Senate will formally petition for the repeal to be reversed using the Congressional Review Act (CRA). So, with nothing left to lose, the FCC has put the order out.

    Games
    It should be noted that it's not just the FCC and Republicans playing games here – the Democrats have been stretching out their CRA vote for weeks for whatever opaque reasons of their own. The measure won't pass – it is one vote short – so the whole thing is a ploy, meaning that it has been slotted into the political calendar.

    The Dems said they would vote on May 9 – but that day came and went and nothing happened – presumably because they were trying to make political hay out of another event – likely the ongoing saga around President Trump, porn star Stormy Daniels, lawyer Michael Cohen, and Rudy Guiliani.

    Apparently the anti-anti-net neutrality vote will happen some time next week: more Trump revelations notwithstanding.

    Of course none of this nonsense made it into the statement of FCC chair Ajit Pai. But he didn't have plenty of other nonsense to share:

    "On June 11, these unnecessary and harmful Internet regulations will be repealed and the bipartisan, light-touch approach that served the online world well for nearly 20 years will be restored," he said to roaring crowds on the Washington Mall.

    A small child held aloft her father's shoulders carried a placard with a simple message: Freedom. At least that's no doubt how Pai imagines it went down while showering this morning.

    More from his Martin Luther King Jr-style speech: "On June 11, we will have a framework in place that encourages innovation and investment in our nation’s networks so that all Americans, no matter where they live, can have access to better, cheaper, and faster Internet access and the jobs, opportunities, and platform for free expression that it provides."

    And so on.

    Listen
    Meanwhile, the only person left on the FCC that wants to retain net neutrality – Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel had her rebuttal ready.

    "The agency failed to listen to the American public and gave short shrift to their deeply held belief that internet openness should remain the law of the land. The agency turned a blind eye to serious problems in its process - from Russian intervention to fake comments to stolen identities in its files."

    But in what was probably the most depressing part of a series of depressing statements (lots of businesses, lobbying groups and trade associations have been posting and emailing their take on the news) and political maneuverings, she acknowledged that we will likely all go through this entire process all over again.

    "The FCC is on the wrong side of history, the wrong side of the law, and the wrong side of the American people," she argued. "It deserves to have its handiwork revisited, reexamined, and ultimately reversed."

    See you all again in a couple of years for more of the same."

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    Last edited: May 12, 2018
  2. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Senate Votes To Preserve Obama-Era Net Neutrality Rules | TIME
    TIME
    Published on May 16, 2018
    The Senate has voted to kill a Federal Communications Commission rule that repealed the Obama administration’s ban on internet providers blocking or slowing down certain content.


    U.S. Senate To Vote To Overturn Net Neutrality Rules Repeal | LIVE | TIME (Live, Completed)

    TIME
    May 16, 2018
    The U.S. Senate holds a hearing and will vote in an effort to reinstate net neutrality.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2018
  3. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Senators Just Passed a Resolution to Restore Net Neutrality
    The Congressional Review Act resolution passed with 52-47 votes. Now it goes to the House.
    Kaleigh Rogers, May 16 2018, 12:50pm
    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/kzk8zm/senators-pass-net-neutrality-resolution

    "The US Senate has passed a resolution to restore net neutrality rules. With a 52-47 vote on Wednesday, the Senate passed a joint resolution under the Congressional Review Act that overturns the Federal Communication Commission’s decision to scrap free internet rules last year.

    Now, the resolution will go to the House for consideration, where it faces an even steeper uphill battle.

    At the end of last year, the FCC voted 3-2 to repeal net neutrality rules established under President Obama in 2015. These rules prohibited internet service providers from doing things like prioritizing content, throttling service, or blocking websites. On June 11, the FCC’s decision will go into effect, opening the door for Big Telecom to control access to online content as it sees fit. Though many members of Congress have said they would prefer to work on new, Congress-led net neutrality legislation, those in favor of the resolution argued it was necessary to ensure a safety net for consumers until that legislation can be passed.

