The Open Internet & the Freedom of Speech

Real Internet Freedom, Not Regulation

The Internet is highly competitive. Traditional “phone” and traditional “cable” companies have been locked in an intense struggle to win customers, and wireless is rapidly becoming another viable alternative to wired broadband connections. If a private company blocked or censored Internet traffic maliciously it would lose its customers. If government exercised such control over a government-controlled Internet, there would be no place to turn.

The envisioned burden-of-proof for required network management practices is unreasonably restrictive and will prevent business models that may be economically efficient, impose uncertainty, and create litigation risks. Such restrictions would lower the rate of return on investments in building network capacity to the point that some of those investments would no longer make economic sense.

The Internet would then either remain crippled or be “rescued” with taxpayer subsidies, which would inevitably bring government control and politicization along with government ownership. Indeed, this “public utility” model is the desired outcome of many proponents of regulation, including former White House adviser Susan Crawford and Free Press founder Robert McChesney.

Such a transformation of the Internet into a government-controlled public utility is a major policy change that should be debated in Congress, the legitimately elected legislative branch of government. The Commission should not on its own set into motion regulatory changes that will force us down this path.

I am especially concerned that the Commission is already contemplating content restrictions, such as the suggestion under paragraph 77 of the NPRM that the Commission may ultimately be the arbiter of which competing interests should be prioritized.

Advocates of so-called “net neutrality” have been ringing alarm bells now for so many years (starting with the November 19, 2002 letter to the Commission from the so-called “Coalition of Broadband Users and Innovators”) that their claims should be heavily discounted. In the absence of concrete evidence of not just discriminatory but anti-competitive behavior, there is simply no rationale for imposing new regulations that could have the effect of slowing down the great engine of innovation, growth, and expression that the lightly regulated, competitive Internet has become.


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Similar Ideas [ 5 ]


  1. Comment

    Net Neutrality is one "regulation" that will ensure Real Internet Freedom. I run a small business and also do a lot of political activism and am completely dependent on the duopoly of companies in my area for my work. Many other areas there's even a monopoly on broadband. Some basic common carrier rules are absolutely necessary to ensure that my business is allowed to compete in the marketplace (a cornerstone of capitialism) and that my political beliefs are allowed to compete as well (a cornerstone of democracy).

  2. Comment

    'Open Internet' and 'Net Neutraliy'...hah, ya right. What a joke. Good marketing spin though, as I'm sure many will buy into it.

  3. Comment

    This is just another government attempt to take more control over American freedom. I, for one, do not believe a single thing that comes from our elected (and corrupt) government officials.

    Talk about a monopoly? You can't have a bigger monolopoly than the United States government. Everything thing the government touches, social security, medicare, medicade, the postal service, stimulus plan?, taxes, you name it, the government either destroys it, or it becomes so corrupt that it can't be sustained.

    I am tired of the government becoming involved in every aspect of our lives.

  4. Comment

    The irony is that "Net Neutrality" is anything but.

    The really sad thing is that those pushing this destructive policy include big corporations like Google, who see short term commercial advantage in supporting it.

    "Net Neutrality" explicitly seeks to ensure that all traffic is treated "equally" on the net. Think about that - some of the services that you want - like VoIP - REQUIRE tweaking of the internet to ensure that VoIP traffic gets priority. There are lots of other services like that, where without the sort of prioritization that telecoms are working on - and want to charge for - simply won't work.

    "Net Neutrality" effectively kills of an entire area of innovation and technical advance. One of the few areas of the economy where the USA is clearly in the lead and doing well, and we are going to screw it up.

    Tell your friends. "Net Neutrality" is not only not going to accomplish what it seeks to do, but will kill off internet innovation by precluding the profits that drive it.

    In the bargain, we will give the government (FCC) the power to harass/shut-down any network provider or operator that manages his network in a way that is displeasing to "the authorities".

    Please explain how this is "open" or "free", or "better".

  5. Comment

    openinternet, how much are you being paid to shill for the telecom companies?

    If the telecoms were struggling as it is to maintain a healthy profit margin, that would be reason to consider your point, but as it stands, telecom companies are some of the most profitable in the market today. Rather than re-investing that money in their infrastructure and network, they hire lobbyists to convince the government that things are fine as they are.

