Vote To End Net Neutrality Scheduled For December 14th

Merry Christmas from the extreme right

No one likes cable or satellite TV service. Think you will like it when the internet is like that?

~10 minutes

One of the least discussed issues at stake during last year’s election was the ending of internet neutrality. Republicans downplayed it. Most media outlets (including MSNBC) gave the ending of internet neutrality little coverage because media corporations will have a stake in slicing up the internet and wringing out every penny they can. One of the corporations that stands to make a huge windfall from ending net neutrality is Comcast, the parent corporation of MSNBC.

So Republicans take over the White House in a very questionable election. As with many takeovers of the sort one of the first orders of business is to shut down opposition media. Since there is no way to legally do that in the US, the strategy instead turns to delegitimizing the opposition. Thus the new powers roll out their “fake news” campaign to delegitimize news organizations.

There is not exactly a lot of opposition media in this country to begin with since by far the largest owners and purveyors of news are corporations with very right wing tendencies. What little opposition media that does exist lives on the internet. Corporations already control the majority of four of the five major purveyors of news in this country: Radio, TV, newspapers and magazines. They only need to control the internet to pretty much put a lock on controlling the dissemination of news in this country.

Thus controlling all media became one of the top projects upon the takeover in Washington. Now with FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposed ending of internet neutrality rules with a December 14th vote, control of all media is very much within the reach of the extreme right and corporations.

The following is an email from Common Cause concerning Chairman Pai’s maneuver:

As someone who cares about Net Neutrality and the free and open internet, I wanted to write to you directly with an update on where this important issue stands.

On November 21, the Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai stated that he will be proposing a complete removal of all Net Neutrality rules. The FCC will vote on these rules on December 14.¹

Despite over 22 million comments to the FCC from Common Cause Members and the public (the vast majority in support of strong Net Neutrality rules), the FCC is poised to reverse the strong open internet rules from 2015 and replace them with, essentially, nothing. 

The FCC’s previous open internet order had 3 “bright line rules” which explicitly forbade blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization (i.e. “fast lanes”). Those rules would now be eliminated.

Instead, Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) will have to publish any blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization arrangements so that consumers will know about them and have the ability to “shop around” (though we know how little competition there is in practice for internet service providers).

If an ISP violates its own commitments, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) or Department of Justice (DOJ) would have to investigate and call them to account, a very time-consuming and difficult process, unlikely to deter ISPs from bad behavior. It will require FTC or DOJ investigation because by declaring internet broadband a “Title I information service” (as opposed to “Title II” which is what it currently is) the FCC is removing broadband from its own jurisdiction.

That’s right. The Federal Communications Commission is proposing to abandon oversight of broadband. 

Common Cause’s Special Advisor Michael Copps — a former FCC Commissioner — released this statement which captures the impact of these rules:

“The reckless wrecking ball strikes again. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s scorched-earth plan for Net Neutrality displays callous disregard for both process and substance. The Chairman’s plan to do away with net neutrality will be a disaster for consumers and yet another handout for big business.

There can be no truly open internet without net neutrality. To believe otherwise is to be captive to special interest power brokers or to an old and discredited ideology that thinks monopoly and not government oversight best serves the nation. In this case, I think it’s both. The FCC under Pai is handing over the internet to a few humongous gatekeepers who see the rest of us as products to be delivered to advertisers, not as citizens needing communications that serve democracy’s needs. By empowering ISPs to create fast lanes for the few and squelch alternative points of view, the Trump FCC fecklessly casts aside years of popular consensus that the public needs net neutrality. The tens of thousands of Americans I have talked with, both Republicans and Democrats, fully understand this need.

What a sad day for an agency that should be serving the people. Ajit Pai and his majority are turning their backs on the millions of Americans who fought for years to win strong net neutrality. This naked corporatism is Washington at its worst.”

The FCC will vote its anti-Net Neutrality order on December 14. If it passes, it will have the force of law once it is published in the Federal Register on a date to be determined.

Between now and the FCC vote on December 14th, our best tools to protect Net Neutrality are:

  • Calls to congress, click here to be connected now.
  • If your representatives are hosting public meetings (like “town hall” events), attend and ask for their support of Net Neutrality. You can find a list of upcoming public meetings here.
  • Write a letter to your local newspaper about the importance of Net Neutrality

We’re only a few weeks away from the FCC’s vote to end Net Neutrality, so I am asking you to please take action again during this extremely critical time.

If you can’t attend an event in person, please consider making another call to congress. Click here to be connected right away.

We can’t — and won’t — let the FCC get away with killing Net Neutrality by the end of this year.

Thanks for all that you do,

Todd O’Boyle, Program Director for Media and Democracy
and the team at Common Cause

You have 2 weeks to act. This is no time to be shy. Make the call NOW!

And then call your representative and senators and let them know you are MAD!

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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