    Democratic Senator Ed Markey originally proposed the idea of a joint resolution under the CRA the same day the FCC voted to repeal net neutrality. By early January,he had enough supporters to ensure it would be put to vote, and as of Wednesday was only one vote shy of the resolution passing. All of the Democratic Senators had already pledged to support the resolution, along with Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine. On Tuesday, additional Republicans Senators voted in favor of the resolution, which allowed it to pass.

    Now, the resolution will be considered in the House where, though there is support for net neutrality, Democrats are vastly outnumbered. If it manages to pass the House, it will still need to be approved by President Trump. But the win in the Senate has ensured one thing: now we know where every Senator stands when it comes to net neutrality."
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  4. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Net neutrality gets a lifeline as Senate votes to block Ajit Pai’s repeal
    Senate defies "armies of lobbyists," but House may help FCC kill net neutrality.

    JON BRODKIN - 5/16/2018, 12:47 PM
    [​IMG]
    WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09, 2018: Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) speaks during a news conference on a petition to force a vote on net neutrality/ Also pictured are Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.). Getty Images | Zach Gibson

    "The US Senate today voted to reverse the Federal Communications Commission's repeal of net neutrality rules, with all Democrats and three Republicans voting in favor of net neutrality.

    The Senate approved a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution that would simply undo the FCC's December 2017 vote to deregulate the broadband industry. If the CRA is approved by the House and signed by President Trump, Internet service providers would have to continue following rules that prohibit blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization.

    FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has scheduled his repeal to take effect on June 11. If Congress doesn't act, the net neutrality rules and the FCC's classification of ISPs as common carriers would be eliminated on that date.

    Democrats face much longer odds in the House, where Republicans hold a 236-193 majority. Republicans have a slim majority in the Senate, but Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine); Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.); and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) broke ranks in order to support net neutrality and common carrier regulation of broadband providers.

    The vote was 52-47.

    “Armies of lobbyists”

    Before the vote, Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) urged fellow senators to disregard the "armies of lobbyists marching the halls of Congress on behalf of big Internet service providers."

    Lobbyists tried to convince senators that net neutrality rules aren't needed "because ISPs will self-regulate," and that blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization are just hypothetical harms, Markey said.

    Lobby groups representing all the major cable companies, telecoms, and mobile carriers urged senators to reject the attempt to restore net neutrality rules.

    The lobby groups complained that net neutrality rules don't apply to "the practices of edge providers, such as search engines and social media platforms." That's no surprise because the FCC regulates telecommunications networks and net neutrality rules apply specifically to broadband networks—websites and online services are regulated separately by the Federal Trade Commission.

    Markey said that net neutrality rules are needed because of events like Comcast throttling BitTorrent traffic and AT&T blocking Skype and other voice applications that compete against its mobile phone service.

    "Net neutrality is the free speech issue of our time," Markey said.

    Large majorities of both Democratic and Republican voters support net neutrality, Markey noted. Thousands of small businesses wrote to Congress in support of net neutrality, and "millions of Americans sent letters, posted tweets and made calls defending net neutrality," he said.

    The FCC's anti-net neutrality vote "neglected the will of everyday Americans and gave a gift to the rich and powerful," providing ISPs with "new tools to inflate profits" at the expense of Internet users and small businesses, Markey said.

    FCC is a “puppet for giant Internet providers”
    Internet providers claim that net neutrality rules harm network investment, but in reality ISPs like Comcast raised their capital investment while the rules were in place, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) said. "The notion that they are somehow going to slow down investment is just not true," she said.

    "The cable industry ranks at the very bottom of 43 industries in consumer satisfaction," Cantwell also said, arguing that Internet users need protection from the companies' anti-consumer practices.

    Repealing net neutrality would create "toll booths all over the Internet," and "those higher costs would in one way or another come out of your pocket," Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said.

    Republicans want weaker net neutrality law
    Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) said that all senators want to prevent blocking and throttling, and argued that Congress should pass bipartisan legislation to protect net neutrality. But Wicker did not say whether he wants a ban on paid prioritization, which would let ISPs charge websites and online services for better access to Internet users than online services that don't pay such fees.

    "Today, some in Congress are trying to give the government more control again, applying utility-style regulations that would threaten the Internet as we know it," Wicker said.