    Net neutrality insures that anyone should be able to use any net-based service regardless of their ISP or service tier. The extent of "regulation" will be the FCC telling companies like Comcast to knock it off when they get caught interfering with the network traffic they're being paid to carry. It's simply telling companies to leave the thing alone, the way it is now, and don't try to make more money by squeezing higher subscription fees out of your customers for the same service they already have. It also insures innovation rather than crippling it by guaranteeing that the giant telecom companies can't dominate the market simply by restricting access to their competitors. After all, what benefit would Time Warner have in allowing its users to go to Without regulation, the monopolistic practices of the currently telecommunications industry would only get worse, not better.

  6. Comment

    I'd like to post the one article you actually referenced in your propaganda and note that taken in context the referenced paragraph states that it would keep telecom companies from deleting my emails, redirecting my web browsing, and slowing down things I care about in order to speed up things they want to promote. way to mislead the public. I hope you're paid well.

    75. Congress has recognized that the Internet “offer[s] a forum for a true diversity of political

    discourse, unique opportunities for cultural development, and myriad avenues for intellectual activity.”173

    Numerous judicial opinions have noted the Internet’s potential for facilitating speech.174 The bipartisan

    Knight Commission recently reported that the Internet has brought about “new forms of collaboration

    between full-time journalists and the general citizenry,” opening the age of networked journalism.175 It

    also observed that “[p]olitical leaders and many government agencies are staking out ambitious agendas

    for openness,” and “[t]he potential for using technology to create a more transparent and connected democracy has never seemed brighter.”176 At the same time, however, broadband Internet access service

    providers today could block, slow, or redirect access to websites espousing public policy positions that

    the broadband Internet access service provider considers contrary to its interests, or controversial content

    to which the service provider wants to avoid any connection. Broadband Internet access service providers

    also have the ability to delete or hinder email based on inspection of its contents.177 Because broadband

    Internet access service providers are not government actors, the First Amendment does not directly

    govern their actions.178

    76. Proponents therefore argue that the Commission should take steps to preserve the Internet

    “as a general purpose technology that supports wide open speech.” 179 Others have argued that “the

    openness of networks [is] essential to meeting community information needs,”180 and that the Internet

    could be conceived of as a “new marketplace of ideas”181—a “core common infrastructure” that “giv[es]

    users the capacity to participate in building our common informational and cultural environment and the

    freedom to construct their personal information environment that is the greatest promise of networked


    77. Some proponents of oversight have thus argued that the Commission should apply a

    standard similar to strict scrutiny to content-based discrimination, to ensure that any discrimination be

    carefully tailored to serve the public interest, not merely a private interest.183 (As discussed below, we do

    not adopt this standard in the draft rules we propose. See discussion at paragraph 137.) Some parties further argue that broadband Internet access service providers should not be left to balance among

    competing public interests themselves, but rather that the Commission (or other government entity) must

    be the one to do so.184 In support of such oversight, proponents note that the government has undertaken

    a role in promoting communications technologies as a channel for speech and democratic content in other

    contexts, such as the cable “must carry” rules.

  7. Comment

    I run a small ISP. One of the beauties of the internet is that it makes it relatively easy to do things that used to be really expensive - publish your ideas, for instance.

    Adding "net neutrality" rules will inject FCC regulators into the mix, and force me to hire lawyers just to figure out if what I am doing is legal, every time I change a router configuration, or tell my customers that they can't run some application on my servers. Believe it. Read the proposed rules.

    My ISP is small enough that if it comes to that, I will have to shut down (about 40 customers, run from my house. Mostly friends, relatives and local businesses).

    In general, this is how it works. This sort of regulation is shouldered well by those will beefy legal staffs, like comcast, but is often fatal to the "little guy".

    "Net Neutrality" simply gives the FCC the power to control the internet to a much greater degree than it does today. Promises of "neutrality" may or may not come true. Abuse of that power - to the benefit of those who are politically connected - is certain.

    Supporters of "Net Neutrality" are naive. This is a bad thing. It should be opposed.

  8. Comment

    The Government is the ultimate monopoly. By pushing for the Internet to become a public utility the those in our Government hope to gain ultimate control over it. You think the large providers are not being competitive enough, wait until the Government control it.

