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Net Neutrality: What is it and where do things stand?

October 10, 2015

Tags: Net Neutrality, cable companies, Internet rules

What's Net Neutrality all about? I hope the following items make things clear. Let's start with Net neutrality is here. What it means for you ( David Goldman and Jose Pagliery, CNN Money, 6-13-15). "Net neutrality is a set of rules the FCC approved in 2010 to prevent fast lanes on the Internet. The companies that own the pipelines could play favorites. A federal judge on Thursday rejected cable and phone companies' attempts to stop net neutrality in its tracks. That means the FCC's plan for new Internet rules go into effect as planned. What is net neutrality? It's like equal opportunity for Internet speeds and access to websites: no unfair fast or slow lanes, and no blocking of anything that's legal on your phone, computer or tablet."

What Reporters Need to Know About Covering Net Neutrality (Nieman Watchdog, March 16, 2015) "With news audiences moving online, journalists have a vested interest in coverage of this complicated topic."

The open-Internet brigade: Marvin Ammori, Susan Crawford, Tim Wu. Legal scholars, Stanford, Harvard, Columbia universities. (Heather Boushey, Ann O'Leary, Politico, 9-10-15) "Ultimately, the advocacy of Ammori, Wu and Crawford has helped sway telecom officials to see the Internet as a public utility, like water or electricity, not a luxury.What’s at stake when Internet access is restricted, Crawford has said, is American competitiveness: “We’re falling way behind in the pack of developed nations when it comes to high-speed Internet access, capacity and prices.”

Why Everyone Was Wrong About Net Neutrality (Tim Wu, New Yorker, 2-26-15)

Net Neutrality: What Happened? What’s Different Now? (Amy Schatz, Re/Code, 2-26-15). "Net neutrality is the idea that the companies that sell you Internet access, like Comcast*, should keep their mitts off the data that flows into your computer or smartphone and treat all those bits equally. That means no blocking of websites and no slowing down of those services.
" Federal regulators approved new “Open Internet” rules Thursday — their version of net neutrality — that will prohibit blocking or slowing of traffic. They also prohibit broadband providers from selling fast-lane, priority services to content companies like Netflix, which might create a sort of two-tier Internet."
"the reason we’re here today is because a federal appeals court last year shot down the FCC’s last effort to adopt net neutrality rules. Also, a lot of people worry that without strong rules, broadband providers will try to stifle competition and play favorites online.
"Comcast, AT&T, Verizon and other Internet providers say they won’t block competing websites or apps and will abide by nondiscrimination principles. But there are plenty of people who don’t believe them."
You can follow Amy on Twitter: @Amy_Schatz

FCC chairman: Here's how I want to regulate the Internet ( Jose Pagliery, CNN Money) "In an op-ed for Wired on Wednesday, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says he's going to propose regulating high-speed Internet like a public utility. It's a wildly different legal take on the Internet than the way it has been regulated in the past. It means more oversight for the likes of AT&T (T, Tech30), Comcast (CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (TWC) and Verizon (VZ, Tech30).:

Network Neutrality: Where Things Stand (Sandra Fulton, ACLU, 5-14-14) "...the Internet community is rallying to protect the very rules that have allowed it to become the powerful voice that it is. Net neutrality rules—also known as open Internet—guarantee that Internet Service Providers (ISPs), such as Comcast or Verizon, will not improperly discriminate among or block lawful content providers. This is the principle that the Internet has always been governed under, ensuring a level playing field for all voices online."
"Ironically, the president who benefitted so much from online organizing, and promised during his campaign to "take a backseat to no one" in his commitment to net neutrality, appointed an FCC Chair, Tom Wheeler, who reportedly may be considering abandoning meaningful protections for the much weaker tea of "case-by-case" enforcement. For the first time ever, the FCC is proposing rules that would allow ISPs to charge large content providers more for that "fast lane," which will hamper free speech online by reducing the number of voices, and raise barriers for access to information. Massive online protests and an encampment at the FCC have sprung up to fight the new proposal."

