MoveOn and Net Neutrality

Net Neutral-9883
All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. George Orwell, Animal Farm

I don’t know as much about this as I should so please, Please! let me know if I have said anything in error. All I know is what the speakers told me at the rally in the pictures (Ok, and what I read in the email propaganda I get on a regular basis).

In January, in a lawsuit brought by Verizon, an U.S. Appeals Court of three judges threw out the federal rules that required Internet providers to treat all Internet traffic equally. The Court said Given that the Commission has chosen to classify broadband providers in a manner that exempts them from treatment as common carriers, the Communications Act expressly prohibits the commission from nonetheless regulating them as such. In this case, the Commission, means the FCC which has said that broadband is not the same as a utility and the Court then said, in effect, if it isn’t a utility, you can’t regulate as such, come up with new rules.

In May 2014, according to ZD Net, the Federal Communications Commission decided in a 3-2 vote on Thursday morning that it will allow telecommunications and broadband providers to charge content providers for preferential treatment across their respective networks. Simultaneously, and confusingly, the FCC also stated that broadband companies could not slow down or block incoming traffic outright. The people who are good at reading FCC tea leaves, think that this is the end of Net Neutrality, AT&T and Comcast can now charge more for higher speed. Because of public outcry, this new rule has now been put on hold for 120 days so the FCC can hear public comment.

So, so far, the status of the Internet is in limbo, but the chances of Net Neutrality becoming the Law of the Land are pretty slim. Obama, who as you may remember, ran on Net Neutrality, appointed  Tom Wheeler to the Chairmanship of the FCC.  That may seem like a surprise because Wheeler was the top lobbyist for Comcast and AT&T who have fought Net Neutrality for over a decade (and Wheeler did much of that heavy lifting). But it really shouldn’t be too surprising. Brian Roberts, the CEO of Comcast, and Obama often play golf together – Roberts is a major donor and has had Obama over for dinner – and that means he has lots of time to present his point of view. I’m not saying that it is nefarious, they play golf together, they are friendly, Roberts pitches his point of view.

The way I see it is, can enough people make enough noise to outweigh Brian Roberts, one guy with alot – thinking of you Gail on that spelling – of money and the access it buys. Roberts has a point of view and he has a right to that point of view and, one on one, none of us has a chance to have our point of view heard equally. That may not be fair, but it is real. If two of us speak up, it still will not matter, if twenty million of us speak up, Brian Robert’s point of view probably won’t matter – although  the NRA may be so powerful that it is an exception – and I have no idea where the tipping point is. But I am convinced that there is a tipping point; I am convinced that, at some point, if enough people speak up, they will be heard.

Even though the chances of keeping the net neutral are slim, it wouldn’t hurt – and you might feel better about yourself – if you sign one of MoveOn. org petitions and send it along. If you really want to feel good about yourself, send the FCC a comment directly.

Internet-3-2Oh, the pictures? It was a MoveOn rally on an intersection that they thought Obama would pass on the way to a fundraiser in Los Altos Hills. He either went a different way or came by helicopter. I think the helicopter theory is more likely because several helicopters, escorted by two Marine V-22 Ospreys, were flying in the area.


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