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Paul Merrell

Comcast hints at plan for paid fast lanes after net neutrality repeal | Ars Technica - 0 views

  • For years, Comcast has been promising that it won't violate the principles of net neutrality, regardless of whether the government imposes any net neutrality rules. That meant that Comcast wouldn't block or throttle lawful Internet traffic and that it wouldn't create fast lanes in order to collect tolls from Web companies that want priority access over the Comcast network. This was one of the ways in which Comcast argued that the Federal Communications Commission should not reclassify broadband providers as common carriers, a designation that forces ISPs to treat customers fairly in other ways. The Title II common carrier classification that makes net neutrality rules enforceable isn't necessary because ISPs won't violate net neutrality principles anyway, Comcast and other ISPs have claimed. But with Republican Ajit Pai now in charge at the Federal Communications Commission, Comcast's stance has changed. While the company still says it won't block or throttle Internet content, it has dropped its promise about not instituting paid prioritization.
  • Instead, Comcast now vaguely says that it won't "discriminate against lawful content" or impose "anti-competitive paid prioritization." The change in wording suggests that Comcast may offer paid fast lanes to websites or other online services, such as video streaming providers, after Pai's FCC eliminates the net neutrality rules next month.
Paul Merrell

Net Neutrality Revisited, and More from CRS | - 0 views

  • The Congressional Research Service produced a newly updated report on the subject, suggesting that congressional intervention might be appropriate. “The FCC’s move to reexamine its existing open Internet rules has reopened the debate over whether Congress should consider a more comprehensive measure to amend existing law to provide greater regulatory stability and guidance to the FCC,” the CRS report said, adding that whether Congress would do so “remains to be seen.”  See The Net Neutrality Debate: Access to Broadband Networks, updated November 22, 2017.
Paul Merrell

Comcast asks the FCC to prohibit states from enforcing net neutrality | Ars Technica - 0 views

  • Comcast met with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai's staff this week in an attempt to prevent states from issuing net neutrality rules. As the FCC prepares to gut its net neutrality rules, broadband providers are worried that states might enact their own laws to prevent ISPs from blocking, throttling, or discriminating against online content.
  • Comcast Senior VP Frank Buono and a Comcast attorney met with Pai Chief of Staff Matthew Berry and Senior Counsel Nicholas Degani on Monday, the company said in an ex parte filing that describes the meeting. Comcast urged Pai's staff to reverse the FCC's classification of broadband as a Title II common carrier service, a move that would eliminate the legal authority the FCC uses to enforce net neutrality rules. Pai has said he intends to do just that, so Comcast will likely get its wish on that point. But Comcast also wants the FCC to go further by making a declaration that states cannot impose their own regulations on broadband. The filing said: We also emphasized that the Commission's order in this proceeding should include a clear, affirmative ruling that expressly confirms the primacy of federal law with respect to BIAS [Broadband Internet Access Service] as an interstate information service, and that preempts state and local efforts to regulate BIAS either directly or indirectly.
Paul Merrell

FCC Turns Itself into a Deregulatory Agency - WhoWhatWhy - 2 views

  • Since taking office, President Donald Trump has wasted no time in proposing rollbacks to Obama-era federal regulations. So, it should come as no surprise that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted last month to propose changes to current regulations on Internet service providers. Spearheaded by Ajit Pai — the Trump-appointed FCC chairman and former lawyer for Verizon — the 2-1 vote is the first step in dismantling the Open Internet Order. The lone FCC Democrat, Mignon Clyburn, was overruled by Pai and fellow commissioner Michael O’Reilly. The 2015 order classified broadband internet as a utility under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. Opponents of the current state of net neutrality argue that the rules are archaic and place unnecessary — even harmful — restrictions on internet service providers (ISPs), leading to lack of innovation and investment. While it’s true that policies conceived in the 1930s could hardly anticipate the complexities of the modern Internet, a complete rollback of Title II protections would leave ISPs free to favor their own services and whichever company pays for upgraded service. Considering relaxed FEC rules on media ownership and lack of antitrust enforcement, some could argue that a rollback of net neutrality is even more toxic to innovation and affordable pricing. That is, fast lanes could be created for companies with deeper pockets, effectively giving them an advantage over companies and individuals who can’t pay extra. This approach effectively penalizes small businesses, nonprofits and innovative start-ups. Today’s Internet is so vast and so pervasive that it’s hard to grasp the impact that an abandonment of net neutrality would have on every aspect of our culture.
  • While the FCC’s proposed change will touch most Americans, net neutrality remains a mystifying concept to non-techies. To help our readers better understand the issue, we have compiled some videos that explain net neutrality and its importance. The FCC will be accepting comments from the public on their website until August 16, 2017.
Paul Merrell

