FCC & Net Neutrality: Net Censorship Chinese Style

Now that the split vote on the FCC commission has decided to accept their secret plan to turn the internet into a public utility, prepare for all the same rubber stamp decisions that your state run Public Service Commission’s operate in the utility sector. As anyone who ever interacted with PSC type regulators can attest, the corporatist legal teams that shepherd their clients’ monopolist proposals, almost invariably get their way. So much for a crony system, that seldom protects the interests of the rate payer.

When it comes to government regulation of the internet, the stake dramatically escalates far beyond simply the cost of service. The essay, When Net Neutrality Becomes Programmed Censorship argues the case that inevitably the web will eventually be assimilated into a Chinese styled content restrictive enforcement system.

The video NET NEUTRALITY: THIS IS WHAT CHINESE STYLE NET CENSORSHIP LOOKS LIKE complements the fate in store for surfers who tackle taboo waves going in directions that conflict with the mega corporatism and globalist governmental technocrats. For the business community who poopoos concern about free speech, gate keeping and suppression of political dissent, the Zacks article FCC Adopts Net Neutrality with Title II, Hard Time for ISPs makes several valid points against this federal takeover. “The major argument, however, stands that the ISPs have to expend several billion dollars to install and upgrade a high-speed mobile/fixed broadband network. Disallowing discriminatory pricing policy will significantly reduce their revenues and margins, which will in turn result in lower investments in the high-speed broadband sector. Consequently, broadband equipment service providers will suffer (due to lesser investment by ISPs) and lots of jobs will be eliminated from this sector. Telecom behemoths Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ – Analyst Report) and AT&T Inc. (T – Analyst Report) have decided to challenge the new regulation in court. In Jan 2014, Verizon won a federal court case against the FCC’s previous set of net neutrality rules. Major cable multi-service operators, namely Comcast Corp. (CMCSA – Analyst Report), Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC – Analyst Report) and Charter Communications Inc. (CHTR – Analyst Report) also strongly opposed the FCC’s decision and may file legal suits. This group made clear that though they have no objection to the open Internet concept, enforcement of stricter regulations by the government is not acceptable.” For the millions of addicted internet users who confine their online habits to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Twitter, the promise of higher speed connection is so attractive that sacrificing their independence and free speech rights becomes immaterial to their narrow minds. Look; any fundamental imposition of government regulation on the free flow of information, prohibits the very existence of the miracle that connects the world instantaneously that took off some twenty years ago. With the introduction of MS Windows 95, the PC community, which included most business computers at the time, experienced a true productivity revolution. Reflecting on the strides achieved from worldwide connectability, the essential functions of the internet is not presently broken. So what is the basic reason to accept Federal management of the most defused and individual liberating tool that has ever been invented? The answer according to Zacks is: “Telecommunications is a necessary utility.” Well is the internet really a utility or is it a DAPRA project that Al Gore invented? Proponents of more government regulation want the people to accept that the public will benefit under FCC altruistic guidance, which will be superior to the commutative collection of billions of content contributors. Content is king and the mere threat of consenting to a government filter on political speech is the true risk that is being imposed upon internet users, who overwhelming oppose censorship. The Electronic Freedom Foundation urges that “Internet blacklist legislation—known as PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House—invites Internet security risks, threatens online speech, and hampers Internet innovation”, should be opposed. Note that such enactments are proposed as actual laws, while the FCC decision to inflict utility status upon the interconnection system is both arbitrary and capricious in the legal jargon of future court litigation, which is sure to come. Utility designation is not just the preverbal slippery slope; it is the predictable introduction of specious authority to mirror the Chinese model for future command and control over the internet….

By Sartre – Breaking All The Rules –

Net Neutrality = 16.1% Internet Tax

Late last year, President Obama called on the Federal Communications Commission to enact far-reaching regulations that would grant the federal government unprecedented control over the internet. The concept of “net neutrality” is based on Internet Service Providers (ISPs) treating all internet traffic “equally.” However, Obama has advocated for far more than is needed to achieve this concept by calling on the FCC to issue rules that reclassify broadband as a public utility under Title II of the Communications Act.

Reclassifying broadband as a utility not only threatens the internet as we know it, but will kill jobs, stifle investment and increase costs for American consumers. Moreover, the move could open the door to other forms of heavy-handed internet regulations and taxes. Given these serious economic implications, the FCC should put a hold on its late February vote on these rules and allow Congress to come up with a legislative solution.

