JB: This is troubling, PEN. Speaking of Comcast, how does the proposed merger feed into the net neutrality issue? Isn't bigger better for all of us, at least in this case?
PEN: If that were the operating principle, we'd all be better off with a Bigg[er] Brother (as in 1984). Apart from the issue of whether corporate power, concentrated in fewer and fewer hands itself, is something to fear, the issue here is REGULATION. The FCC has jurisdiction over this and has tried twice to promulgate rules for keeping the internet open. The appeals court in the DC circuit last month struck down these rules, BUT it was only on the technical question of whether the internet service providers were classified as "common carriers." This is a term of legal art which might make our own eyes glaze over, but what it simply means is that if the internet is considered an essential utility, then the FCC has to power to regulate it to keep it open and free. And the good news is that even the appeals court conceded that the FCC as an administrative agency has the UNILATERAL discretion to reclassify internet service providers as common carriers, as they should have been all along. And if the FCC does so, the people win.
JB: Okay, that's pretty straight-forward. So, the logical next question is, what can we do to insure that the FCC does its duty and upholds net neutrality?
PEN: Please understand we have some sympathetic FCC commissioners to talk to. They have already twice tried to make this happen by simple rule-making. This is not a case where we are railing against a smug and intractable House majority. On February 19th, the FCC opened up a docket for public comments. They are inviting you to have an influence on their next decision. They WANT to hear what YOU have to say about all this. We have a window of 30 days to do this and we need to jump all over it.
JB: That is good news. So, how do we go about being good citizens, PEN? Spell out what we need to do and how to do it.
We've created a special server process to navigate the FCC submission site for you. All you need to do is simply submit our one-click action page and your personal comments will get sent directly and verbatim to the FCC gateway on this issue.
For those who would like the individualized FCC link here is that as well.
But for the second link, you have to already know which issue you are speaking out on, and the key point to make is that we are asking the FCC to "reclassify internet service providers as common carriers."