Net Neutrality Was Never Enough

In addition to being a public good that ought to be regulated, the internet is also an amplifier of panic, malice, and intemperance. Like it or not, those vices helped get the nation into the political moil it currently faces, from internet policy to immigration to taxation to health care—as well as to the validity of elections themselves.

 .. Under the new rules, dubbed “Restoring Internet Freedom” by the FCC, ISPs would have to disclose any steps they take to limit or sell special access.
.. The FCC voted in favor of repeal despite widespread support of net neutrality among the American public
.. Even the FCC hearing itself was disrupted by the internet’s feral anxiety about itself.
.. progressive advocacy for net neutrality can’t credibly claim to be acting on behalf of consumers and small businesses when venture-backed technology start-ups are the main beneficiary.
.. but it’s not clear that the online-video market hasn’t been taken over by incumbents anyway, like search and social networking have.
.. Pai insists, telco investment in broadband infrastructure has declined
.. better solutions to broadband competition exist. One is local-loop unbundling, a policy that requires telcos to share last-mile connections with competitors. It’s one of the reasons that broadband is so much cheaper in Europe than it is in the United States.

Sorry…What Is Net Neutrality Again? A Handy Q&A

Websites that produce a lot of video, like Netflix and YouTube, make up a huge percentage of internet traffic, and they make a lot of money off advertising and subscriptions. Internet providers have been frustrated by that—they have to invest billions of dollars to make fatter pipes to carry all that data but have a more difficult time monetizing the increasing web traffic.

.. New FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, a Republican appointed by Donald Trump, believes net neutrality and the utility classification stifle innovation and investment. He has decided to throw out the rules altogether. His proposal will be voted on by FCC commissioners on Dec. 14, and it will likely pass along party lines.

.. Broadband companies in theory could start to charge for different packages of websites, much as they do for cable tv packages. But none have announced any such plans. For the most part, they have been pushing faster broadband connections (and higher prices) as internet usage, particularly video streaming, surges. Chairman Pai said he believes prices could fall because internet companies could get money from websites rather than consumers.

.. The FCC will require internet providers to disclose any websites they throttle, block or have paid prioritization deals with. The FCC said the Federal Trade Commission will watch out for unfair business practices or anticompetitive behavior.

FCC Votes to Begin Net Neutrality Repeal

During the Chairman’s speech announcing his proposal to end net neutrality, he referenced Robert McChesney, the founder of Free Press, and his group’s wish for the government to monopolize the internet. Pai explained that McChesney openly bragged about taking over the internet. He said, “At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But, the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.”

Robert McChesney even said, “In the end, there is no real answer but to remove brick by brick the capitalist system itself, rebuilding the entire society on socialist principles.”

.. Pai explained that many liberal organizations, such as Free Press, and government officials hold disdain for free speech. Chairman Pai pointed out:

It’s hard to predict, although the very same people that want the government to regulate the internet and they are fundamentally hostile to free speech in a variety of different ways.  They want unpopular views to be censored online; they don’t stand up to the bullies on college campuses who even violently of late resist against people, including Berkeley which is ironic that it was supposedly the birth of the free speech movement. There are some members of government who want to regulate online platforms, I mentioned in the speech that some of the Federal Election Commission members, for instance, want to restrict political speech and regulate online platforms like the Drudge Report. It seems the worst thing we want is to restrict that core value of the First Amendment to discuss political issues and if anything, else that’s exactly what the Founders had in mind when they enshrined the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights. They want people to express themselves in terms of political opinions.

Net neutrality protesters, in advance of Thursday’s FCC meeting, held signs arguing that they should ban conservative publications such as Breitbart, Infowars, and the Drudge Report.

Donald Trump’s Multi-Pronged Attack on the Internet

It’s about to get worse: President Trump’s F.C.C., under the leadership of its fiercely deregulatory chairman, Ajit Pai, wants to let these companies become even more powerful by letting them do whatever they want and allowing them to merge with one another.

.. pushed Congress to erase rules that would have constrained these companies from using and selling our sensitive online information.

And he is getting ready to wipe out the classification of high-speed data services as a utility — even though, without this legal label, the F.C.C.’s authority to require these five companies to treat their customers fairly will be fatally undermined.

Mr. Pai is responsible for a sector that accounts for a sixth of the American economy. But even that is an understatement: Everything we do, from manufacturing to governance, requires reliable, inexpensive, world-class data transmission.

.. Perhaps the most immediate concern is the commission’s so-called net neutrality rule .. Mr. Pai has put dismantling this structure at the top of his agenda.

.. It’s not just that the existing giants want free rein over their customers. They also want even greater scale and even greater involvement in content as well as distribution

  • .. Comcast bought NBCU
  • .. AT&T, which already swallowed up DirecTV, wants to buy HBO’s and CNN’s programming through an $85 billion merger with Time Warner.
  • .. Verizon already bought AOL, is about to absorb Yahoo

.. Other countries — South Korea, Sweden, even China — have made the widespread adoption of universal, inexpensive, high-speed data transmission a priority.

.. understand that markets, if left to their own devices, won’t deliver this benefit to all citizens.