FCC Votes To Start Slashing Net Neutrality Protections - 0 views

  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under President Donald Trump on Thursday afternoon voted to begin slashing regulations protecting a free and open internet. The decision (pdf) ran along party lines, with the FCC’s two Republican members voting to dismantle net neutrality. Mignon Clyburn, the Commission’s Democratic member, was the sole dissenting vote. “While the majority engages in flowery rhetoric about light-touch regulation and so on, the endgame appears to be no-touch regulation and a wholesale destruction of the FCC’s public interest authority in the 21st century,” Clyburn wrote in her dissent, according to The Hill.
Paul Merrell

Comcast hit with FCC's biggest cable fine ever - Oct. 11, 2016 - 0 views

  • Comcast is being forced to pay the largest fine the FCC has ever levied against a cable operator. Its offense: Charging customers for services and equipment they didn't ask for. The company agreed to pay a $2.3 million civil penalty and to submit to a "compliance plan," in which regulators will monitor Comcast for the next five years to ensure it cleans up its act.
  • The FCC said it received over 1,000 complaints from customers, who said Comcast charged them for premium channels, cable boxes, DVRs or other products that they never ordered. In many cases, the FCC said, customers expressly told Comcast that they didn't want the add-on options, but they were charged anyway. Complaints also describe how customers spent "significant time and energy to attempt to remove the unauthorized charges" and get refunds, the commission said. The complaints spurred the FCC to launch an investigation nearly two years ago. Today's settlement marks the conclusion of the probe. Under the five-year compliance plan, Comcast must begin sending customers special notifications every time a new charge or service is added to their bill. The company also has to add a way for customers to easily "block the addition of new services or equipment to their accounts," according to an FCC press release.
  • Comcast (CMCSA) will also be required to compensate or address complaints from customers who have disputed charges, and it will be barred from referring an account to collections or suspending an account that has a disputed charge. Comcast agreed to the fine without admitting any guilt.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

ISP explains data caps to FCC: Using the Internet is like eating Oreos | Ars Technica - 1 views

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    ""You have to pay extra for double-stuffed," cable company Mediacom tells FCC. Jon Brodkin - Sep 25, 2016 7:30 pm UTC"
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Copyright Group, In Arguing Against FCC's Set Top Box Proposal, Appears To Argue That V... - 0 views

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    "from the that's-not-how-it-works dept Earlier this month, we wrote about how the Copyright Officer had filed a really bizarre and legally dubious comment with the FCC concerning the FCC's plan to open up competition in TV set top boxes, ending cable company's monopoly on those boxes (for which they bring in $21 billion in revenue per year). "
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

FCC Boss Mocks Unfair Comcast Broadband Caps At Industry Dinner, Still Hasn't Done Squa... - 0 views

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    [From the tilted-playing-fields dept As we've covered for some time, Comcast has slowly but surely been expanding the company's immensely-unpopular broadband usage caps. ...]
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Join the Battle for Net Neutrality - 0 views

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    "Congress is trying to sneak language into a budget bill that would take away the FCC's ability to enforce the net neutrality rules we worked hard to pass, undermining everything we did to protect the open Internet. Thousands of calls and emails will nip this in the bud - contact Congress now! "
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Save Wifi :the FCC is attempting to criminalize freedom via new regulations | ThinkPeng... - 1 views

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    "Will you help us save wifi? The FCC is attempting to force new rules on manufacturers that will require everybody to lock down computing devices. Anything with a modern wireless chip is likely to be affected (software defined radio). This includes routers, cell phones, computers, bluetooth adapters, and similar devices. This means that users won't be able to install free software operating systems such as GNU/Linux or other third party firmwares/operating systems without the cooperation of the manufacturer. "
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