    US Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) criticized Democrats for trying to "impose partisan, onerous, and heavy-handed regulations on the Internet."

    Some aspects of the FCC's net neutrality regulation "lack a fundamental connection to net neutrality principles and harm consumer freedom," Thune said.

    By way of example, Thune criticized the Obama-era FCC for trying to stop certain zero-rating plans. The FCC determined in January 2017 that AT&T and Verizon Wireless violated net neutrality by letting their own video services stream on their mobile networks without counting against customers' data caps, while charging other video providers for the same data cap exemptions. Pai reversed that decision.

    "Net neutrality isn't about regulating mobile phone plan offerings to meet a government Internet standard," Thune said. "But the Markey resolution would restore rules that the Obama Federal Communications Commission used to scrutinize such popular and affordable plans."

    Thune noted that in 2015, he proposed legislation that would have prohibited blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization.

    Democrats "reached the cynical conclusion that exploiting concern about the Internet outweighed the value of working with Republicans to pass net neutrality protections," Thune said.

    Thune's proposal would also forbid the FCC from regulating Internet service providers as common carriers. Common carrier regulation can go beyond net neutrality by letting the FCC protect consumers from unjust or unreasonable rates and practices in general.

    Though Thune supports a ban on paid prioritization, there are Republicans who want to let ISPs charge for fast lanes. Thune acknowledged that his proposal "did not anticipate all of the concerns that my colleagues raised and, of course, there is always room for compromise."

    Competition keeps ISPs in check, GOP senator claims
    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) repeated the telecom industry talking point that ISPs shouldn't face different rules than websites.

    "What we don't want to have is two different sets of rules where this set of companies, the Googles and Facebooks and Netflix, get to tell a different set of companies, the fiber, how they do their business," Lankford said. "Neither do we want the fiber companies telling the content companies how to run their business. Let them compete."

    Lankford also claimed that the broadband industry is awash in competition.

    "A lot of people say there's only a few Internet service providers that are out there," he said. "Well, in the United States, there are 4,500 Internet service providers that are out there."

    But except for satellite services with poor latency and a few large mobile providers, those broadband networks don't serve the whole country. Internet users generally have just one or two options for high-speed Internet service at their homes, as FCC data shows.

    Despite that reality, Lankford argued that the small ISPs will keep the big ones in check. "Yes, there are some big [ISPs], but there are a lot of small ones, and if the big ones misbehave, guess what happens: competition will beat them down and those small companies will beat them," Lankford said.

    Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) argued that customers frustrated by network limitations won't be able to easily switch ISPs because there's so little competition. "Competition does not exist—this is not a matter of competition, this is a matter of preventing discrimination," he said."

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    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  5. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    The Senate just voted to restore Net Neutrality. Here's what's next.
    EFForg
    Published on May 16, 2018
    Now is an important time to take action. Visit www.CheckYourReps.org to find out where your representative stands, and urge them to commit to using the Congressional Review Act to save the Open Internet Order.


    Senate votes to protect net neutrality
    KOAA 5
    Published on May 16, 2018
    Vote that could have a major impact on how you access the internet and how much you pay for it now moves to the House of Representatives. NBC's Liz McLaughlin reports.


    Senate votes to uphold net neutrality
    Newsy
    Published on May 16, 2018
    The measure is unlikely to make it past the House, though.
    Learn more about this story at www.newsy.com/79851/
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2018
  6. Fishon

    Fishon I Will Close You

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    Pai still wins. While Trump is in office, this is just symbolic as he'd veto it if it were ever to get to his desk.

