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Paul Merrell

FCC Turns Itself into a Deregulatory Agency - WhoWhatWhy - 0 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 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.”

  •  
    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. 

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