    All I have to do is look at National Grid and the New York Power authority to see how poorly "natural" monopolies function. Ultra high costs and poor service are par for the course.

    This legislation is unnecessary and while it feels good on the surface the truth behind it is far from the idealistic views being painted by its supporters.

    If it was as simple as is being described the regulation would be as simple as this - No broadband provider will prioritize the traffic of another provider of a specific or competing protocol over its own traffic. For example, if company A offers Voice over IP service and the providers also offers Voice over IP service - the provider may not prioritize it's traffic over company A. Providers must handle similar traffic types equally.

    This is not to say that traffic of differing types say Bittorrent traffic cannot be put at a much lower priority than other more timing critical traffic types.

  9. Comment

    This is just another obama left wing big government take over attempt. Don't be fooled. By pushing for the Internet to become a public utility the those in our Government hope to gain ultimate control over it. This WILL include content control. IE. if they do not like your view on something it wont get posted. We do NOT need any more nanny state interference. Remember, "If it's NOT broken, don't FIX IT". Can we say "the fairness doctrine"? That was any thing but "Fair".

  10. Comment

    @nlandas: The government is not a monopoly -- Democratic elections, and our system of checks and balances in government, is expressly designed to resist any one person or group gaining monopoly power. Term limits make all forms of government power temporary.

    AT&T is a monopoly. Corporations have no term limits -- they don't even die. They have exclusive rights to wires and equipment, and use those to extract monopoly rents from people, who need the services they provide exclusively in their area.

    Learn the difference.

    We need our representative government to enforce Network Neutrality, as a check against the private monopoly powers that wish to take the Internet away from us. Americans paid for the Internet via a combination of taxes and monopoly rents, and our representatives have a right to regulate it, so that it is not stolen by private monopoly corporations.

  11. Comment

    To insure Freedom there must be regulatory restraint, free markets, and private ownership. The Internet needs to remain free of Government control. "Open Internet" or "Net Neutrality" are code words for the Socialists (Democrats) who want to take control of the people. They want to destroy our Freedom. Vote against the establishment.

  12. Comment

    The Internet is competitive just like cable or satellite TV is competitive. Which is exactly why HBO, Showtime are now just part of basic packages and do not cost extra. Oh, wait they do charge for them still.

    Will anyone of you who are against this actually learn some economics? There are two options for the industries, once one company either starts charging for "extras" (what used to be free)all the other companies can either A) follow suit; maintains the status quo and they get more money or B) refuse and start a price war (which means less money).

    What do you think they are going to choose? Hint: Look at the TV market.

  13. Comment

    It seems most who favor this Net Neutrality idea are lacking in an understanding of economics.

    What is the fundamental thing we learn in economics once we grok supply and demand? If you mess with the free market, you can only make things worse.

    People seem to want us to live in fear, I guess because they do. If we don't control people with laws, things might not be under our control!!! Oh, no, somebody is doing something and I didn't force him to do that!!! Why be afraid if people chose to buy or sell other than what you want in your utopia?

    Come on people. Relax in liberty. Let the market work. If people really want a certain quality of Internet services, it will come. There will likely be innovations we never thought of.

    We know from history that government interference can make things a LOT worse. It is hard for governments to back off from controlling us.

  14. Comment

    Dar, I hope you are getting paid by some telecom company, it would not be good for my mental health to know that people who are just that ignorant and will actively work this hard against their own interest.

    You, obviously, know nothing of economics. A completely open and free market only allocates resources efficiently when every buyer and every seller is a price taker. In other words no company nor customer can influence the price or quality of the good/service. Most areas you have a 2, maybe 3 choices. This is not an open and competitive market. I could go on, talk about how the set up costs alone would make it next to impossible for a new comer to just pop into the market but you don't care about what economics actually says, you have your myopic view of it and that is what you will keep using.

    If you don't think government regulations can help, why don't you look into what factory work was like before labor laws. Or read the Jungle to see what a meat processing plant was like before government regulation. Or, why don't you look into the company towns of the late 1800s, and see what unbridled 'liberty' looks like.

  15. Comment

    Nothing good can come of name calling and insults.

