Monday, December 20, 2010

Fake Net Neutrality & Keeping the Illusion of Democracy Alive and Well.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is bringing new, "industry-written" "net neutrality" rules, that he's kept secret until the last possible moment, to a five-member panel, tomorrow, for a vote.  Are we supposed to believe that these rules - supposedly aimed at preventing the nation’s cable and Internet service providers from interfering with the empowering, open-to-innovation, leveling-the-playing-field nature of the internet - are real?   

Are we supposed to believe that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's "compromise", kept from the knowledge of any but the privileged isn't just another pretense to freedom of expression and freedom of thought? Pretense to "democracy"?

Well, since the nation's cable and telecommunications companies are pleased by the new rules, and they are signaling their support for Genachowski’s compromise dealthe answers to the aforementioned questions should be fairly clear.

Sen. Al Franken from Minnesota, called this issue "the most important free speech issue of our time", and, along with many other public interest and free speech groups, "slammed the rules as woefully inadquate to protect the public from the privations of an industry keen on turning the internet into a cyber-version of cable TV, with tiers and premium packages affordable by the wealthy."

This Tuesday is an important day in the fight to save the Internet.

As a source of innovation, an engine of our economy, and a forum for our political discourse, the Internet can only work if it's a truly level playing field. Small businesses should have the same ability to reach customers as powerful corporations. A blogger should have the same ability to find an audience as a media conglomerate.

This principle is called "net neutrality" -- and it's under attack. Internet service giants like Comcast and Verizon want to offer premium and privileged access to the Internet for corporations who can afford to pay for it.

The good news is that the Federal Communications Commission has the power to issue regulations that protect net neutrality. The bad news is that draft regulations written by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski don't do that at all. They're worse than nothing.

That's why Tuesday is such an important day. The FCC will be meeting to discuss those regulations, and we must make sure that its members understand that allowing corporations to control the Internet is simply unacceptable.
Once again, the government is intervening in ways that redistribute income, wealth, and opportunity upward. However, once that starts to become apparent, their actions will be cleverly disguised as the natural working of the free market, therefore, in our best interest.

1 comments:

Phil,  13:50  

Genachowski is a phony. His measure imposes far looser requirements on wireless broadband providers and wireless carriers should be subject to the same open Internet rules as wireline providers.

And he isn't proposing to reclassify broadband access as a Title II "telecommunications" service considering the Comcast case which leaves it vulnerable to legal challenges. Because in that matter, an appellate court ruled that the FCC lacked authority to sanction Comcast for violating neutrality principles because the agency had classified broadband as an information service.

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