Why Net Neutrality Is A Big F**king Deal (VIDEOS)
UPDATED 11/10/14: On Monday, news was breaking that President Obama announced “full-throated” support for treating the internet as a “public utility,” under Title II of the Telecommunications Act – which is great news for the concept of an “open internet” – saying in a statement;
“The time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do… This is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone — not just one or two companies.”
In light of this major news, we thought we’d re-post this story from last January – which will help you understand what “net neutrality” is all about, and why it is so important to all of us as the FCC firms up its internet rules.
If you’re like most, you’re probably asking yourself “WTF is ‘net neutrality’?”
Simply put, net neutrality is the idea that internet service providers (ISP’s) must provide you unrestricted access to everything on the internet, regardless of where it comes from or who provides it. Seems pretty simple, right? WRONG.
This battle began in 2010, when the Federal Communications Commission adopted rules called the “Open Internet.” Open Internet provides for the following:
1. Transparency. Broadband providers must disclose information regarding their network management practices, performance, and the commercial terms of their broadband services.
2. No blocking. Fixed broadband providers (such as DSL, cable modem, or fixed wireless providers) may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices. Mobile broadband providers may not block lawful websites, or applications that compete with their voice or video telephony services.
3. No unreasonable discrimination. Fixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic over a consumer’s broadband Internet access service. Unreasonable discrimination of network traffic could take the form of particular services or websites appearing slower or degraded in quality.
Ok, so what’s all the latest hubbub? Well, it turns out that – like most greedy corporations do – Verizon Wireless took exception to the rules and filed a lawsuit in 2011, essentially claiming that the FCC did not have the authority to regulate the internet, and that broadband providers had every right to block or favor certain websites over others. At the time, Republicans in congress openly supported the Verizon lawsuit, calling the rules a “blatant power-grab” by the FCC. Campaign contributions, anyone?
Anyway, in January of this year, The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit handed Verizon a victory of sorts. But, not exactly. CNET points out that “since the FCC has classified broadband providers differently than it has classified telecommunications providers, it cannot use statutes that pertain to telecommunications services as a basis for regulation on broadband services.” Essentially, because “broadband providers” are not subject to “common carrier” regulations – the concept that the infrastructure that delivers the internet belongs to the public – the ruling handed down on Tuesday “vacated” those portions of the Open Internet rules.
Which leads us to the very precarious position that we – as consumers – are in today. Because now, of course, the industry lobbyists have had ample time to position themselves to reap the windfall – and more importantly – control what you see and access. Represent Us reports that President Obama’s newly appointed FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is “the former president of the National Cable Television Association, and the former head of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association.”
Pissed off? Join the fight for a FREE AND OPEN INTERNET HERE.
Photo via Computers4Business
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