    Economics has become a highly politicized discipline, which is unhelpful in this sort of discussion. There is lots of disagreement among economists about things like "perfect" markets, and how much the real world resembles them, and also on the difference between causation and correlation.

    To follow up on your example, government labor laws came about at roughly the same time as improvements in workplace conditions. Many argue, as I do, that there was very little government cause there, only a general change in conditions, and politicians were particularly successful in claiming credit.

    The situation with the internet is very similar. Many posters here are under the false impression that the internet was a government creature, when in fact the government (DARPA et al) played a minor role in its overall development. This is all well documented.

  16. Comment

    Ah, pitschni, I see you can repeat the big words you find in your economics book. But do you understand the meaning?

    The efficiency argument concerning monopolies is overrated. Allocation of resources is better with the monopoly business than without its existence. Also, adding government interference can only decrease efficiency.

    In most cases monopolies really do have competition. It can be from substitutions. For example, NetFlicks snail mail delivery of movies competes against high performance broadband. It is not a direct substitute, but it pushes broadband prices down. Some organizations by T1 connections to access providers of the next town. With good consumerism, even two suppliers allow consumers to shape the product. People pay more for homes in regions with more than one access provider.

    Unless blocked by regulators and other government favoritism, competitors often enter in special markets and then generalize. Here it is government that keeps them out. Often to keep out competitors, monopolies are forced to improve product or lower prices.

    Monopolies are the boogymen used by people who want to control us. People try to scare us into living in fear of monopolies in order to control us. They use big words from economics books without any real understanding. Please don't be a part of that. Please stand for economic freedom.

    (And the economic issues don't even touch the moral issues. It is wrong to interfere with honest trade.)

  17. Comment

    Note the fundamental argument of those who want the state to "compensate" for "market failure".

    That is: "In my opinion, the market is not offering me what I want at a price I think it should be offered, so the state should FORCE the supplier(s) to provide me what I want, at an acceptable price to me."

    The moral dimension of this is dubious at best.

  18. Comment

    This is plain and simple BS. I have ONE option for an ISP where I live *one*. It's AT&T, which is greedily trying to kill net neutrality. If AT&T starts slowing down (because in their infinite wisdom they want to charge me more for a Hulu Gigabyte as opposed to a Gigabyte from their financial partners), then I have ZERO options. Get that? ZERO. Competition? There is no competition. Think about it guys, how many telcos can you choose from? If you're lucky, you can choose 2 and if you're really lucky you can choose 3. What happens when they all slow down to a crawl or some obscure startup because they can't afford to pay AT&T or COMCAST extortion money?

  19. Comment


    Anyone in a metropolitan area has at least 3 options for internet access. The local phone company does DSL, the cable provider (usually a local-government-enforced monopoly, by the way), so-called "3G" access - over the cell-phone network.

    A relatively new option is satellite internet. Check out Hughes net satellite service, which covers absolutely everywhere. This means that even people in rural areas have at least one option (satellite), and probably at least two. (Check out

    Are the "other" options more expensive? maybe. It is nonetheless competition.

    The fact that this business is profitable guarantees that more players are fighting to offer even more options to customers not currently served, and to take customers from existing ISPs.

    Inject government control into this, and that innovation will be stifled. This is a bad idea.

    Since when does not having enough choice of options justify government interference in an industry that did not exist 30 years ago? The internet is very useful, but is hardly essential. The "not enough options justifies government mandates" logic has no limits. Should the FTC should be dictating which brands of computers should be carried in stores so everyone gets a "good" choice of computers? Should the government be dictating good selection in grocery stores? Restaurants?

    No. Having a free society and private property means not everyone gets what he wants. That's how it works.

    Note that the telecommunications market is changing and evolving extremely rapidly. That evolution is caused both by the innovation of the telcos, and also by the freedom customers have to switch between vendors. Any regulation (like net neutrality) will inhibit disfavored vendor innovation, while protecting existing (read: politically connected) vendors. The net result will be the sort of stagnation that will reduce options, and raise prices to consumers, while protecting incumbent vendors.

    Net Neutrality is a bad idea. It will not even do what its proponents claim, and will do great damage along the way.

