Support Net Neutrality!

Hopefully this is an issue that unites us all here at Colorado Pols, because without Net Neutrality, this might be a different place entirely.

As Politico reports:

The Federal Communications Commission Thursday suspended its weeks-long series of talks with Internet providers on Net neutrality, dealing a blow to efforts to produce a deal that the agency could take to Congress.

The decision to cut off negotiations marks a major political setback for Chairman Julius Genachowski, whose office reached out to stakeholders six weeks ago to strike an agreement and avoid a public battle over rules that would treat all users’ Web traffic equally.

But the end to industry discussions – which a source close to the FCC talks blamed entirely on news that Google and Verizon separately sought some form of net neutrality agreement – could now force the FCC to take a more aggressive approach to solidifying its broadband authority.

FCC chief of staff Edward Lazarus stressed in a briefly worded statement that the agency has no plans to back down on Net neutrality, months after a federal court in a case involving Comcast essentially nullified much of the agency’s broadband authority…

…”Any outcome, any deal that doesn’t preserve the freedom and openness of the Internet for consumers and entrepreneurs, will be unacceptable,” he said.

Colorado’s congressional delegation has taken different positions on Net Neutrality. Republican Rep. Doug Lamborn has opposed it, while Democratic Rep. Jared Polis has been a supporter. Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter signed onto an odd letter last fall that sort-of questioned Net Neutrality. Both Colorado Senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, are supporters of Net Neutrality.

32 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. StrykerK2 says:

    Actually Pols this is the perfect venue to discuss supporting candidates who support us.  I’ll start.

    Andrew Romanoff

  2. JO says:

    NYT reported today that Verizon, a major ISP, and Google (as in YouTube) were in negotiations that would allow content providers (Google) to pay ISPs (Verizon) in effect to put their content at the head of the queue, i.e. deliver it before/faster than providers who don’t pay.

    The Times story also pointed out that the “talks” between interested parties ad the FCC, mentioned by Politico above, had been secret.

    This is absolutely not a subject that should be settled in secret negotiations between corporate giants that are fundamentally not accountable to the public on a topic of this magnitude.

    The core issue here is whether the Internet is akin to an Interstate highway, open to whomever wants to use it [or, closer to the terms of the FCC, like the telephone network, on which every caller is treated the same], OR like toll roads, on which those who can pay handsomely get there first (or, in FCC terms, like television bandwidth, which puts control of distribution in the hands of a few corporations.

    Heretofore, the telephone network and the television network were treated differently because the former was regarded as a public utility, whereas the latter was treated as “entertainment,” and there less vital to the public interest. For some reason, the Internet has been classified as an “entertainment” network (partly because broadband services are mostly provided by cable television companies, which were originally a branch of “entertainment”), whereas it clearly has long gone far, far beyond that. Indeed, VOIP and YouTube (among others) demonstrate that the Internet is fast replacing both the telephone and television networks.

    We can discuss the future of e-books or on-demand video via the ‘net, but it seems pretty clear to me that in the future, all communication, all content — voice, “print,” audio, video — will be via digits carried over the Internet.

    Whether this communications stream should in effect be entirely privatized and wholly controlled by ISPs (Comcast being the major proponent) or regulated as a “public utility” is the question. It effects every single person in ways too numerous to list.

    The issue isn’t especially complicated, and it’s highly unfortunate that it remains relegated to the back pages, as it were, much less trivialized (as in one “comment” on this thread). Before decisions are taken, or conclusions drawn at the FCC, we need an intense grass-roots campaign of e-mailing (I almost said letter-writing), posting, Tweets, etc. etc. to get this Front and Center in the 2010 November campaign.

    • Still, it’s an important issue.

      • Libertad says:

        of a hard fought deal that is probably awaiting board approval.

        Its like two business in and M&A deal … no comment, nothing going on here they crackle … meanwhile back at Chase and Goldman the teleconferences rip late into the night as they haggle about $10 mill on a $20 billion transaction …. because you know I-bankers need to demonstrate their value too.

  3. StrykerK2 says:

    and he has no known stance on net neutrality.  But way to lie for him yet again pols!

  4. Net Neutrality is what most people think of when they think of the Internet.  For most of the past 9 years, since the dawn of the Web (and before), network providers have served content equally from all content providers, to all people at the rate of service they’ve subscribed to.

    But the network providers want that to change, to increase their revenue, and some content providers are also interested in “boosting their profile” by paying to have their content delivered before that of others.

