FCC Blasted For “Shameful” Ruling Against Cities And Fire Department

from ars technica The Federal Communications Commission is in another dispute with the fire department that fought for net neutrality rules after being throttled by Verizon during a wildfire response. The Santa Clara County Central Fire Protection District, along with the cities of Los Angeles and New York, last week asked the FCC to extend a deadline for filing comments on the last remaining piece of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s net neutrality repeal. Pai had to seek another round of public comments on the net neutrality repeal and related deregulation of the broadband industry because federal judges who upheld the […]

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During the Pandemic, the FCC Must Provide Internet for All

from Wired IF ANYONE BELIEVED access to the internet was not essential prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, nobody is saying that today. With ongoing stay-at-home orders in most states, high-speed broadband internet access has become a necessity to learn, work, engage in commerce and culture, keep abreast of news about the virus, and stay connected to neighbors, friends, and family. Yet nearly a third of American households do not have this critical service, either because it is not available to them, or, as is more often the case, they cannot afford it. Lifeline is a government program that seeks to […]

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Internet Freedom Continues To Decline Around The World, A New Report Says

from The Verge Digital authoritarianism is on the rise, according to a new report from a group that monitors internet freedoms. Freedom House, a pro-democracy think tank, said today that governments are seeking more control over users’ data while also using laws nominally intended to address “fake news” to suppress dissent. It marked the eighth consecutive year that Freedom House found a decline in online freedoms around the world. “The clear emergent theme in this report is the growing recognition that the internet, once seen as a liberating technology, is increasingly being used to disrupt democracies as opposed to destabilizing […]

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Calif. Senate Approves Net Neutrality Rules, Sends Bill To Governor

from ars technica The California Senate today voted to approve the toughest state-level net neutrality bill in the US, one day after the California Assembly took the same action. With both legislative houses having approved the bill, California Governor Jerry Brown has until September 30 to sign it into law. The final vote was 27-12, with all 26 Democratic senators and Republican Senator Ling Ling Chang voting in favor. All 12 no votes came from Republican senators. In the Assembly yesterday, six Republicans joined 55 Democrats to pass the bill in a 61-18 vote. More here.

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FCC Plans To Gut Net Neutrality, Allow Internet ‘Fast Lanes’

from Wired THE FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS Commission will publish on Wednesday its plan to reverse Obama-era net neutrality rules that banned internet service providers from blocking or slowing down content, or creating so-called “fast lanes” for companies willing to pay extra to deliver their content more quickly. The new FCC order will throw out almost all of the agency’s 2015 net-neutrality rules, including the prohibitions on blocking and throttling content, senior FCC staff said during a conference call with reporters Tuesday. The order will also ban states from imposing their own net-neutrality rules to replace the federal regulations. The order also […]

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The FCC Just Made It Easier For Companies To Sell Your Information

from TNW The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission is trying to block a privacy rule which would protect your internet data. The FCC ruled last year that internet service providers (ISPs) would be required to adopt “reasonable” security measures to protect their customers’ data by March 2. Now Pai is seeking a stay on that rule. One of the security measures companies will no longer have to abide by is getting consumer consent before sharing sensitive information. According to TechCrunch, the information includes browsing history, children’s information, location, and Social Security numbers. In a statement, a spokesman says Chairman Pai requested the […]

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After A Decade Of Waiting For Verizon, Town Builds Itself Gigabit Fiber For $75 Per Month

from techdirt Like many broadband black holes, Western Massachusetts has spent years asking regional duopolies for broadband. Towns like Leverett, Mass. literally took to hanging signs around town begging Verizon to install even the slowest DSL. Of course Verizon not only refused to install Western Massachusetts, they froze deployment of effectively all FiOS fiber upgrades, leaving a large number of towns and cities (including Boston, Baltimore, Alexandria, Buffalo) without next-gen broadband — or in some cases broadband at all.  But, unlike many areas, Western Massachusetts decided to do something about it. In 2012 Leverett voters approved borrowing $3.6 million — or roughly […]

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The FCC Did NOT Make the Internet a Public Utility

from Medium Today the Federal Communications Commission voted 3–2 to approve of Title II-backed net neutrality regulations. It’s a big and important day for the Internet. As I write this, advocates all across D.C. are celebrating. And they should! Not so long ago, after the D.C. Circuit ruled against the FCC in Verizon v. FCC, many pronounced that net neutrality was dead. Seriously?—?the spirit around the effort and the Internet was pretty moribund. See how many hyperlinks that was? I wasn’t joking. The history of how “net neutrality came back from the dead” and the roles that the public, advocacy groups and companies (small and big) played in that revival will be important?—?and maybe will offer some […]

