Net Neutrality Activists Score Landmark Victory In Fight To Govern The Internet

from the guardian

Internet activists scored a landmark victory on Thursday as the top US telecommunications regulator approved a plan to govern broadband internet like a public utility.

Following one of the most intense – and bizarre – lobbying battles in the history of modern Washington politics, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) passed strict new rules that give the body its greatest power over the cable industry since the internet went mainstream.

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler – a former telecom lobbyist turned surprise hero of net neutrality supporters – thanked the 4 million people who submitted comments on the new rules. “Your participation has made this the most open process in FCC history,” he said. “We listened and we learned.”

Wheeler said that while other countries were trying to control the internet, the sweeping new US protections on net neutrality – the concept that all information and services should have equal access online – represented “a red-letter day for internet freedom”. 

“The internet is simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field,” said Wheeler. “Today’s order is more powerful and more expansive than any previously suggested.”

More here.

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7 Responses to Net Neutrality Activists Score Landmark Victory In Fight To Govern The Internet

  1. Andrew Aguilera February 26, 2015 at 10:12 pm #

    In this article, Dominic Rushe discusses the historical victory made earlier today. For many years, there has been a huge debate over net neutrality. Net Neutrality is “the principle that Internet service providers and governments should treat all data on the Internet equally” according to Wikipedia. Basically, nobody can be charged more for who they are as a person. Up until today, nothing was done about it and people would be discriminated and charged different rates for different speeds of internet. With today’s remarkable accomplishment, the government will now have a larger role and power over internet access. The power will be given to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The Republican party opposed the regulation since they always oppose giving the federal government any more power than it already has.

    This will have an enormous impact on the future of the internet and its application. From now on, internet providers can no longer charge extra for faster internet connection. Moreover, they cannot charge different people different rates based on what kind of person they are. In my eyes, I see this as a great for everyone. There is no reason why people should have to pay extra for faster internet speeds, especially when it does not cost much, if anything, for the internet providers. However, I am curious to see how this impacts the economy and internet providers. If it impacts them negatively, I can see them finding a way to make up for the money that they’re losing, which can potentially increase costs, as Republicans have projected. But only time will tell. As of now, I am very happy that the government has made a big step in addressing a problem that is prevalent in our modern world.

  2. Michael Girgis February 27, 2015 at 1:33 pm #


    From my understanding another service that was provided by the telecommunications companies was a service of loading certain pages faster if you paid up. So now Google’s web page should load just as fast as any other web page. Has anyone else noticed this? So its my understanding that Google for example would pay their telecommunications provider to load their web page faster then any other page and they had the authority to do that so long as Google paid up. I think this is interesting because this is something that i always noticed growing up without our own internet hot spot trying to connect to the neighbors Wi-Fi. No matter how bad the connection was Google would always load up the fastest. I’m excited to see that all internet communications will be treated equally. I am also excited to see its effect on these companies.

  3. Deniz Yalcin February 27, 2015 at 8:20 pm #

    I have commented on a similar article in the past. The struggle to actually comprehend a world where we would have to pay for specific access to different websites would be a nightmare. What just recently happened is extremely important to the future of the internet. The world of Verizon and Comcast want another thing to charge people and control you over, just like TV.

    An interesting fact, cable television was once free, no one had to pay for cable. Services like these are overcharged and nearly a monopoly. Of course, cable and internet providers want to make the most money and want to charge others the access to categories of websites. Examples of split categories can be a social media category where one would have to pay to get access to websites to Facebook, Twitter, and instagram, and other similar websites.

    According to the FCC, they believe the internet should be a free service and should not be a required expense. Now, because the internet is supported by the government, companies cannot increase or decrease speed based on services. This is definitely one of the most important issues discussed in congress for a long time and will be regarded to as a historical passing of law.

  4. Caroline Strickland February 27, 2015 at 9:00 pm #

    The banner flying over those that fought for net neutrality should be standing proud just about now. But if anyone tries to take that banner down: assume they’re from Comcast. . . because the fight’s not over. There’s one word that needs to be said: Congress. Although we are sitting with a lame duck president in office, that doesn’t change almost eight years of his dragging his feet on the issue. That doesn’t change the fact that a former lobbyist against net neutrality is still serving as the chairman of the FCC. It really doesn’t change the fact that the public went up against some of the biggest lobbyist in Congress and won. However, if the support for this powerful cause were to disband now, the fight would have all been for naught. The problem is is that the fight is still on, and the public cannot loose steam now. We as an American public have made a huge step. In fact, it’s a historic step. But we certainly don’t want to belittle this journey down into a single step. The goal is still ahead of us, but we can certainly use this huge victory to keep us going. Net neutrality is a cause worth the heartache because it will promote the continued spread of ideas between strangers who really want to talk about a cause that’s important. Sure, it’d be a bummer to lose high-speed Netflix–when we can get it. But that’s really just a talking point that can bring those with low interest on board. Once we get past that, it’s really time to talk about the enterprising, engaging act of sharing, commenting, and liking–connecting, really with those we have never met, can’t see because of distance, or never would have heard of. Truly, we are in the Information Age because that’s all we want all day is more and more information. We listen to the news, we tweet, and we write back to authors, all enriching the cycle of human thought. In reality, that’s what we protected and what we should be back to protect. It is heartening that over 4 million people commented on the process and blew the process within the FCC wide open. . sending a very clear message: we like commenting, and if you don’t want us to comment as quickly, we’ll just comment some more.