  20. Comment

    I am not sure that your post supports the idea of net neutrality being in danger of regulation and being contolled by impending large corporations like telecoms?? - or supports concerned internet users that voice their passion to monitor special interest groups that when their given the green light will turn something free and open into something segmented and commercial. Its seems there is some of both points of view in the post.

    Its true; the net is not really free when everyone pays to use the internet through a ISP but the larger picture in my opinion is communication, through any node ,which is what the net was originally intended to be used for.

    From Wikipedia

    Network neutrality (also net neutrality, Internet neutrality) is a principle proposed for user access networks participating in the Internet that advocates no restrictions on content, sites, or platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and on the modes of communication allowed, as well as communication that is not unreasonably degraded by other traffic.

  21. Comment

    ErikCorona's right unfortunately some places might only have 1 ISP or to make matters even worse none at all as there are some unserved areas of the country. Internet in my town is a little better than where ErikCorona lives as we have a choice of two ISPs it would seem Qwest or Time Warner Cable's Road Runner (have never tried DSL but cable company ads by TWC say Road Runner is faster than DSL) not sure which side to believe -- for all intents and purposes chose Time Warner Cable's Road Runner and while far from perfect is somewhat fast. Without Net Neutrality both Qwest and TWC could discriminate against my choice of websites I visit. TWC wanting to protect their digital cable TV business from competition has been seeking to subsidize it by bundling cable Internet with cable TV and could without Net Neutrality try a TV Everywhere scheme to force Internet users to pay for digital cable TV if they want Internet TV.

    Even then we only have a choice of 1 cable provider or 1 DSL provider what if both are bad and what if both are attempting to block different services. Consumers should have the maximum amount of choice possible nationwide in each city -- having 3 or 4 ISPs per town would be much better than the 1 or 2 currently available in the areas that have access. To add to that yes sometimes you don't want too many providers causing too much confusion but a few more choices provided the choices are better than existing ones would be good. Government should promote and mandate competition, affordable prices etc to encourage more broadband deployment and close The Digital Divide separating people with access from those who don't have it at all while preserving Net Neutrality.

  22. Comment

    In some small towns we have a limited choice for buying auto parts. We have to go to the city to get parts or order from a catalog.

    That is natural and normal. What we see in Internet access is not something weird.

    We do see some limitations, but those are caused by government intervention. I suspect much of that intervention was cheered on by those calling for even more intervention. City councils granted exclusive access. States limited access to technologies that favored certain companies. Feds provided subsidies for some providers or technologies that favored certain providers.

    Why do we see limitations? It is sometimes just natural, but usually it is government. Why do we need even more government intervention?

    Even so, almost every time I checked it out after somebody says he has only one access source, I find several. What they mean is that they found only one source at the best stated bandwidth and the best price. Well, duh.

    The market works well. Government intervention into the market, when it works, always works worse.

  23. Comment

    Seriously...Seriously you guys can sling out this hash with half truths and no ioda of the reality. Im sorry it would almost funny if it wasn't determental to our society. America needs the internet we will continue to need the internet period. This mythical world where people stop innovating in broadband field because the internet should be maintained the way it is doesn't exist. What will happen is the shady practices of content restriction will be a thing of the past. Seriously though if you want your traffic filtered do it yourself and save us from your premade talking points. And to the original post there is concrete evidence that the telecoms is enroaching on net neutrality. As current as this year. You do realize that we give the telecoms money to build the physical lines right? The government is already invovled with thier "building of network capacity".

    "Here is where all the phonys put their propaganda"

  24. Comment

    'Highly competitive'--where do you buy your broadband? I live in Chicago, and I can't buy a 30 Mbps connection. Not 'it's available but I can't afford it'--it's just not here. Folks in Paris can, for cheap. Why is that? Maybe it has something to do with the short list of providers here.

    If you accept the phone/cable duopoly, you accept this kind of limited service. I'd advocate European-style pro-competitive regulation over Net Neutrality (that's a concept that might make Glenn Beck's head spin), but since that's kind of a non-starter here--our telecom empires demand fealty--Net Neutrality is better than letting them do whatever they want.

  25. Comment

    Let's be clear about something. 30 Mb/s connectivity is expensive to build and support. Don't get sucked in by the marketing materials. Talk to some people who actually use the so-called "30 Mb/s" service.

