The Problem: The FCC Repealed Net Neutrality
by Aylin Woodward on December 14, 2017; The following was selected from the original article here.
In a 3-to-2 decision on December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal the rules that regulate how internet service providers (ISPs) connect us to the world wide web. Termed “net neutrality,” these rules ensured that companies like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast couldn’t charge more for higher quality service or block certain websites. In short, these rules helped guarantee equality for all voices and prevented censorship.
With net neutrality in place, ISPs had to treat all data — no matter what the content was, who owned it, or who created it — passing through their networks the same. But with this repeal, which rolls back regulations passed under the Obama administration in 2015, high-speed Internet is no longer a utility regulated by the federal government. Now, providers can prioritize the content and data from companies that pay more, shifting them to the Internet “fast lane,” while smaller companies that can’t afford the higher costs are left behind with slower streaming speeds.
The Solution: Take Back the Internet
1. How We Take Back the Internet | Edward Snowden
2. Sue the FCC
3. Fight The Filter Bubble
Here’s What The Experts Are Saying
We asked experts in business and media to weigh in on what the death of net neutrality means. Here’s what they had to say:
Technology market analyst at Endpoint Technologies Associates, Inc.
When we allow an industry to divide us into castes, it allows them to make the experience bad for everyone. First class people don’t want to meet other’ eyes. Some people become jealous of others’ privileges. These social dynamics are likely to play out in Internet domain as Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T benefit from them.
Professor at American University School of Communication
Without federally-enforced net neutrality, Internet service providers are not only empowered, but actively encouraged to exercise discriminatory oversight of the Internet traffic they carry. What this means is less competition, higher prices, and less incentive to innovate or improve services.
The Internet we have known for the past two decades — where the low barrier to entry encourages a multiplicity of voices and a collective endeavor to push the bounds of what is possible — will now be replaced by a system that maintains the status quo and benefits giant corporations at the expense of everyone else.
Free speech and privacy will be the collateral damage, as the ISPs become able to block encryption, censor dissent, and pick and choose winners and losers. Unless Congress overturns this ruling, the effects will be to further degrade American democracy and pollute the public sphere.
Professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information
The notion that competition between ISPs will ensure open and cheap access to the Internet is just wishful thinking on part of the FCC given that, in most parts of the United States, people have no choice from which ISP they get their internet connection.
I expect that consumers will either see a decline in available services or an increase in costs, and content providers and online services will have to enter into expensive agreements with ISPs. This will not happen overnight but rather as a slow creeping process.
Professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business
What happened today was that the FCC allowed ISP to collect money for putting people in the so-called “fast lane.” Suppose I’m Microsoft. AT&T will come to me and say “if you pay us this much, we’ll put you in the fast lane.” But the thing is, the “fast lane” isn’t faster than before. If companies don’t pay, providers just put them in a “slower lane.”
This is blackmail that will be imposed on any business that sends content information through the Internet, and the FCC has allowed this blackmail to be legal. The regulators have been taken over by the very industry they’re trying to regulate.
Undo the FCC’s Net Neutrality Repeal
By Colin Lecher@colinlecher Dec 20, 2017, 4:00pm EST; Original article here.
26 Senators Support Undoing the FCC’s Net Neutrality Repeal
After last week, when the FCC voted to roll back net neutrality protections, several lawmakers around the country said they would support plans to reinstate the rules. One of the most prominent ideas was announced the same day: Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), with 15 other democrats and independents, pledged to introduce Congressional legislation to undo the agency’s vote and reinstate the previous net neutrality rules.
Since then, the number of senators signing on to that plan has grown. As of today, 26 had pledged to vote for a resolution that would overrule the FCC through the Congressional Review Act. Under the act, Congress has 60 days to block the agency’s decision, and to prevent it from making similar decisions in the future.
Sen. Edward Markey:
“We will fight the FCC’s decisions in the courts, and we will fight it in the halls of Congress”
Senators who have signed on to the resolution now include Ron Wyden (D-OR), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). But the resolution may still be a long shot — assuming democrats uniformly sign on to the plan, it would still eventually require the support of at least some republican senators, not to mention approval from the House and President Trump.
Meanwhile, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) has introduced legislation in the House, but supporters of past net neutrality protections have widely criticized the bill as insufficient.
Congress can overrule the FCC vote.
- The FCC vote to destroy the Net Neutrality protections on Dec. 14 should not stand.
- Take steps to Battle for the Net
- Text BATTLE to 384-387 to contact Congress and stop the FCC.
- Write to your elected representatives:
I’m calling on you to work with your colleagues to use the Congressional Review Act to pass a “resolution of disapproval” reversing the FCC’s vote.
The FCC’s Dec. 14 decision willfully ignored the outcry from tens of millions of people, and it abdicated the FCC’s responsibility to protect the Internet from ISP blocking and discrimination. The FCC has injured our economy and free speech in just one action, all without so much as a single public hearing.
We need members of Congress to stand up for the open Internet and for the digital civil rights of their constituents now. Please use the CRA to pass a Resolution of Disapproval to overturn the FCC’s December 14 “Restoring Internet Freedom” vote.