  5. Anthony Arneth November 11, 2017 at 3:58 pm #

    Net neutrality is one of the biggest political debates of the year of 2017. In recent news Portugal has just passed a law to treat internet like a utility. Many activists argue that by doing this you are taking away something everyone should have. As a nation having free speech or access to the internet is truly an important thing. Companies would then be able to speed up or slow down whatever they wanted you to see or not see. The FCC has passed a law protecting the users more than ever. Classifying the internet as coverage. Clyburn stated ““We are here to ensure that there is only one internet,” she said. “We want to ensure that those with deep pockets have the same opportunity as those with empty pockets too succeed.””
    What this means for us users is for now we can use the internet the same way we have for the past decade. Internet companies cannot control what we view online or push something for us to see. The internet is an extension of our freedom and speech it is just digital. With an age of technology we need to extend our amendments to the online world. It is like a brand new world out there, or extension of the world we live in. I am all for the idea of keeping the internet open to all and only allow the the companies to provide not monitor.

  6. Isabel Grullon Ramirez November 11, 2017 at 8:02 pm #

    Net neutrality is one of the contended topics of this year. Net neutrality is the idea that would prohibit internet providers from slowing down speeds or enforcing barriers that would prevent someone from accessing a certain site. The FCC’s decision to protect net neutrality is crucial to keep the structure of the internet. The internet was created under the principle of free sharing information. If broadband providers are allowed to tamper with this freedom, the purpose of the internet is lost. As Although companies claim that net neutrality would hurt broadband users by raising costs and reducing investments. However, net neutrality ensures that both large corporations and small businesses are both at the same level, where users can access their sites equally since broadband cannot block or slow down speeds when they access a certain site.

    Under the first amendment, the right to free speech is protected. If the internet is not a free place where everyone has access to information and to share such information, wouldn’t this be a challenge on the belief that everyone has the right to express themselves? These new rules ensure that everyone has equal access to the internet, regardless of who their broadband provider is. The FCC as a government agency has the duty to enforce and regulate what telecommunication companies can do. Under this ruling, the bans on municipal broadband competing with private firms were overturned. This expands the access to the internet in small towns, where companies didn’t invest to expand their business. This is beneficial to the people of those towns, as they have more access to information. In fact, this would even create more business for broadband companies as they will earn more revenue by doing business in these towns.

  7. Joe C. January 26, 2018 at 11:01 pm #

    The 2015 President Obama-era victory of net neutrality was a short-lived victory that in 2 years was repealed and reversed under President Trump’s tutelage pro-business acumen. It was then during the 2015 passage of the law that republicans and internet service providers (ISPs) were in a heated battle to stop the enactment of this law and ultimately failed. The 2017 repeal of net neutrality was GOP favored and simply in the best interest for cable companies/broadband providers to allow internet “fast-lanes” and slowing of other traffic based solely on their self-interest. The very thought and development of the internet was created, developed and maintained under a sense of open, free and equal sharing of the resource; this is the very essence that net neutrality was serving to protect; the 1st Amendment and a “digital” freedom of speech. Net neutrality has even been compared to the Bill of Rights, as the notion that we have only one internet, and those alike – rich or poor, can freely enjoy this resource. The 2017 repeal of the law will further see the Federal Trade Commission regulatory law oversight that includes antitrust laws against ISPs that engage in anti-competitive business practices. These very businesses are being watched very closely under agreements singed in 2011 between Comcast and NBC Universal and another one between the acquisition of Time Warner by Charter in recent years. Additionally, this should be interesting as we may see the “big 3” (Verizon, AT&T and Comcast) take full advantage of this repeal, which allows them to throttle service to their services and away from streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon; a possible future case of anti-competitive business practices among these providers. Furthermore, we will see the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) take a step back and play less of a “big brother” in the oversight of the internet, under the agreement that these ISPs will remain transparent in such conditions as public notification of blocking or throttling of service and the acceptance from businesses for better service in these “fast-lanes”. This poses a big problem small businesses and consumers alike. Small businesses will simply not be able to sustain the monetary increase in purchasing a quality service under these “fast-lanes” and will either be stuck providing their customer sub par quality or trouble altogether reaching them. As for consumer, we have yet to see a major or visible sign of the repeal, but we could see such future implementations of bundled services for social media packages (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) or streaming packages (Amazon, Netflix) and a limited choice on who and where to get it from. Lastly, many state that the truth behind the repeal is not due to a shortage of “bandwidth” or “internet resources”, it is to cause a supermarket pricing power among ISPs. 2018 will be the true test to see the affects of the repeal of net neutrality.

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