Over the years the internet has grown rapidly largely due to the hands-off regulatory approach the government has taken. Yet instead of allowing the internet to remain in an atmosphere that has encouraged widespread growth, President Obama and FCC Chairman Tom Wheelers want to regulate the internet like telegraphs and telephones from the 1930’s. Not only are such archaic regulations inappropriate for our digital era, they will increase broadband costs for hardworking Americans.

By reclassifying broadband as a utility, the Obama administration will levy taxes on all broadband consumers and smartphone users via a Universal Service Fund fee. USF fees are already collected from traditional and cellular phones. Adding broadband to the same Title II category would slap consumers with a 16.1 percent tax increase on their internet bills–an estimated $24 billion for Uncle Sam. This adds up to almost $100 a year in additional costs for wireline broadband consumers and around $137 per smartphone for wireless customers –a deep financial burn that will certainly be felt by American families with more than one smartphone on their plan.

While reclassification undoubtedly spells bad news for consumers, the implications for industry workers could be even more dire. Title II reclassification would stifle investment –an $11.8 billion decrease –and directly impact jobs. According to an American Action Forum study, the drop in investment could kill as many as 174,000 broadband related jobs by 2019.

By Kuper Jones – The Hill –

FCC Vote: Regulate Internet as Public Utility

The US Federal Communications Commission voted on Thursday to regulate the Internet as a public utility. Proponents applaud the move, arguing that it will create a more open web, while opponents say the decision could result in over regulation.

Passing with a vote of 3-2, the FCC has approved net neutrality. The plan will prohibit service providers from prioritizing certain sites in exchange for payments, blocking content access, and from purposefully adjusting Internet speed.

Internet providers, for instance, would not be allowed to provide preferential treatment to websites which pay a fee. Under net neutrality, subscribers would have the same degree of access to a site like Amazon as it would to a smaller, mom-and-pop retailer. The idea is that all web traffic should be treated equal.

“If we’re going to open and free Internet, there has to be some counterweight to the power of the big Internet service providers,” former FCC chairman Michael Copps told Sputnik. “You can’t have both monopoly power and no regulation – that’s just an invitation to total monopoly and total undermining of the public interest so that this most powerful technology in all of history, the internet, becomes not the province of all of us for the common good, but it becomes the playground of the favored few.”

According to former US Federal Communications Commission chairman Michael Copps, net neutrality rules set to be approved by the FCC on Thursday morning protect the open Internet by taming the power of big telecommunications companies….

The vote went through despite requests for delay until the 332-page proposal could be made public and reviewed by the American people. A poll conducted by Hart Research Associates found that 79% of Americans preferred to know the precise wording of the poll before the FCC voted.

Two FCC commissioners, Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly, had requested such a delay.

“President Obama’s plan to regulate the Internet is an unlawful power grab, Pai said in a statement earlier this month. The plan explicitly opens the door to billions of dollars in new taxes…The plan contains a host of new regulations that will reduce investment in broadband networks. That means slower Internet speeds.”

FCC Chairman Wheeler had previously proposed a kind of middle ground legislation, which would have allowed limited pay-for-priority deals. This proposal was met with a wave of outrage from net neutrality advocates. Over 4 million people wrote or called in to the FCC, arguing against any kind of preferential web “fast lanes.”

President Obama also….

From Sputnik News –

NYC Libraries Offer Internet Lending Program

The New York Public Library is launching the nation’s largest Internet lending program, handing out 10,000 free high-speed hot spots to some of the city’s poorest residents.

The program which offers the devices for up to a year, about a $1,000 value, seeks to bridge a digital divide in the nation’s largest city, where studies have found nearly 3 million of the 8 million people lack broadband access.

The program is a partnership between tech companies and the city:

Google’s $1 million donation, along with a $500,000 grant from the Knight News Challenge, an initiative of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Open Society Foundations, and Robin Hood Foundation, will allow the program to expand this fall to all three library systems, including Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library. The goal is to offer about 10,000 families Wi-Fi devices powered by Sprint, helping to close the digital divide in New York City.

“Whether you’re a parent looking for a job, a child working on a school project, or a family looking for information on services, broadband access is no longer a luxury – it’s a necessity.” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I commend both New York City Libraries and Google for their commitment to increasing accessibility to technology through the innovative Library Hotspot program, and I am thrilled to see thousands of New York City families get access to the internet.”

By Jen Hayden – Daily Kos –