If FCC plan is approved, you can kiss net neutrality goodbye

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It seems like FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has forgotten that he is no longer a telecom industry lobbyist–he has been appointed to the agency that’s supposed to regulate communications in the interests of the nation and its citizens. His proposal doesn’t do that.

In the face of a tidal wave of protests and criticism, the FCC voted this morning to move forward with the formal process of implementing a new framework of rules that dooms net neutrality. It isn’t in effect yet–today’s vote starts a four-month period of public comment.

Wheeler is a Democrat, but calling the proposal to allow companies to buy faster, priority Internet access “net neutrality” is a very Rovian, GOP form of doublespeak. It’s like calling the bill to strip away the Bill of Rights the “PATRIOT Act”, or calling a bill to allow companies to pollute more the “Clean Air Act”.

Here is what I wrote for PCWorld about today’s vote:

The FCC has voted to start the formal process of establishing new “Net Neutrality” rules. More accurately, the FCC has begun the process of killing the concept of net neutrality in favor of a system that lets broadband providers make money from both sides and charge companies for faster, priority delivery of Internet content.

Tom Wheeler, the FCC Chairman and former telecom lobbyist, pushed forward with a vote to begin the formal consideration process in spite of a backlash against his proposal. The rules are not yet in place—today’s vote simply begins a four-month period for public comment providing an opportunity for supporters and opponents to weigh in before the FCC moves forward to actually implement the new rules.

In a recent blog post defending his plan, Wheeler stressed expedience. It seems that even Wheeler recognizes that his proposal is far short of the net neutrality ideal, but he feels that it is something the FCC can do now that fits within the guidance handed down by the court when it sided with Verizon and essentially struck down the previous FCC net neutrality framework. The message of his post seems to be, “This isn’t the plan we want, but it’s the plan we can get approved.”

Read  the full article at PCWorld: FCC puts first nail in the coffin of net neutrality.

Also, make sure you email the FCC to share your comments on the “net neutrality” proposal.

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I have a passion for technology and gadgets--with a focus on Microsoft and security--and a desire to help others understand how technology can affect or improve their lives. I also love spending time with my wife, 7 kids, 3 dogs, 4 cats, 3 rabbits, 2 ferrets, pot-bellied pig and sulcata tortoise, and I like to think I enjoy reading and golf even though I never find time for either. You can contact me directly at tony@xpective.net. For more from me, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

2 Comments

  1. Andrew Staples on

    To me, it’s more of the same BS from federal gov’t. Even if you don’t buy the Wheeler/Telecom connection as a major factor, it is clear people in Washington don’t understand technology. They rely on the lobbyists to tell them what to do and how they should vote. Which of course means it sucks for the little guy.

    One thing I don’t understand is what happens during this 120 day grace period. Will there be more protests as we countdown? is there really anyone hope of flipping a vote? Do they even vote again? I’m clueless on the process moving forward.

    • Tony Bradley on

      During the four month period, the public can comment on the proposed changes. Individuals can share their concerns or opinions, businesses can weigh in with how they feel it will harm (or benefit) their business, etc. At the end of the four months, the proposal may be modified to take concerns and opinions into consideration, and then ostensibly the FCC would vote to formalize the rules. If there is enough backlash, though, or the changes necessary are too broad or numerous to just modify the existing proposal, it’s possible they could just scrap the whole thing and go back to the drawing board.

      What is interesting to me is that this plan seems to satisfy nobody. The net neutrality supporters are outraged by the suggestion of allowing the privileged few to pay for priority Internet access, and the broadband providers are bucking against the idea that the FCC would micromanage the deals it makes and how much it charges. The whole thing seems like a lose-lose, and Tom Wheeler seems to be the only person who likes the plan.

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