    NAYs ---47


    Alexander (R-TN)Barrasso (R-WY)Blunt (R-MO)Boozman (R-AR)Burr (R-NC)Capito (R-WV)Cassidy (R-LA)Corker (R-TN)Cornyn (R-TX)Cotton (R-AR)Crapo (R-ID)Cruz (R-TX)Daines (R-MT)Enzi (R-WY)Ernst (R-IA)Fischer (R-NE)Flake (R-AZ)Gardner (R-CO)Graham (R-SC)Grassley (R-IA)Hatch (R-UT)Heller (R-NV)Hoeven (R-ND)Hyde-Smith (R-MS)Inhofe (R-OK)Isakson (R-GA)Johnson (R-WI)Lankford (R-OK)Lee (R-UT)McConnell (R-KY)Moran (R-KS)Paul (R-KY)Perdue (R-GA)Portman (R-OH)Risch (R-ID)Roberts (R-KS)Rounds (R-SD)Rubio (R-FL)Sasse (R-NE)Scott (R-SC)Shelby (R-AL)Sullivan (R-AK)Thune (R-SD)Tillis (R-NC)Toomey (R-PA)Wicker (R-MS)Young (R-IN)

    Congress took $101 million in donations from the ISP industry — here’s how much your lawmaker got.
     
  7. saturnotaku

    saturnotaku Notebook Prophet

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    Uh huh.

    http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/business-a-lobbying/282418-tech-cash-skews-to-democrats

     
  8. Fishon

    Fishon I Will Close You

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  9. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Senate Democrats Win Vote on Net Neutrality, a Centerpiece of 2018 Strategy
    By Cecilia Kang, May 16, 2018
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/16/technology/net-neutrality-senate.html
    [​IMG]
    Democrats plan to lean on the issue of net neutrality to get young voters engaged in the midterm elections. Credit Kyle Grillot/Reuters

    "WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats narrowly won a vote on Wednesday to save so-called net neutrality rules that ensure unobstructed access to the internet.

    The Senate passed a resolution in a 52-47 vote to overturn a decision last December by the Federal Communications Commission to dismantle Obama-era rules that prevented broadband providers like Verizon and Comcast from blocking or speeding up streams and downloads of web content in exchange for extra fees. The commission’s repeal of net neutrality is set to take effect in a few weeks.

    The rare victory for Democrats is sure to be short-lived, with a similar resolution expected to die in the House, where Republicans have a larger majority. Only three Republican senators voted in support of the resolution.

    But that’s beyond the point. The effort to stop the repeal of net neutrality rules is part of a broader political strategy by Democrats to rally young voters in the November elections.

    “Contact your Republican senator,” Senator Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, said in a speech before the vote. “See who votes for net neutrality and who votes against. And let them know how you feel about the way they voted.”

    For Democrats, net neutrality is part of a three-legged stool — internet access, gun control and marijuana legalization — they are leaning on to entice young voters to engage in the midterm elections. Such voters broadly side with Democrats, even though they are notoriously complacent in nonpresidential election years.

    “So the Democratic position is very simple: Let’s treat the internet like the public good that it is,” Mr. Schumer said.

    It is unclear if net neutrality still holds the same interest that set off nationwide protests last December when the F.C.C., led by chairman Ajit Pai, a President Trump appointee, dismantled the rules. Tech companies and consumers decried the commission’s action as a major reshaping of the internet, because it would allow broadband providers to create fast lanes for websites that pay to make sure their content, like streaming video, gets priority delivery. Few changes to internet service are expected to come right away.

    But it is not stopping Democrats from trying to use it to their advantage. They have been making a similar push on gun control, an issue that grabbed the attention of young people after a gunman slaughtered 17 students and staff members at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February. And Mr. Schumer has plans to introduce a bill next month that would legalize marijuana.

    Republicans were unable to prevent the vote, despite being in the majority, because the measure was tied to an action by a federal agency. The measure, brought as part of the Congressional Review Act, needed only to be brought up within a short period once the agency’s rules were codified, and needed only a majority of votes to pass.

    Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota and the chairman of the commerce committee, called the vote on net neutrality “political theater.”

    “We are having a fake argument,” Mr. Thune said about the vote. He said the Senate “is going nowhere, my colleagues on the other side know that.”

    Mr. Thune and other Republican lawmakers have proposed their own net neutrality legislation. The law would restore parts of the Obama-era rules, but it would not categorize broadband providers as common-carrier providers that need to follow utility-style rules, which many Democrats consider essential.

    “The heavy hand of government is plain to see in the plan Democrats passed in 2015 and is now seeking to reimpose,” Mr. Thune said.

