FCC Votes “Yes” on Net Neutrality – IEEE Spectrum


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  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Now The Internet Belongs To Us — And To Politics

    Thursday’s net neutrality ruling was a victory for consumers. It also ushers in a new age for the mainstream politics of the internet.

    Net neutrality won. The internet is ours! We’ve taken it! Stolen it back from the people who, well, provide it to us at a pretty reasonable rate, truth be told. The entire library of human everything delivered right to your doorstep for a mere $20 to $50 or so a month, depending on how fast it is that you want that everything. Now that the FCC has voted to enshrine net neutrality, there is nothing left standing between you and the great unlimited gush of audio and video bits and packets slip-sliding right into your Sonos at democratically arrived-at speeds, unencumbered by fast or slow lanes. It means that your startup porn comes right to you with the same speed as your well-established, big business, legacy pornography. Let the binge-watching bonanza begin, this is America!

    And yet, it still could serve as a political bludgeon. An example of the way President Obama overreaches

    Net neutrality’s next chapter: How experts saw today’s milestone and next steps

    Let’s start with Stanford legal scholar Barbara van Schewick, who had written an excellent analysis about the upcoming rules. (You should seriously go read it.) She is optimistic about the chances that the FCC will prevail in court once one of the ISPs or affiliated organizations such as the National Telecommunications and Cable Association decides to sue.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Net Neutrality preserved as FCC delares Title II utility status for Internet
    And yes, that includes mobile

    THE US FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS Commission (FCC) has voted in favour of the reclassification of the Internet as a Title II public utility, protecting net neutrality and reinstating the Open Internet as defined by the Obama administration.

    The 3-2 vote saw Chairman Tom Wheeler reverse his positionon the matter, having previously and repeatedly declared himself in favour of a deregulated internet, allowing paid prioritisation of traffic by the cable and telecoms industry.

    Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai warned that the decision would lead to tax hikes for Americans and that President Obama’s direct plea to the FCC to instigate Title II was “meddling”.

    “The Internet is not broken. There is no problem for the government to solve.”

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Net Neutrality Prevails In Historic FCC Vote

    WASHINGTON — The Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to approve strong net neutrality rules in a stunning decision, defying vocal, months-long opposition by telecom and cable companies and Republicans on Capitol Hill.

    The FCC intends to use this new authority to ban “paid prioritization,” a practice whereby Internet service providers can charge content producers a premium for giving users more reliable access to that content, as well as to ban blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. These rules also apply to mobile access.

    According to a fact sheet released by the FCC, the agency plans to enforce its new open Internet rules through “investigation and processing of formal and informal complaints.” For the first time, the FCC can also address complaints at interconnection points, the gateway between ISPs and the rest of the Internet, on a case-by-case basis.

    “The Internet is simply too important to allow broadband providers to be the ones making the rules,” Wheeler said

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How Google’s Silence Helped Net Neutrality Win

    Before the FCC voted today to adopt new rules that will make it easier for the agency to enforce net neutrality, the agency’s commissioners heard from three people who believe in an open internet: Chad Dickerson, the CEO of Etsy; Veena Sud, the executive Producer of the Netflix-produced serial The Killing; and Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web.

    But they didn’t hear from Google, one of the companies that spent the most money on lobbying five years ago when the FCC last examined the issue.

    Google certainly cares about net neutrality.

    “In 2010 large companies like Google, eBay, Microsoft, and Skype, were really important partners in the fight for network neutrality rules,” says Barbara van Schewick, a Stanford professor who has written about net neutrality. “They lobbied the FTC; they send their lobbyists to Congress; they all submitted detailed comments to the FCC. This round of the net neutrality debate was very different.”

    The question is: Why?

    In some ways, it’s a sign of the times, and a broader, more politically connected tech lobby. Five years ago, there weren’t as many advocacy groups and tech companies with a Washington presence.

    “Remember when this debate started, Title II was thought to be the nuclear option. So even saying that you supported title ii was perceived to be taking a huge risks,” van Schewick says. “It risked drawing the ire of the Republicans in Congress who might retaliate in various ways.”

    But Google and others did enough. In May, when it seemed like the FCC was going to steer clear of Title II, Google, Amazon, Facebook, eBay and around 150 other tech companies signed a letter warning that if they allowed the ISPs to tack on tolls to content providers, the agency’s proposed rules represented a “grave threat to the internet.”

    That letter marked a turning point, van Schewick says. “It was significant that the large technology companies like Google, Facebook and Microsoft also signed on to this letter, because it signaled to everyone in Washington that large companies do care about it.”

    But from that point on, it was up to advocacy groups such as Public Knowledge and Engine and the smaller companies, like Etsy, Mozilla, and Reddit to carry on the fight.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Net neutrality victory: FCC approves ‘open internet’ rules in 3-2 vote
    Telcos, start your litigation as US broadband faces regulation

    US watchdog the FCC today approved its strongest ever rules governing internet access. The regulations were passed in a 3-2 vote by commissioners.

