The FCC ruled on its net neutrality decision. The new regulations bar companies such as AT&T Inc. and Comcast Corp. from blocking or slowing online traffic, or offering faster service in return for payment. The idea is to ensure that the internet remains open to everyone.
The FCC vote seeks to settle more than a decade of debate about whether the Internet should be a highway offered to all users on equal terms, or whether broadband providers can levy fees and restrict access.
Of course, Republicans are against net neutrality. Or, at least the type where companies can’t slow down or charge extra for faster service. House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, said lawmakers would try to stop what he called the FCC’s “misguided scheme.”
The vote also brought wireless service under net neutrality rules as well. That didn’t sit well with Meredith Attwell Baker, president of CTIA-The Wireless Association, a Washington-based trade group with members including AT&T and Verizon Communications Inc., who said the ruling was “disappointing and unnecessary.”
Under this ruling, the agency has taken authority to judge whether Internet service providers offer fair terms for accepting Web traffic from the likes of video streamer Netflix Inc. and data shippers such as Cogent Communications Holdings Inc. and Level 3 Communications Inc.
It also allows the agency to judge mobile deals that exempt services such as music streaming from counting against subscribers’ data caps. The agency can accept complaints and might ban an anti-competitive plan. Venture capitalists had told the FCC that these deals violate the concept that all Web traffic should receive equal treatment.
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said: “The action that we take today is an irrefutable reflection of the principle that no one, whether government or corporate, should control free and open access to the Internet.” Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak was one of the people in the spectator gallery and said that this action is “an indication that the people can sometimes win.” He went on to say “This is a victory for the people, the consumers, the average Joes.”
You may wonder why the Republicans are so against this ruling? Well it is very simple. They only see dollars and cents for their contributors. If internet providers are allowed to decide which sites will be in their infamous “fast lane” and which will be slowed down, the internet providers will essentially be allowed to control what you see or get on the internet.
You will hear the Republicans complain that all of this is “government overreach” and that is why they are against it. They are lying. They want companies to control the highway known as the internet. They want to be able to bully certain providers to say what can be seen and what cannot.
Republican legislatures all across the country are slashing education funding including university funding. They have been attacking education like it is a cancer that is making our citizens too smart. The internet offers open access to sites that help us learn more about today’s world. With an intelligent constituency, Republicans fear their “fear mongering” won’t work anymore. So, they want to put the clamp down on the internet as well as public education.
Since the internet and wireless are both monopolies, it would be easy to bully them into doing just that. This isn’t just about streaming like Netflix, it is about education as well. As a result, they want internet providers and wireless providers to be able to charge extra for internet users to get into their “fast lane” so their streaming will not be hindered.
How long do you think it would be before special interest groups started bullying internet providers to “slow down” or deny access through their services to users who do not comply with their ideals? The AP History curriculum is under attack in several states. What would stop them from bullying or passing a law that denies access to the very parts of the curriculum they don’t like over the internet?
We will see various lawsuits over this ruling. We will see Republicans introduce legislation trying to overturn this ruling. As David Cohen, executive vice president of Comcast, the largest U.S. cable company, said the FCC action portends “inevitable litigation and years of regulatory uncertainty.”
The real problem for Republicans in this ruling is that these rules are designed to preserve the Internet as an open medium. Open mediums are not what the Republicans want. They want control. They are even willing to let internet providers be their arm for control over what’s on the internet.
This fight isn’t over. We still have too many conservative judges , even a conservative Supreme Court, that can overturn these rulings. Only time will tell if they stand or not. If they do, then the people have finally won one over the oligarchs and Republicans.