    Cable, wireless and telecom companies also support the creation of a law for net neutrality that is not as strict as the 2015 regulations, which were created by Tom Wheeler, the former chairman of the F.C.C.

    The heads of major trade groups warned Senate leaders of great harm from the net neutrality rules.

    The regulations “would curb the necessary investment and infrastructure improvements that are critical for connecting more Americans to high-speed broadband and enabling wider internet access, especially in poor and rural areas,” they wrote in a letter to Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, and Mr. Schumer this week.

    The broadband providers have warned that the net neutrality rules and the designation of broadband as a utility-like service could make high-speed internet service subject to rate regulations at the F.C.C. The companies have the backing of the vast majority of Republicans.

    The three Republican senators who voted on Wednesday in favor of restoring rules — Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and John Kennedy of Louisiana — have complained about the lack of broadband internet competition in their states. Mr. Kennedy said one-fifth of Americans have access to only one provider of broadband internet with sufficient speeds for most modern needs like streaming video.

    “The vote comes down to one thing and one thing only: the extent to which you trust your cable company,” he said.

    Many Silicon Valley start-ups and consumer groups are in support of the stricter rules and have been backing Democrats on the issue. Dozens of tech start-ups, including Pinterest, Medium, Redfin and Etsy, wrote to Senate leaders in support of the vote to restore the broadband rules.

    “The repeal of open internet protections threatens the very foundation of the internet,” the companies wrote in their letter. “The F.C.C. has abandoned its long history of net neutrality protections and left consumers and businesses without essential protections for their lives and work online.”

    The congressional battle over net neutrality is just one of many fights taking place over the rules. States have been active in bringing back rules, even with the F.C.C.’s instructions last December that states cannot directly create new rules.

    Instead, governors and state legislators in California, Montana, New York and Washington have ordered that any public contracts with broadband providers would require the telecom companies to follow net neutrality rules.

    A lawsuit to overturn the F.C.C.’s vote on net neutrality is expected to go to trial in a federal court this summer." - Reporting was contributed by Thomas Kaplan.

    Why Net Neutrality Was Repealed and How It Affects You

    https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/14/technology/net-neutrality-rules.html
     
  10. hmscott

    hmscott Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Senate Votes to Overturn FCC’s Net Neutrality Repeal
    Actually overturning the repeal is a long shot, but the vote may influence midterm elections.
    KANYAKRIT VONGKIATKAJORN, MAY. 16, 2018 3:54 PM
    https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/05/senate-votes-to-overturn-fccs-net-neutrality-repeal/
    [​IMG]
    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., speaks during the Senate Democrats' news conference to officially file petition to force a vote on net neutrality on Wednesday, May 9, 2018. ill Clark/Congressional Quarterly/Newscom via ZUMA Press

    "The Senate voted 52-47 today to overturn the Federal Communication Commission’s repeal of net neutrality rules. The proposal was backed by all 49 Senate Democrats, with three Republican senators, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) voting in support of the measure.

    The vote was brought forward by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and other Democrats under the Congressional Review Act, which allows Congress to review or roll back regulatory rules within 60 legislative days. The FCC’s rollback of net neutrality rules is set to go into effect June 11.

    Actually overturning the FCC rules remains a long shot, however, because the House must also vote on the resolution, and the measure would then need final approval from President Trump. Both outcomes are unlikely. But the high-profile vote may have a stronger effect on midterm elections, as Democratic lawmakers attempt to position themselves as supporters of net neutrality.

    The FCC’s decision to repeal net neutrality rules has met staunch opposition. In January, 23 attorneys general filed a lawsuit against the FCC over the repeal, amid numerous other lawsuits from other groups. Several states, including Washington,Montana, and New York have passed laws preserving the rules in their state. Net neutrality principles mandated that internet service providers treat all content the same, and prevented them from creating “paid prioritization” or so-called “fast lanes” for certain services. Critics say that repealing the rules will increase costs for consumers, and make it more difficult for small businesses to compete with larger companies. Proponents of the repeal have argued that the rules are an overreach by the government that discourages innovation."
     
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