FCC refuses broadband industry demand to halt Title II classification | Ars Technica [#... - 0 views

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    "by Jon Brodkin - May 8, 2015 9:45 pm UTC [http://www.dailydot.com/politics/what-is-title-ii-net-neutrality-fcc/] Share Tweet 30 The Federal Communications Commission today denied the requests of five broadband industry trade groups that asked for an immediate halt to the reclassification of Internet service providers as common carriers subject to Title II regulation."
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    "by Jon Brodkin - May 8, 2015 9:45 pm UTC [http://www.dailydot.com/politics/what-is-title-ii-net-neutrality-fcc/] Share Tweet 30 The Federal Communications Commission today denied the requests of five broadband industry trade groups that asked for an immediate halt to the reclassification of Internet service providers as common carriers subject to Title II regulation."
Paul Merrell

The Attack on Net Neutrality Begins | The Fifth Column - 0 views

  •  The United States Telecom Association has filed a lawsuit to overturn the net neutrality rules set by the Federal Communications Commission this past February. In its Monday morning Press Release USTelecom, who represents Verizon and AT&T among others, said it filed a lawsuit in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia joining a similar law suit filed by Alamo Broadband Inc.
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published its net neutrality rules in the Federal Register on Monday and, according to procedure, that began a 60-day countdown until they go into effect (June 12). Their publication also opened a 30-day window for Internet service providers to appeal.  USTelecom and Alamo Broadband wasted no time.  USTelecom filed a previous action preserving the issue according to local court rule prior to the formal petition in March.
  • The rules, which were voted on in February, reclassify broadband under Title II of the 1934 Communications Act and require that ISPs transmit all Web traffic at the same speed. Over 400 pages long, USTelecom filed a CD of the rules as an exhibit with its action. This suit is predicted to be the first of many, as broadband groups like AT&T to congressional Republicans have signaled that they plan to fight the decision.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

The FCC's Historic Day: Voting Yes For Net Neutrality, Voting No On Protectionist S... - 0 views

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    Today was, no hyperbole intended, probably one of the more historic -- albeit at times one of the dullest -- days in FCC history. The agency, led by a former lobbyist for the cable and wireless industries few expected anything from, bucked a myriad of...
Paul Merrell

FCC votes to protect the internet with Title II regulation | The Verge - 0 views

  • Net neutrality has won at the FCC. In a 3-to-2 vote, the Federal Communications Commission today established a new Open Internet Order that implements strict net neutrality rules, including prohibitions on site and app blocking, speed throttling, and paid fast lanes.
  • Critically, the order also reclassifies internet providers' offerings as telecommunications services under Title II of the Communications Act. Though this is likely to provoke a challenge in court, Title II gives the commission the tools it needs to enforce these strict rules. This is also the first time that net neutrality rules will apply, in full, to mobile internet service. Additionally, the commission uses the new order to assert its ability to investigate and address complaints about "interconnect" agreements — deals made between internet providers like Comcast and content companies like Netflix, which has regularly complained that these deals are unfair. The FCC's new order establishes a standard that requires internet providers to take no actions that unreasonably interfere with or disadvantage consumers or the companies whose sites and apps they're trying to access. At most, internet providers may slow down service only for the purpose of "reasonable network management" — not a business purpose.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Five Potential Problems with the FCC's Open Internet Rules | MIT Technology Review - 0 views

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    "Open Internet" rules are on the verge of being approved in the U.S., but crucial details remain unclear.
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    "Open Internet" rules are on the verge of being approved in the U.S., but crucial details remain unclear.
Paul Merrell

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler: This Is How We Will Ensure Net Neutrality | WIRED - 0 views

  • That is why I am proposing that the FCC use its Title II authority to implement and enforce open internet protections. Using this authority, I am submitting to my colleagues the strongest open internet protections ever proposed by the FCC. These enforceable, bright-line rules will ban paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. I propose to fully apply—for the first time ever—those bright-line rules to mobile broadband. My proposal assures the rights of internet users to go where they want, when they want, and the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone’s permission. All of this can be accomplished while encouraging investment in broadband networks. To preserve incentives for broadband operators to invest in their networks, my proposal will modernize Title II, tailoring it for the 21st century, in order to provide returns necessary to construct competitive networks. For example, there will be no rate regulation, no tariffs, no last-mile unbundling. Over the last 21 years, the wireless industry has invested almost $300 billion under similar rules, proving that modernized Title II regulation can encourage investment and competition.
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    Victory on Net Neutrality in sight. The FCC Chairman is circulating a draft rule that designates both cable and wireless ISPs as "common carriers" under Title II.  
Paul Merrell