Where We Stand on Net Neutrality (National Cable & Telecommunications Association, 8-21-14) "The Internet has succeeded as it has been free to grow, innovate, and change largely free from government oversight....In spite of these facts, some still insist that Title II is the only way to protect consumers from an unfair Internet. They suggest the FCC throw out 15 years of growth and success by reclassifying broadband as Title II common carrier and regulating the Internet as a public utility....Classifying the most technologically advanced communications network in human history as a common carrier is a terrible mistake."

Everything You Wanted to Know About Net Neutrality (Video) (Amy Schatz, Re/Code, 5-15-14) "Net neutrality is the idea that Internet service providers should treat traffic equally without blocking or discriminating against competitors’ websites or services.
"Federal regulators are considering new “Open Internet” rules that would prohibit Internet providers from blocking traffic or applications.
"Some people are worried because Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler’s net neutrality proposal would also allow Internet providers to sell content providers fast lanes to consumers. They worry creating a fast lane/slow lane system violates the spirit of the Internet and would hurt smaller content providers that couldn’t afford to pay."

F.C.C. Approves Net Neutrality Rules, Classifying Broadband Internet Service as a Utility (Rebecca R. Ruiz and Steve Lohr, Technology, NY Times, 2-26-15)

The Push for Net Neutrality Arose From Lack of Choice (Steve Lohr, NY Times, 2-25-15)

F.C.C. Net Neutrality Rules Clear Hurdle as Republicans Concede to Obama (Jonathan Weisman, NY Times, 2-24-15)

BEFORE THE DECISION:
The FCC has proposed new rules that could have change the Internet we know and love by allowing broadband providers to create “fast” and “slow” lanes for Internet traffic. This could put small and independent service providers at a disadvantage. Support net neutrality by asking your congressperson to oppose the FCC’s proposal.

Net Neutrality (Common Craft's explainer video)

John Oliver on net neutrality: Call it 'preventing cable company f***ery'. (Daily Kos, 6-2-14). "The cable companies have figured out the great truth of America: If you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring." "What's being proposed is so egregious, activists and corporations have been forced onto the same side."

• Sign Petition to the FCC: The internet is a public utility (Daily Kos campaign)

Google's Growing Silence on Saving Open Internet Leaves Fight to Startups (Todd Shields, Bloomberg, 7-8-14) Or as Rand Fishkin tweeted: " Google & Facebook, after climbing a ladder based on net neutrality, are pulling that ladder up after themselves."

ALA Files Comments Supporting Net Neutrality (Dianna Dilworth, Media Bistro 7-22-14). American Library Association: “We are extremely concerned that broadband Internet access providers currently have the opportunity and financial incentive to degrade Internet service or discriminate against certain content, services and applications.”

Net Neutrality: What You Need to Know Now (Save the Internet). "On May 15, 2014, the Federal Communications Commission proposed rules that would allow rampant discrimination online....Under these rules, telecom giants like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon would be able to create a two-tiered Internet, with fast lanes for those who can afford it and dirt roads for the rest of us. These companies would have the power to pick winners and losers online and discriminate against online content and applications. And no one would be able to do anything about it. The agency can preserve Net Neutrality only by designating broadband as a telecommunications service under the law. Anything else is an attack on our rights to connect and communicate."

Keep the Internet Free and Open! (Common Cause, holding power accountable). "Fact sheet on net neutrality. Network neutrality is the principle that Internet users should be able to access any web content they choose and use any applications they choose, without restrictions or limitations imposed by their Internet service provider. "

The Coming Tug of War Over the Internet (Christopher Stern, Washington Post, 1-22-06)

Free American broadband! (S. Derek Turner, Salon, 10-18-05). "In France, you can get super-fast DSL, unlimited phone service and 100 TV channels for a mere $38 a month. Why does the same thing cost so much more in the U.S.? "

Hear Us Now! (blog about stopping the Comcast megamerger)

Internet Freeloaders (Adam L. Penenberg, Slate, 1-17-06). Should Google have to pay for the bandwidth it consumes?

Cable companies sponsoring anti-net neutrality campaign for FCC