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FCC Chair: New Internet Service Rules Not Even Close To Utility Regulation

from ars technica Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler today defended the FCC’s new rules for Internet service providers, saying they are “about as far from the old-style monopoly regulation as you can get.” While cable companies and telecommunications providers have threatened lawsuits, claiming the “utility” rules will hurt consumers and impede investment, Wheeler talked about how lenient the regulations are in a public Q&A session at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Led by Wheeler, the FCC last week reclassified fixed and mobile broadband providers in the US as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act, allowing the commission to enforce network neutrality […]

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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 […]

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The New Net-Neutrality Policy, in Three Simple Phrases

from The Atlantic The U.S. Federal Communications Commission just adopted strict net-neutrality rules that will treat the Internet like a public utility. What’s in the new regulations? There are three major principles that Internet-service providers—like Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon—have to follow when sending data from their networks to your computer: More here.

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The Big Lock-In

from Medium What if all of the devices in your life had a common interface, controlled by a single company, that picked what video content you could easily search and access online? What if that single company had its own economic reasons to support some “channels” and hide others? Welcome to the world of Xfinity, Comcast’s brand name for its services. You’ve seen the advertising. Now here’s the big idea: If Comcast has its way, Xfinity will be Americans’ window on the world. Basically, our only window. First, some background. In 1996, Congress passed a law directing the FCC to ensure a competitive […]

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The Future of the Internet Might Hinge on This Bet

from Medium Humans are driven by metaphors. We can’t help it. “Internet access is like electricity,” we say, and that leads to a host of other mental images: standard plugs for a wealth of devices, warm light against a dark frozen landscape, the burdens of life made more bearable. The warring metaphor now is “the Internet is the new TV,” thoroughly managed, channelized, bent on entertainment, ad-driven, interactive only when it suits someone’s business plan. Both of these metaphors are limited and not quite right. That’s the way metaphors work. But we are in fact ants on a wrinkle of […]

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The One Loophole to Rule Them All

from Slate For more than a year, alongside immigration and an oil pipeline, net neutrality has been one of the biggest policy debates in the nation, prompting thousands of articles, late-night comedy skits, many Senate letters, days of mass action, and a video pronouncement from the leader of the free world. Cable and phone companies (like Comcast and Verizon) want the power to charge Web giants (like Netflix and Amazon) for access to fast lanes and preferential treatment on the Internet, which would radically change the level playing field we have today for all inventors, speakers, and organizers. A year […]

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The World Is Watching Our Net Neutrality Debate, So Let’s Get It Right

from Wired Does the United States act in accordance with the same principles that we advocate to others? The answer needs to be yes. When it comes to the debate on network neutrality, the world watches what we do at home. That’s one reason that the President’s commitment to network neutrality is so important: In the struggle to protect a global, open, and free internet, we must also protect it at home. The President’s recent call to enshrine network neutrality principles in domestic regulation echoes our diplomatic efforts to prevent any centralized power—corporate or governmental—from picking winners and losers on […]

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Is Public Broadband a Threat to Taxpayers? Let Towns Decide.

from Gigaom A casual observer might think towns across the country are contemplating Communism, rather than construction projects. Such is the state of the national debate over how to build more high speed internet, which is becoming as indispensable to modern life as hot water or electricity. The crux of the debate is over how small cities, especially those where fast internet is in short supply, can get better broadband networks. The right answer, however, should not be a matter of partisan politics — but in looking at the competence of individual towns, and ensuring that their populations can have […]

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We Need To Be Pragmatic About The Principle Of Net Neutrality

from the guardian The composer and aesthete Lord Berners was a famous eccentric who hated sharing railway compartments with strangers and developed a sure-fire way of ensuring that he travelled alone. He would stand at the door of his chosen compartment, maniacally beckoning people in. This being England, no one ever entered. Nowadays, the same effect may be achieved by telling people that you wish to engage them in a discussion about net neutrality. You get the glassy smile, the sideways glance checking the location of the nearest exit, the sudden remembering of things that have to be done at that very […]

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