Without a "net neutrality" problem. Strangely however, with every passing “no-problem” day, the pro-regulation crowd becomes ever more shrill and ever more insistent that if government doesn’t regulate, it will be “the end of the Internet as we know it”!
The Federal Communications Commission is moving ahead with proposed "Open Internet" rules, which would give federal regulators vast new powers, and ultimately lead to government control of the Internet.
The Internet has become a powerful communications and economic force because it has been free from government interference. To make sure the power and promise of the Internet continues, we need to keep it free of government interference.
Randolph J. May
December 22, 2014
In a coauthored essay in Re/code titled “Protecting the Internet from Government Control,” Reps. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) argue that the United States must not hand over Internet governance to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), controlled by 193 nations, or a similar international organization.
In no uncertain terms, the essay’s authors, a foursome of committee chairs and ranking members, assert: “Handing over the reins of Internet governance to a body like the ITU would imperil the Internet at a time when its dynamism and innovation are benefitting more people around the globe than ever before.” They warn that the current multi-stakeholder model for Internet governance must prevail if more countries around the world are to realize the transformative benefits of Internet connectivity. Read More…
Fred Upton, Henry A. Waxman, Ed Royce and Eliot Engel
December 18, 2014
Internet governance is at an inflection point and debate about the fundamental structure of the Internet is ramping up. This debate, now being had in the United Nations, Internet Governance Forum, ICANN and other organizations, will affect global business models relying on networked technologies and freedom of expression and privacy. The multi-stakeholder systems of Internet governance — which includes the private sector, civil society, governments, research institutions and non-government organizations in decision making — has made the Internet a transformative technology.
The United States’ position has been clear on this question: The multi-stakeholder system must continue. Read More…
Berin Szoka and Geoffrey Manne
Yesterday, the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau issued a new Wireless Competition Reportand a Declaratory Ruling that effectively amends the FCC’s 2011 Data Roaming Order. Despite requests from two Commissioners, neither was put up for a full Commission vote.
“This is the FCC’s equivalent of Harry Reid’s ‘Nuclear Option’ combined with President Obama’s penchant for unilateral ‘Executive Action,’” said Berin Szoka, President of TechFreedom. “At best, Wheeler has shattered the long-standing convention that any Commissioner can insist on a vote about a proposed Bureau action. When Harry Reid overrode centuries of Senate procedure in 2010 to end filibusters on everything but nominations, at least he could say that he was only forcing a vote on the issue. Tom Wheeler isn’t allowing any vote at all. This is hardly surprising from a Chairman who, in a fit of candid grandiosity,repeatedly told web companies in a recent meeting, ‘Iam an independent agency.’” Read More…
Opposition to net neutrality dominated the second round of the Federal Communications Commission’s comment period, according to an analysis from the Sunlight Foundation, a government transparency nonprofit.
Those comments — making up about 60 percent of submissions — came nearly exclusively from form letters originating from a group calling itself American Commitment.
That is a reversal from the first batch of comments, when the vast majority of comments were in support of net neutrality and only a sliver expressed opposition to regulations to ensure all Internet traffic is treated equally. Read More…
By Mario Trujillo and Julian Hattem
THE LEDE: The Federal Communications Commission is standing behind its count that 3.9 million public comments were submitted regarding proposed rules on net neutrality.
The Sunlight Foundation took issue with the number in a blog post Tuesday, in one of the first comprehensive analyses of the final round of comments, which ended in September.
“We spent enough time with these files that we’re reasonably sure that the FCC’s comment counts are incorrect and that our analysis is reasonably representative of what’s there,” the open government group wrote. Read More…
The FCC has dumped a big stack of issues on telecom wonks at the end of the year: a mobile data roaming declaratory ruling for T-Mobile, a location accuracy order for 911, roadblocks to the phase-out of the old telephone network, a new legal status for Internet video streamers, and the big kahuna, the pending net neutrality decision, which is unlikely to strike the right balance between innovation and consumer protection.
It now appears that the FCC is in a race with Congress on net neutrality policy. We already know that any attempt by the FCC to cram Internet access services into the Title II straightjacket designed for telephone service will be challenged in court; no less an authority than Chairman Wheeler has told us so. It’s also become clear that Congress is already developing a pre-emptive strike of its own to prev Read More…
In directing the Wireless bureau to make two substantial, Commission-level decisions today, without the full Commission vote that was requested by Commissioners Pai and O’Rielly, (concerning the release of the annual wireless competition report and regulating cellular data roaming rates), the FCC Chairman unnecessarily undermined the legitimacy of the FCC at a critical time the FCC needs all the actual and perceived legitimacy it can get.
The FCC’s legitimacy comes from the authority of law written by a duly-elected Congress under the U.S. Constitution, and from the official votes from duly-appointed FCC commissioners, who in turn abide by: the powers vested in the Commission by the Communications Act; due process; and the Administrative Procedures Act.
Process matters. Read More…
The big argument in the tech policy world right now is focused on comments submitted earlier this year to the Federal Communications Commission. As Nancy Scola notes, President Obama recently asked the FCC to “answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.”