    “It’s a red letter day for the internet,” said FCC chairman Tom Wheeler just prior to calling the vote. “Today history is being made.” The vote fell along partisan lines, with the chairman and two Democratic commissioners voting in favor and the two Republican commissioners voting against.

    The “net neutrality” rules will bring broadband access under Title II legislation, designed for the telephone industry back in the 1930s.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Net neutrality: The world speaks its brains on secret ‘open’ ‘net rules
    Not a ‘meh’ in sight

    Look at this photo of FCC chairman Tom Wheeler holding hands and smiling with the two Democrat commissioners who backed his “open internet” regulations, the pair wearing vivid blue outfits. It sums all that was both good and worrying about the decisions today to pass secretive net neutrality rules.

    Here, we see a historic debate on internet access in America, a crucial complex technology, jump the tracks and career into a quagmire of politics. Jubilant Dems on one side, the Republican commissioners who voted against the net neutrality rules on the other.

    Let’s turn to the President to set the record straight:

    Today’s FCC decision will protect innovation and create a level playing field for the next generation of entrepreneurs.

    Uh-uh, innovation, business, playing fields, all American traditions. Tell me more.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    FCC votes for net neutrality, a ban on paid fast lanes, and Title II
    Internet providers are now common carriers, and they’re ready to sue.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Chris Welch / The Verge:
    AT&T, Verizon, Obama, lobbyists, advocates, and others react to net neutrality ruling

    President Obama: FCC’s move keeps the internet “open and free”

    AT&T hints at litigation and Congress undoing everything

    Some Republican lawmakers say that’s just what they’ll do

    Verizon mocks FCC with typewriter font and warns of internet “throwback Thursday”

    Comcast is not a fan of Title II

    Senator Al Franken wants to celebrate

    So does Kickstarter

    Netflix sees this as a win for consumers everywhere, but doesn’t want FCC to forget about interconnection

    Senator John McCain promises Congress will “correct” FCC’s mistake

    Microsoft is pleased but looks forward to “reading the rules”

    Tumblr calls today “momentous” and thanks FCC for being brave

    NCTA and big cable couldn’t be more angry

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation claims “partial victory”

    Wireless carriers say the FCC just put our “5G future” at risk

    CEA thinks Title II is “the wrong approach”
    Same goes for USTelecom
    And the Telecommunications Industry Association

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Verizon issues furious response to FCC, in Morse code, dated 1934
    Verizon wants 1st Amendment right to edit the Web, but rules from 1934 are too old.

    Verizon is just so mad at the Federal Communications Commission today that a normal press release wouldn’t do.

    After all, Verizon issues so many press releases denouncing the FCC for trying to regulate telecommunications that today’s vote on net neutrality required a special one to make sure it would be remembered.

    So Verizon wrote it in Morse code and set the date as “1934″

    Despite this protest, Verizon hasn’t been shy about using Title II to its benefit. The company was already a Title II carrier for its wireline telephone and mobile voice networks, and used the benefits of its Title II status to help build its fiber network, which carries phone, TV, and Internet service.

    Of course, this is the same Verizon that in 2012 claimed that net neutrality violates its First and Fifth Amendment rights.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Tim Wu / New Yorker:
    Why Everyone Was Wrong About Net Neutrality

    Today, the Federal Communications Commission, by a vote of three to two, enacted its strongest-ever rules on net neutrality, preserving an open Internet by prohibiting broadband providers from blocking or slowing content that flows across their pipes. It is a substantial achievement for the Obama Administration and the F.C.C. chairman Tom Wheeler, and also for the many groups that fought hard for the outcome. But it also is a moment to reflect back on the process over the last year that led here, and figure out why what so many people thought they knew turned out to be wrong.

    Let’s begin with the most obvious incorrect prediction, namely that passage of a strong rule (a Title II rule in telecom jargon) would be politically impossible.

    Werbach’s point was echoed by political cynics who believe that federal regulatory agencies like the F.C.C. tend to become captured and obey the bidding of whoever spends the most to lobby them. Money was certainly not on the side of net neutrality. A.T. & T., Verizon, Comcast, and others opposed strong net-neutrality rules, while the richest potential allies, companies like Google and Facebook, mostly sat things out.

    Some of the only groups in favor of strong rules were little-known activist organizations

    But these predictions were wrong. Why, exactly, is subject to debate. It may have been the unexpected effectiveness of Internet-based activist groups, who protested the F.C.C. and helped convince millions of people to write and send comments about the potential rules. It may have been the White House and the personal involvement of President Obama himself. Or maybe people just misunderstood the character of the F.C.C. chairman Tom Wheeler. Whatever the explanation, the most pessimistic theories of lobbyist power clearly need be revised.

    It is often the case in Washington that ideas gain the status of deep truths not because they are actually true, but only because they are repeated often enough. That was the case for another widespread idea: that enacting strong net-neutrality rules would lead to a collapse in the value of broadband providers like Comcast and Verizon.

