Friday, December 03, 2010

FCC is Poised to Add Internet as Regulated Industry

And this is the other side of the question of FCC rules governing internet access and data flow. I see the points made in this article very well and in many ways agree with them. Where I part company is believing that companies and service providers would do any better at regulating or protecting my interests. That is just what makes this question so hard to handle and come to any kind of resolution that will please either side. But I know how the cable industry has watched my interests so far and I've watched companies like Comcast buy interest in movies and other content for distribution while blocking or disrupting services like Netflix and Hulu. And I haven't seen customer dissatisfaction reign in that mess one bit as the cable companies run rough shod over their customers with little or no recourse as they are largely unregulated. I still have most of the channels I'm made to purchase one's I have no interest in at all but pay for them I will or I'll go without. So that's not a good way to go either and I've got less input with them than with the FCC. That means its Hell if you do and Hell if you don't allow someone besides the corporate suites to decide the fate of the internet. The important thing is that we all stay vigilant and be sure to make our opinion and input known so that both sides realize that we don't intend to surrender the internet to control that removes freedom from the net. But I know that either way is fraught with peril and it will take constant work by all of us to protect the freedoms of the internet just as it does our freedoms every place else they are found. That will be true no matter if it's the FCC or the companies that decide the internet's fate. This vote no matter which way it goes provides no protection for our freedoms only our own demands to whatever group or agency that sets the policies for the internet will do that. It is we the users that will determine the fate of freedom on the net and this vote will make little difference in anything but which foe we face in the battle.

Amplify’d from
The Washington Times Online Edition

EDITORIAL: Wave goodbye to Internet freedom

FCC crosses the Rubicon into online regulation



The Washington Times

7:02 p.m.,
Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is poised to add the Internet to its portfolio of regulated industries. The agency's chairman, Julius Genachowski, announced Wednesday that he circulated draft rules he says will "preserve the freedom and openness of the Internet." No statement could better reflect the gulf between the rhetoric and the reality of Obama administration policies.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski outlined a plan to expand the federal government's power over the Internet.

With a straight face, Mr. Genachowski suggested that government red tape will increase the "freedom" of online services that have flourished because bureaucratic busybodies have been blocked from tinkering with the Web. Ordinarily, it would be appropriate at this point to supply an example from the proposed regulations illustrating the problem. Mr. Genachowski's draft document has over 550 footnotes and is stamped "non-public, for internal use only" to ensure nobody outside the agency sees it until the rules are approved in a scheduled Dec. 21 vote. So much for "openness."

It's not clear why the FCC thinks it needs to intervene in a situation with obvious market solutions. Companies that impose draconian tolls or block services will lose customers. Existing laws already offer a number of protections against anti-competitive behavior, but it's not clear under what law Mr. Genachowski thinks he can stick his nose into the businesses that comprise the Internet. The FCC regulates broadcast television and radio because the government granted each station exclusive access to a slice of the airwaves. Likewise when Ma Bell accepted a monopoly deal from Uncle Sam, it came with regulatory strings attached.

No such rationale applies online, especially because bipartisan majorities in Congress have insisted on maintaining a hands-off policy. A federal appeals court confirmed this in April by striking down the FCC's last attempt in this arena. "That was sort of like the quarterback being sacked for a 20-yard loss," FCC Commissioner Robert M. McDowell told The Washington Times. "And now the team is about to run the exact same play. ... In order for the FCC to do this, it needs for Congress to give it explicit statutory authority to do so."

Freedom and openness should continue to be the governing principles of the Internet. That's why Mr. Genachowski's proposal should be rejected and Congress should make it even more clear that the FCC should stop trying to expand its regulatory empire.


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