The twilight of net neutrality?

Tom Toles Net Neutrality

The Internet was created by research paid for by American taxpayers, and, since it was first opened up to the public, it has operated under the principle of Net Neutrality — the principle that it is equally open to all, regardless of their views, social status or ability to pay.

Now Tom Wheeler, a former telecommunication lobbyist appointed by President Obama to head the Federal Communications Commission, has proposed a change in policy — to allow some companies to pay extra to get better access.

Just two months ago the White House itself gave a good explanation of why that is a bad idea.

Rights of free speech, and the free flow of information, are central to our society and economy — and the principle of net neutrality gives every American an equal and meaningful opportunity to participate in both. Indeed, an open Internet is an engine for freedom around the world.

12217_large_neutral-bitsPreserving an open Internet is vital not to just to the free flow of information, but also to promoting innovation and economic productivity.  Because of its openness, the Internet has allowed entrepreneurs — with just a small amount of seed money or a modest grant — to take their innovative ideas from the garage or the dorm room to every corner of the Earth, building companies, creating jobs, improving vital services, and fostering even more innovation along the way.

Absent net neutrality, the Internet could turn into a high-priced private toll road that would be inaccessible to the next generation of visionaries. The resulting decline in the development of advanced online apps and services would dampen demand for broadband and ultimately discourage investment in broadband infrastructure. An open Internet removes barriers to investment worldwide

This is from The White House Blog: Reaffirming the White House’s Commitment to Net Neutrality (Feb. 18, 2014).   Evidently the FCC didn’t get the word, or maybe it was the White House spokespeople who didn’t get the word.

Note that this is a proposal, not a decision, so it is not a completely done deal.  Also, it is not required by a Supreme Court decision in January that set aside a net neutrality rule.   All that is necessary to comply with the Court decision is to define Internet service providers as common carriers (like a telephone company) rather than information providers.

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The following linked articles give more details about what’s in the works.

F.C.C., in a Shift, Backs Fast Lanes for Web  Traffic by Edward Wyatt of the New York Times.

So long, net neutrality?  FCC to propose new pay-for-preferential-treatment rules by Gordon Gross for PC World.

The FCC is about to axe-murder net neutrality.  Don’t get mad–get even by Dan Gillmor for The Guardian

Goodbye, Net Neutrality; Hello, Net Discrimination by Tim Wu in The New Yorker.

How the FCC Plans to Save the Internet by Destroying It: an Explainer by Ryan Singal for Democracy at Work.

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2 Responses to “The twilight of net neutrality?”

  1. djgarcia94 Says:

    The FCC are the biggest sellouts in the United States Government. They are corrupted by the same forces that they are supposed to regulate, and as a result are concerned with no matters more pressing than F bombs or unblurred female nipples on daytime TV.

    Like

  2. EthnicKonflict Says:

    Whenever a “former lobbyist” gets to do anything important, bad outcomes will occur. Lobbying has literally been the death of our democracy, our cultural nation as a whole, and recently our individual liberties beginning with the Patriot Act. Big money already has propaganda, which is an effective form of mind control capable of shaping the opinion of entire populations. They do not need the ability to influence legislators or gain entry into appointed official positions.

    Like

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