Obama wants to help make your Internet faster and cheaper. This is his plan. - The Wash... - 0 views

  • Frustrated over the number of Internet providers that are available to you? If so, you're like many who are limited to just a handful of broadband companies. But now President Obama wants to change that, arguing that choice and competition are lacking in the U.S. broadband market. On Wednesday, Obama will unveil a series of measures aimed at making high-speed Web connections cheaper and more widely available to millions of Americans. The announcement will focus chiefly on efforts by cities to build their own alternatives to major Internet providers such as Comcast, Verizon or AT&T — a public option for Internet access, you could say. He'll write to the Federal Communications Commission urging the agency to help neutralize laws, erected by states, that effectively protect large established Internet providers against the threat represented by cities that want to build and offer their own, municipal Internet service. He'll direct federal agencies to expand grants and loans for these projects and for smaller, rural Internet providers. And he'll draw attention to a new coalition of mayors from 50 cities who've committed to spurring choice in the broadband industry.
  • "When more companies compete for your broadband business, it means lower prices," Jeff Zients, director of Obama's National Economic Council, told reporters Tuesday. "Broadband is no longer a luxury. It's a necessity." The announcement highlights a growing chorus of small and mid-sized cities that say they've been left behind by some of the country's biggest Internet providers. In many of these places, incumbent companies have delayed network upgrades or offer what customers say is unsatisfactory service because it isn't cost-effective to build new infrastructure. Many cities, such as Cedar Falls, Iowa, have responded by building their own, publicly operated competitors. Obama will travel to Cedar Falls on Wednesday to roll out his initiative.
Paul Merrell

FCC Chairman Moves Toward Real Net Neutrality Protections | Free Press - 0 views

  • In an appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas today, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler indicated that he will move to protect Net Neutrality by reclassifying Internet access under Title II of the Communications Act. The chairman plans to circulate a new rule in early February. The agency is expected to vote on it during its Feb. 26 open meeting. Free Press President and CEO Craig Aaron made the following statement: “Chairman Wheeler appears to have heard the demands of the millions of Internet users who have called for real Net Neutrality protections. The FCC’s past decisions to put its oversight authority on ice resulted in Net Neutrality being under constant threat. Wheeler now realizes that it’s best to simply follow the law Congress wrote and ignore the bogus claims of the biggest phone and cable companies and their well-financed front groups. “Of course the devil will be in the details, and we await publication of the agency's final decision. But it’s refreshing to see the chairman firmly reject the industry’s lies and scare tactics. As we’ve said all along, Title II is a very flexible, deregulatory framework that ensures investment and innovation while also preserving the important public interest principles of nondiscrimination, universal service, interconnection and competition.”
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    Title II is for "common carriers." See http://transition.fcc.gov/Reports/1934new.pdf pg. 35. Under Section 202: "(a) It shall be unlawful for any common carrier to make any unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services for or in connection with like communication service, directly or indirectly, by any means or device, or to make or give any undue or unreasonable preference or advantage to any particular person, class of persons, or locality, or to subject any particular person, class of persons, or locality to any undue or unreasonable prejudice or disadvantage. (b) Charges or services, whenever referred to in this Act, include charges for, or services in connection with, the use of common carrier lines of communication, whether derived from wire or radio facilities, in chain broadcasting or incidental to radio communication of any kind. (c) Any carrier who knowingly violates the provisions of this section shall forfeit to the United States the sum of $6,000 for each such offense and $300 for each and every day of the continuance of such offense. 
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Get ready: The FCC says it will vote on net neutrality in February - The Washington Post - 1 views

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    "Federal regulators looking to place restrictions on Internet providers will introduce and vote on new proposed net neutrality rules in February, Federal Communications Commission officials said Friday."
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    "Federal regulators looking to place restrictions on Internet providers will introduce and vote on new proposed net neutrality rules in February, Federal Communications Commission officials said Friday."
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