    Imagine what would happen if Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Comcast and other huge companies paid the various network providers to prioritize their content.  Super-fast searches, right?  Yes, but what about everyone else?  What about this blog, condemned to roam the congested slow lanes of the Internet because they do not have the money to pay for priority delivery, nor the personnel to set up arrangements with each network provider.  Worse – do you like the Internet pod/streamcast of a small independent radio station or talk show?  Well, it might get a bit spotty because other paying traffic gets priority.  Will universities be forced to pay for priority traffic as more of their courses go online, upping your tuition costs for no good reason?

    Network providers almost universally have the benefit of the same near-monopoly rights of way and/or bandwidth grants that are granted to phone companies.  But phone companies must grant to their competitors equal access through their lines to all of their customers.  Net Neutrality is that same regulation extended to the current/future generation of communications services, guaranteeing that which we have enjoyed and come to expect throughout the history of the Internet.

    • JO says:

      I believe the current argument is primarily focused on the rapidly advancing time when most video on home television sets will be delivered via Internet. (See, for example, how many flat-screen televisions now advertise “WiFi compatible”.)

      A growing volume of streaming video over existing facilities could/would seriously impede delivery; hence the incentive for video providers like YouTube/Goggle to pay to sit at the front of the bus. Waiting for the words of a site like this one to download is one thing; an interruption in streaming video is something different.

      My sense is that this is the issue at hand. For Verizon, Comcast, et al., it’s not only a new source of revenue from content providers (who pay nothing to deliver their product now, unlike any other delivery mechanism), but also a means to avoid expensive investment in its own infrastructure.

      • DavidThi808 says:

        I think they do need to give live video priority over say email. And I think it’s fair to charge for quality of service. But they need to make sure the charge is the same for any provider for any given quality setting.

        And preferably they charge the person receiving it. I’m happy to pay more for a faster video stream. But if you prefer to save money and accept it being choppy, that’s fine too.

        • JO says:

          One feature of the internet to date is that it has provided everyone — cash-strapped start-ups, individuals, as well as well-funded corporations — a way to deliver content over what has been a neutral path. Heretofore, we have had net neutrality.

          The indie video producer who wants to distribute her product without the blessings of Comcast/Verizon has been able to do so. Not unlike would-be amateur journos who can’t get published in established newspapers putting their output onto sites like this one.

          It’s this fundamentally democratic nature of the net that’s in danger. And while streaming video may be the leading edge, charging to distribute content at all–not just to get at the head of the line–isn’t such a big leap once the principle of net neutrality is breached.

          This is also about ISPs like Comcast and Verizon wanting to replicate the cell phone model — get paid simultaneously by both ends — and get away from the landline model (caller pays; called party doesn’t). Right now, the customer pays to receive large quantities of data (or will, under Comcast’s announced plan to charge extra for exceeding a monthly limit on bits downloaded), but the sender pays nothing when his/her content is requested. Under the Verizon/YouTube deal, that would change.

    • StrykerK2 says:

      I know my first comment was somewhat snark, but this is a crucial issue and one I ask federal candidates about to see if they are even familiar.

      I fear that without candidates who actually care about this the internet is ironically going to become like newspapers — run by a powerful group and only a narrow viewpoint gets represented.

  5. DavidThi808 says:

    There are no obvious links for Bennet supporting Net Neutrality.  There’s nothing on either his Senate page or his campaign page.

    I hope he favors it (and with votes, not just speeches).

  6. Maybe, The Fcc can have a sit down with Comcast and Google and a few others I can think of.

    Come up with a consent decree, how to manage this without tons of litigation and regulatory rule making and maneuvering.

    I may be wrong, but I really believe the FCC is trying to do the right thing here. I guess we have to look at how much a commercial provider can limit for profit as far as their own bandwidth on their own cable. I guess thats why the FCC would say, ok, they we will just say you are like a telco (telephone company) have and service your own lines like ATT (MABELL) argued, fair enough.

    I just would be careful, creating any restrictions on intruding on any business ability to make a profit on services people are paying for, whether its google or Comcast. I would rather free up the regulatory process, at least give them some stability, reliability and dependability in forecasting how an agency will rule, let alone what their rules and regulations means, so they can forecast and predict what will happen in the future, for business planning. (wooah run on sentences sorry).

    But, I am really unclear on whats happening, so I would hope they all get together, behind closed doors, hash this out and save us all some time and trouble.