But it turns out that many of those comments — perhaps even a majority — were actually opposed to stronger network neutrality rules. A Sunlight Foundation analysis on the topic has generatedangry responses from left-leaning groups who say that their own submissions were under-counted. It looks like a big part of the problem is that the FCC’s system for submitting comments is so old and rickety that some submitted comments didn’t make it into the data set the agency released.
THE AGENCY COMMENT PROCESS WAS NEVER SUPPOSED TO BE A POPULARITY CONTEST Read More…
Transcription – Free Press’ Craig Aaron on bullhorn: “We’ve brought in a giant magnifying glass. ‘Cuz we are going to symbolize how closely we’re going to be watching these rules and this decision. And how carefully we’re going to be scrutinizing if this is real Title II. Not fake Title II. No loopholes. No poison pills. We will only settle for real Net Neutrality.“
Demonstrator in background holding sign: “Title II is common carrier classification?“
Voice off-camera: “You got it.”
Aaron: “That is. That’s right. Com Read More…
For anyone born after 1985, the idea of connecting with a relative on FaceTime, Skyping a friend traveling abroad, or discussing a Halo mission with friends over a headset in real time is second nature.
But it’s equally true that these services might never have come to pass without significant efforts over a decade ago by many in the Internet community to keep government regulators at bay as they actively considered how to regulate these technologies.
Back then, we argued that the government could play a key role by exercising restraint and letting innovators innovate. In particular, a large chorus of innovators (as well as President Clinton and a bipartisan Congressional leadership) argued then that the government should not regulate the Internet as a public utility. But in a striking display of amnesia, this is exactly what President Obama is now calling for as the best way to preserve Internet openness. Read More…
No one loves their public utilities. They’re slow, unresponsive to change, and only just good enough for government work, which isn’t saying much.
If you’d talk to progressives working in the Internet space, though, you’d hear a different story. They think that utilities, and the 19th Century regulation used to control them, are the greatest things since sliced bread. You see, they want to make private U.S. broadband providers public utilities, and radical groups like Free Press, Public Knowledge and MoveOn.org have pulled out all of the stops to get the Federal Communications Commission to do so.
Why? Read More…
by Free State Foundation
On the issue of ) AT&T and Direct TV merger
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet
GN Docket No. 14-28
Free-Market Advocates Opposed to Internet Regulation
For 10 years officials at the Federal Communications Commission have told Americans that the Internet will “break” unless the agency steps in to keep it “free and open.” All the while, the Internet’s privately driven development has been vibrant, relentless and universal. Nevertheless, at points during this same period the Commission twice sought to encumber the Internet with restrictive common carrier-like, Net Neutrality regulations. In response to each of these actions, the DC Circuit twice struck down the agency’s overreach. In the latest DC Circuit ruling – Verizon v. FCC – the Court struck down the main thrust of the Commission’s arguments, but found that the Commission had some authority under Section 706 of the Communications Act. The Commission has apparently undertaken the present Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to once again establish a regulatory regime in the absence of a market failure or a clear Congressional grant of authority.
The Internet is “free and open,” making the vast “network of networks” an integral engine for societal growth, participatory democracy and global commerce. Its healthy development came primarily through the lack of government regulation, not because of it. Although the Court seems to have offered the FCC a very narrow pathway to impose some form of Net Neutrality regulation on the Internet, nothing demands that the FCC go forward with its present plans.
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of Framework for Broadband Internet Service
GN Docket No. 10-127
FCC Docket No. 10-114
of the Undersigned Members of the
INTERNET FREEDOM COALITION
The Commission is being asked by Free Press and other organizations to pursue a radical course of action – reclassifying information services as telecommunications services in order to regulate the Internet for the first time. We write to urge the Commission to keep the Internet free of new government regulation and taxation and to refrain from rushing into such a potentially disastrous course of action.
Analysts are only beginning to grasp the extent of the disruptive and destructive consequences of regulating the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act, and the Commission is in no position to predict the outcome, much less assure Americans it will be positive. Americans have heard political leaders admit that we will not know the full extent or nature of massive health care and financial services regulations until after the underlying legislation has been passed. Now, Americans are facing the imposition of an even lesser-understood regulatory regime over the Internet without the benefit of any legislative process whatsoever.
Federal Communications Commission
Washington, D.C. 20554
In the Matter of
Preserving the Open Internet GN Docket No. 09-191
Broadband Industry Practices WC Docket No. 07-52
Supplemental Reply Comments of the Internet Freedom Coalition
Just two days prior to the Commission’s deadline for reply comments regarding the above Notice of Proposed Rulemakings, the U.S. Court of Appeals ruled in Comcast v. FCC that the Commission has no authority to enact Net Neutrality rules. The deadline for comments was extended, particularly to facilitate discussion of other methods of promulgating Net Neutrality regulations.
Beginning with comments on the National Broadband Plan filed by Public Knowledge in January, a small number of organizations have since proposed classifying the Internet as a Title II common carrier service as a way of asserting the Commission’s authority to enact Net Neutrality regulations. The Internet Freedom Coalition respectfully submits these reply comments in strong opposition to any effort to reclassify the Internet as a Title II service.