If You Support Internet Media, Keep Pressure on FCC over Net Neutrality

November 29, 2017

John Oliver has set up a link where you can comment directly on FCC’s well hidden comment page, with the brilliant URL –

New York Times mentions Oliver’s efforts as particularly effective in boosting comments on this critical issue.

New York Times:

In the week since the Federal Communications Commission released a plan to scrap existing rules for internet delivery, more than 200,000 phone calls, organized through online campaigns, have been placed to Congress in protest. An additional 500,000 comments have been left on the agency’s website. On social media sites like Twitter and Reddit, the issue has been a leading topic of discussion.

At the center of the debate is whether telecom companies like AT&T and Verizon should be able to charge internet sites for delivering their data to consumers’ homes. In 2015, the F.C.C. voted to prohibit those charges, in a policy often called net neutrality.

But Mr. Pai, a Republican nominated for the chairmanship by President Trump, said the regulations were heavy-handed and prevented telecom companies from pursuing new business models. His proposal, by stripping away the existing rules, would allow telecom companies to charge websites to deliver their data at higher speeds.

In a speech on Tuesday, Mr. Pai addressed some of the concerns that have been voiced since he released his proposal, pointing specifically to comments by celebrities like Cher and Kumail Nanjiani of “Silicon Valley.” He said their tweets warning that his rules would lead to authoritarianism and a handout to big cable companies were “utterly absurd.”

“I’d like to cut through hysteria and hot air and speak in plain terms about the plan,” Mr. Pai said, adding that the plan would bring back the regulation-free policy that helped the internet thrive. He said big tech companies might be a bigger threat to online speech than telecom companies.

The proposal is expected to be approved at a meeting of the five F.C.C. commissioners on Dec. 14. The two other Republican commissioners have already expressed their support for Mr. Pai.

The 2015 rules also elicited strong interest. The F.C.C. site was overwhelmed with comments after a monologue from the late-night host John Oliver went viral online. Some people who wanted the stronger rules blocked the driveway of the chairman at the time, Tom Wheeler, to try to persuade him to change the agency’s plan.

Big web companies like Google and Netflix played activist roles as well, supporting the stronger rules. They argued that telecom companies should not be able to split sites into fast lanes and slow lanes, because that would allow them to become a sort of gatekeeper for information and entertainment. In addition, they say, it would hurt start-ups without the money to pay for the faster lanes.

But the intensity has increased even more since Mr. Pai released the details of the proposal — perhaps in part because few people expected him to try to strip all of the existing rules.

“We never expected this,” wrote Craig Moffett, an analyst at the research firm MoffettNathanson.

Lawmakers, celebrities, founders of start-ups and consumers have continued to hash out the debate into this week.

Conservative groups like FreedomWorks and the Competitive Enterprise Institute praised the rollback. The radio host Rush Limbaugh defended Mr. Pai’s plan on Monday in an online post. He dismissed concerns by supporters of the rules, whom he described as liberal “millennials and tech bloggers.”

“What the tech bloggers and the left don’t like is that there are options and that there is a freedom in the marketplace and that people can choose superior service if they’re willing to pay for it,” Mr. Limbaugh said. “And if somebody’s willing to pay for superior service, the providers had better provide it.”

Public interest groups like Free Press and organizations like Mozilla, the nonprofit behind the popular Firefox browser, said they were prepared to file suit against the plan as soon as the vote on Dec. 14.

“The action hit a nerve because the internet is central to the vast majority of people’s daily lives, and so people were very eager to understand what was happening over the weekend,” said Denelle Dixon, chief legal officer for Mozilla.

4 Responses to “If You Support Internet Media, Keep Pressure on FCC over Net Neutrality”

  1. Jerry Falwel Says:

    At last something we can all support. This proposal will gut the free flow of information and commerce on the internet. What we need to do is divorce the content providers from the internet which is what I understand the French have done in France. There is huge problems with AT&T for example providing both the internet and the contents and that is just one example.

    • webej Says:

      This isn’t just about freedom and an attempt at profits by carriers. Companies like NetFlix piggy back on the carriers without contributing. Bandwidth hogs force providers to invest in more capacity, and to pass the charges onto their whole user base, forcing all subscribers to subsidize those who use 20× as much bandwidth, and enabling companies like NetFlix that have managed to externalize their costs to others under the banner of freedom of access.

  2. Glenn Martin Says:

    It would be nice to believe that by charging higher prices on the big companies, the ISP’s would then expand their capacity but it’s far more profitable to use the same capacity and just charge more for decent throughput.

  3. indy222 Says:

    brilliant URL indeed…. but it doesn’t go through. More skullduggery??

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