If you read my article about Tom Wheeler last year, you know that I disapprove of his appointment to the chairmanship of the FCC. Why? He’s a long-time lobbyist for both the cellular phone and cable TV industries. The fox is now guarding the hen house.
On Thursday, Chairman Wheeler published Setting the Record Straight on the FCC’s Open Internet Rules. His article proposes
That ISPs may not act in a commercially unreasonable manner to harm the Internet, including favoring the traffic from an affiliated entity.
Translation: ISPs may sell preferential access to the highest bidder.
This is exactly what Mr. Wheeler’s former employers want him to propose, and it will stifle innovation and creativity that depend upon a level Internet playing field.
In January, the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals told the FCC what it must do to ensure net neutrality: it must re-classify broadband service as a public utility. (Verge article: The wrong words: how the FCC lost net neutrality and could kill the internet)
Barbara van Schewick, writing in Stanford Law School’s blog, published a thoughtful discussion: The FCC changed course on network neutrality. Here is why you should care. She proposes:
The FCC can reclassify Internet service as a telecommunications service and adopt network neutrality rules under Title II of the Telecommunications Act – rules that are unencumbered by the restrictions imposed by Section 706. To ensure that reclassification does not result in onerous regulation, the FCC should immediately forbear from applying those Title II provisions that are not necessary to protect consumers.
Dan Gillmor, writing in The Guardian, summarizes Mr. Wheeler’s proposal in The FCC is about to axe-murder net neutrality. Don’t get mad – get even:
The sky hasn’t fallen with today’s FCC announcements. Let’s not panic. But if we don’t start getting serious about this, as a public, we will lose the most important medium in human history. That would be worse than tragic.
The Verge has prepared an excellent 90-second video that summarizes Mr. Wheeler’s net partiality. Watch it.
Tell the FCC what you think about the importance of a level Internet playing field. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695