Yesterday the FCC voted on new regulations to help maintain the internet of today the way it should be, free. Free as in freedom, not free as in price. While they’ve made progress, by passing some very important regulation, there’s still work to be done. Not just with physical connection based services but with wireless internet as well. The ISPs responsibility to their paying customers is to provide a fast and reliable connection from the internet to our homes, their responsibility and their authority ends there, they should not be involved with the type of data or quantity of data flowing through their network as long as it fits within the bandwidth parameters of the connection.
Unfortunately the regulations aren’t enough, yet, but they aren’t completely powerless as claimed by some sensationalized articles. I believe what Al Franken sent out in a recent Email sums up the situation pretty well.
Subject: Not good enough
If you saw my op-ed in the Huffington Post yesterday, you know how concerned I was about today’s FCC meeting on net neutrality (and, by the way, would you mind sharing it on Twitter and Facebook?).
Chairman Genachowski’s draft Order was worse than nothing–and we needed to make sure the FCC didn’t approve it today.
Well, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that, thanks to Commissioners Copps and Clyburn–not to mention a nationwide network of net neutrality activists like you–the proposal approved today is better than the original. For instance, the FCC has now stated that it does not condone discriminatory behavior by wireless companies like Verizon and AT&T–an important piece that was missing from the first draft. We made a difference.
The bad news is that, while it’s no longer worse than nothing, the Order approved today is not nearly strong enough to protect consumers or preserve the free and open Internet. And with so much at stake, I cannot support it.
I’m still very concerned that it includes almost nothing to protect net neutrality for mobile broadband service–often the only choice for broadband if you live in rural or otherwise underserved areas. And I’m particularly disappointed that the FCC isn’t specifically banning paid prioritization–the creation of an Internet “fast lane” for corporations that can afford to pay for it.
But here’s the important thing to remember: This fight’s not over. The FCC must vigorously enforce these new regulations–and it must follow through on addressing wireless discrimination going forward.
So what now? First, we need to work together to make sure the FCC keeps the promises it made today–just as our movement was instrumental in improving these regulations from the first draft, we’ll be critical in ensuring that the regulations are enforced vigorously.
And I’m going to keep working with net neutrality advocates to see if there are legislative or administrative steps that can be taken to strengthen these protections.
But, for today, know that the work we’re doing to save the Internet is making a difference. Today, the FCC took a small step forward–too small by my estimation, but forward nonetheless.
Thanks for your support,
Let’s hope that, in time, the FCC will see the holes in their regulations and patch them. Only then will the internet be guaranteed a bright future, operating as it has been since it’s inception.
- Divided FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules (npr.org)
- FCC Passes Net Neutrality Rules, Many Object (searchenginewatch.com)
- US regulators approve ‘net neutrality’ rules (thehimalayantimes.com)