    • TheDeminator says:

      Let me clear something up for you.  Stop playing on pols and go raise some money or talk to voters.  The End… playing on pols makes you end up like Bill Winter or Steve Harvey.  

    • JO says:

      Should private companies have a profit-making role in the administration of the Internet?

      Charley Miller seems to think so. I don’t.

      The net was initiated in the 1960s as a protocol, promoted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects (DARPA), to facilitate communications between mainframes, mostly government and universities. It took decades to reach the mainstream, mostly thanks to the development of browser software for personal computers, which were unknown at the time of the net’s development.

      The net has evolved into the contemporary equivalent of roads, which were (and still are) built by government for the common good — including, btw, transportation of information (newspaper, magazines, mail). As cities grow, roads are built to accommodate the need for citizens to get to and fro’ — mostly at no charge. In many cases, the net can serve the same purpose, and in that sense be one element in our energy policy: promotion of telecommuting, video conferencing, etc. to reduce the need for physical travel.

      It was not a conscious policy (at least not that I know of) to make an arm of the entertainment industry, cable television, a main player in internet distribution, which had started (and continued for many, many years) using telephone lines. The switch to broadband was not a matter of conscious social policy; using it to enable private enterprises to generate “deserved” profits is bad policy altogether.

      • I didn’t Invent the Internet (Al Gore Joke).

        I do remember Arpnet and some of the DOD stuff when I was in the Military, and I certainly enjoyed tymnet, and Sprint opening x.25. I should since I am old enough to have had suffered the advancements of 300-2400 baud acoustic modems.

        Point is, the internet was always about open architecture, but the backbone was either DOD, Miliatry or Academia (University research based) founded by those same military industrial giants. Now, here’s the problem,

        Referring back to :

        “I fear that without candidates who actually care about this the internet is ironically going to become like newspapers — run by a powerful group and only a narrow viewpoint gets represented.

        Sorry Michael Bennet, but I’m a real person too

        by: StrykerK2 @ Thu Aug 05, 2010 at 22:55:04 PM MDT”

        Huge Commercial Interests like Google, Comcast/Verizon and others want to control their lines, what services and bandwidth gets to people, and who gets what, based on profit and price.

        In a nutshell, lets use a visual, data even if compressed is like water flowing through a pipe, say you are in a building each room represents another person who wants the water, each pays different amounts for a certain amount of water. If one leaves the facet open another feels it , since only a certain amount of water can flow down the pipe, even if more pressure is added.

        But here’s what the FCC, I believe sees as a problem. If the net must be fair, neutral, everyone gets the same generic tap water, then these providers shouldn’t be able to push lemon flavored or alpine mountain fresh or whatever to Jane doe or Joe x geared to what they want or assume would be profitible for them. I really don’t think its about, Jimmy leaving the tap open (Hes into downloading massive DVD – file hoggin the bandwidth) or say Sammy and Friends A-z Playing Online Gameing all day long, nope.

        I think it comes down to product content, or what commercial industry want to do, force the data or drive it to select consumers, whether they want it or not,  depending on market, profit or whatever.

        This is where the real problems come in.

        This is what I think everyone is concerned about, isn’t it?

        So, StrykerK2, without government intervention or controls how do we protect the Little Guy?

        just google

        charleymiller2010      see how that worked?

  7. Fact is I believe the FCC was trying to do the right thing, bringing everyone to the table. This issue is huge, and the fact of the matter is, they will have to address this matter again, soon.

    Its not about Big guy or little guy, I am fighting for the little guy and so is the FCC, they hear the millions of people complaining about restrictive limiting of internet services or force directing (kinda what Google is doing) by the priviate commercial bandwidth holders, this is where I believe the issue is. The FCC wants some restrictions and apparently the courts, as should be wants everyone to be treated fairly and equally, so in response the FCC will just go, ok you are all like the Telco companies, to allow them to follow a mechanism that is well set out. However, they are withdrawing at the moment.

    So we will have to see what happens. Myself, I believe this is how governmental agencies have to start doing regulatory actions, bringing in everyone, all the players to work out the problems. Alternative dispute resolutions or consent decrees to save money, to stop excessive litigations and most of all to allow some form of reliability and predictibility from regulatory agencies.


    goto my wordpress, Plug Follows:

    If you have any nagging questions…

    Thanks for all the thoughts, criticism, views, and opinions.


    Unaffiliated on November Ballot for the US Senate, good luck in the primaries everyone.

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