Net Neutrality Threatened (Part II) - by Stephen Lendman
Three earlier articles addressed the issue, the most recent accessed through the following link:
Net Neutrality is a defining issue of our time. It's essential to keep the Internet free and open, letting users access all content without restrictions, limitations, or discrimination, maintaining an online level playing field for everyone.
It's the essence of democratic free speech. Without it, the Internet will resemble cable TV, letting corporate predators game the system, deciding what web sites, content and applications are available at what price and speed.
Giant cable and telecom companies are lobbying Congress and the FCC furiously for that right. A leaked September 2010 House Energy and Commerce Committee draft bill, if enacted, will let them establish higher-priced premium lanes (two Internets), effectively destroying Net Neutrality, compromising the last free and open space. New FCC provisions may do the same. More on that below.
An October 2007 global measure, overriding national sovereignty, also threatens Net Neutrality, consumer privacy, and civil liberties. Called the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), secret negotiations seek to subvert them, ostensibly to protect copyrighted intellectual property, including films, photos, and songs. ACTA remains a work in progress, but developments going forward bear watching, especially if a global agreement is reached.
New FCC Proposal Threatens Online Freedoms
In early December, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski proposed new regulations to be voted on December 21 saying:
They're "consistent with President Obama's commitment to keep the Internet as it should be - open and free." As a candidate, he pledged it. As president, he consistently yielded to big money demands and appears ready now to surrender Net Neutrality. Genachowski's plan is a scheme to subvert it. More information on it can be accessed through the following link, but full details so far remain confidential:
However, according to Save the Internet Coalition, his proposal:
"is riddled with loopholes, and falls far short of what's necessary to prevent phone and cable companies from turning the Internet into cable TV: where they decide what moves fast, what moves slow, and whether they can price gouge you or not - a shiny jewel for companies like AT&T and Comcast." Specifically:
-- it doesn't restore FCC authority over Internet service providers (ISPs);
-- it lets cable and telecom companies split the Internet into fast and slow lanes;
-- it lets ISPs charge content providers more for faster movement across the Internet than others; and