    The theory of the wisdom of crowds suggests that the markets have noticed something: the broadband industry hates net neutrality, but its existence has always had a huge and unnoticed upside. Selling broadband is a great business: Moffet has pointed out that the margins are north of ninety-seven per cent. Stated simply, a strong net-neutrality rule locks in the status quo for the most profitable part of the cable industry’s business.

    The general assumption is that the new rules will be met with fierce and protracted litigation (perhaps decades of it, warn the greatest doomsdayers).

    For one thing, given the jump in stock prices, filing a lawsuit will technically be suing to invalidate rules that seem to have created billions of dollars of shareholder value for the broadband providers.

    you might count out A.T. & T. and Comcast, both of whom have pending mergers before the commission. Sprint has already said that it doesn’t mind net-neutrality regulation

    So it probably comes down to whether Verizon or a trade group like the National Cable & Telecommunications Association thinks that it is worth the time, money, and continued uncertainty inherent in trying to knock out the new rules.

    On this we have some early data: with full knowledge that the rules were coming, bidders in late January spent a record $44.9 billion on broadcast spectrum—exactly the kind of infrastructure investment that the laws would supposedly deter. It has been a tough year for what once passed as conventional wisdom.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    One article on with some critical views on the network netrality ruling. It had good sides but also can have some bad influence to market:

    Net Neutrality: Triumph of the Ruling Class

    A triumph of “free expression and democratic principles”? How stupid do they think we are?

    It’s been painful to watch the gradual tightening of government control in the name of net neutrality. The Federal Communications Commission’s decision to rewrite the rules and declare the Internet as a public utility seals the deal. It cartelizes the industry and turns a “Wild West” into a planned system of public management — or at least intends to.

    All the rest is a veneer to cover what is actually a power grab.

    This whole plot has had all the usual elements. It has a good name and its supporters say it is about stopping private and public control.

    Here’s what’s really going on. The incumbent rulers of the world’s most exciting technology have decided to lock down the prevailing market conditions to protect themselves against rising upstarts in a fast-changing market. To impose a new rule against throttling content or using the market price system to allocate bandwidth resources protects against innovations that would disrupt the status quo.

    What’s being sold as economic fairness and a wonderful favor to consumers is actually a sop to industrial giants who are seeking untrammeled access to your wallet and an end to competitive threats to market power. One person I know compared the move to the creation of the Federal Reserve itself: the creation of an industrial cartel in the name of improving the macroeconomic environment. That’s a good comparison.

    If you are a dominant player in the market — an incumbent firm like Comcast and Verizon — you really face two threats to your business model. You have to keep your existing consumer base onboard and you have to protect against upstarts seeking to poach consumers from you. A rule like net neutrality can raise the costs of doing business but there is a wonderful upside to this: your future potential competitors face the same costs.

    So what are the costs to the rest of us? It means absolutely no price reductions in internet service. It could mean the opposite.

    No, I don’t believe that this ruling means the end of times for the internet.

    Future generations will laugh in bemusement: it was the dawn of a new age and yet they believed it could be controlled the same as all that came before.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mark Scott / New York Times:
    The Netherlands’ two-year-old net neutrality rules provide a good case study for the US

    Dutch Offer Preview of Net Neutrality

    Mr. Leenders’s digital life has not changed all that much in the two years since the Netherlands started demanding that Internet providers treat all traffic equally, the same sort of rules that the United States adopted on Thursday.

    His bill has gone up just marginally. He surfs, streams and downloads at the same speed — if not a little faster given the upgrades to Netherlands’ network, already one of the world’s best.

    In short, the new law was not the Internet Armageddon that many Dutch telecommunications companies, industry lobbyists and some lawmakers had predicted.

    “It is not up to any company to tell what I can do online.”

    As the United States moves to regulate broadband Internet service as a public utility, the Netherlands offers a rare case study of what could await American consumers and companies. The Netherlands was the second country in the world to adopt so-called open Internet rules, after Chile.

    It is not a perfect comparison.

    As with the American plan, Dutch carriers cannot discriminate among types of content

    And net neutrality opponents made all the same arguments in the Netherlands as they have been in the United States.

    Local telecommunications providers, including the country’s former monopoly KPN, had wanted to charge Internet and media companies like Google and WhatsApp, the messaging service, for premium access to their networks.

    “If you overregulate through net neutrality, there’s a risk you reduce the levels of investment because the rules become too onerous,” said Michel Combes, chief executive of Alcatel-Lucent, the French-American telecommunications manufacturer.

    But two years later, the Internet business in the Netherlands is still humming along.

    Consumers have not cried foul en masse over the costs. Dutch consumer groups say cellphone and cable packages in the last two years have remained relatively stable, with contracts priced at as little as $25 a month for the ability to stream online content. The average cellphone contract in the Netherlands is about one-third the price of an equivalent plan in the United States.

    “I can’t say my payments have gone up, maybe a little as I’m using my phone more to get on the Internet,” she said, sitting at a cafe in Amsterdam in the late afternoon on her day off. “But that’s O.K. I’m getting what I paid for.”


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