Tag Archives: Title II

Today is the big day (UPDATE: It Happened!)

UPDATE: It has happened, as we hoped. The FCC has adopted what it refers to as “Strong, Sustainable Rules to Support the Open Internet.” The vote was along party lines as we all knew it would be, and it forbids paid prioritization while classifying Internet providers as common casrriers, meaning they are now utilities like power and water and subject to severe regulations. You can read the statement from FCC chairman Tom Wheeler here, from Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel here, and the formal announcement about the new rules here.

So what does it all mean? ISPs like Comcast, Verizon, Cox, and Time-Warner will not be allowed to throttle speeds to legal data, block access to legal sites, charge certain services more to use their lanes (paid prioritization), and they also have to let the FCC know about their network management practices ensuring everything they are doing is on the level. Unlike the previous rules passed in 2010 and shot down by the Supreme Court,these new rules apply to wireless carriers as well. VoIP (Voice Over IP) was less affected.

Title II incoming, maybe

It appears that Tom Wheeler will indeed attempt to re-classify Internet service as a utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act.

This is a world-changing event, however as some of you stated in your comment to my previous post on this, Title II may not be the best way of going about this. Utilities are regulated, but they are the only choice out there. Opponents of Title II classification make arguments that are much more compelling than those who outright oppose government intervention of any sort.

Bear in mind that one of my big hopes – the death of data caps – is not part of the proposal, nor is local loop unbundling, in which multiple providers could use the same physical line. Both of these concern me greatly: In my opinion, regulation with data caps will serve no purpose and would punish cord-cutters such as myself, who watch local news and other content via streaming, and I would burn through a data allotment in a single day. Without local-loop unbundling, where would the actual competition be? In fact, unbundling the last mile might be the only solution that’s really necessary, as a commenter in the linked article states.

Strange days, we’ll have to see how it all plays out. Either way, if this goes through in any form, it is likely to be world-changing, at least for us.

 

Go Tom Wheeler!

WARNING: This post is pop-culture heavy.

Did you by any chance read the (re)post I made recently about net neutrality and why it is so very, very important? Did you at least watch John Oliver’s video about it all? One of the huge complaints about it all is that Tom Wheeler, a former cable company lobbyist, was appointed as head of the FCC, the very commission whose task it is to oversee the regulation of the Internet and its providers. How could we ever hope to keep providers like Comcast and Verizon and Time-Warner Cable in check, preventing them from charging us higher prices for inferior service with him there? More importantly, how could we achieve Net Neutrality, in which all bits are treated equally, or especially Title II classification in which the Internet is considered a utility, like power or water and regulated as such, with a person like that in charge of it all?

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