    I have no doubt that either it is not nearly as wonderful as it appears, or it is extraordinarily expensive for the (French) taxpayers, and therefore only available to a few locations.

    There is no conspiracy to withhold bandwidth from the masses in the US.

    There is also no Easter Bunny, and no free lunch.

    The Sprint 4g project promises to provide 10 MB/s service over the "cell network" and is very competitive and also attractive at $59/month. It's not in my area yet, but I will look at it hard when it arrives.

    This is competition. Some Network Neutrality proponents propose that the FCC should be able to decide how much cell network bandwidth should be allocated to voice and how much to data. That sort of rulemaking would cast doubt on whether a 4g-style project could make money, and effectively kill it.

    Is that what we want?

    Network Neutrality rules are a terrible idea, and should be opposed.

  26. Comment

    Let me be clear, I have mixed feelings about Net Neutrality as proposed. In terms of regulating preferential service to particular network endpoints, I'm strongly in favor of that. My ISP should not be able to make deals with any provider to give better access to its audience than its competitors.

    If you don't think that would happen, you haven't been paying attention to Ed Whitacre and various other telecom CEOs. They'd love nothing less. And their monopolistic intentions are obvious. Big telecom companies only have one playbook.

    Here's an interesting article with a very interesting chart:

    "We find that in countries where an engaged regulator enforced open access obligations, competitors that entered using these open access facilities provided an important catalyst for the development of robust competition which, in most cases, contributed to strong broadband performance across a range of metrics. Today these competitors continue to play, directly or through successor companies, a central role in the competitiveness of the markets they inhabit. Incumbents almost always resist this regulation, and the degree to which a regulator is professional, engaged, and effective appears to play a role in the extent to which open access is successfully implemented with positive effects."

    Free market ideology meets network externalities, and suffers a blow from those who actually pay attention to what's really happening in the real world.

    There's no free lunch unless you are a monopoly, locally or globally. The question is, how will the state use its monopoly?

  27. Comment

    Without Net Neutrality , companies will be able to prevent you from reaching this website and posting your opinion here in many ways. One of the ways they could do that is by not letting you easy access to website that has discussions and information relevant to the issue in hand. All who are posting here should consider that they may no longer be able to voice their opinions in many websites your ISP doesn't like. You should also consider that, unlike TV stations and Radio stations, you don't have much choice as to what kind of carriers are available, and once chosen, you are stuck with them for some time, or give up internet access for several days as you wait for another company with their own sets of restriction, some likely to be political, to arrive and install their outlet at your place.

  28. Comment

    By the logic of "Net Neutrality", Newspapers, grocery stores, and movie studios should have government bureaucrats overseeing their operations, lest they not treat customers "fairly".

    The fact is that this internet "discriminatory power" already exists, and is not used in the ways that Net Neutrality proponents fear. The threat simply does not exist.

    The damage to be done by Net Neutrality is very real, because it will wipe out an entire class of services that are currently driving internet innovation. The entire internet community will be poorer as a result.

    This conversation reminds me of the conversations in the early 20th century about confiscation of property in nations that were undergoing "socialist" revolutions.

    Yes, there is wealth that can be confiscated. Yes, there are benefits of doing that. The problem is that after you seize the wealth of the "rich", and re-distribute it, the people who created the wealth (built the internet) are not going to continue to improve, innovate and invest in what is now someone else's property. No profit potential, no innovation.

    Net Neutrality - besides being an unjustified intrusion on private property rights - is a bad idea and should be opposed by anyone who cares about the future of the internet.

  29. Comment

    Best case scenario to maintain Network Neutrality divide Internet companies into Service Providers (pipes only) and Application Providers. Unfortunately, during Bush Cheney Administration years anti competitive, anti consumer mega mergers were approved reducing competition and consumer choice in the market. AT&T once Ma Bell broken up to create competition in the long distance wireline phone market they had a monopoly on has since been allowed to re-merge with Baby Bells SBC Communications & Bell South. In a more competitive market the big broadband providers could not exert the amount of control they do currently the recipe for corruption that exists in these big power hungry, greedy corporations wanting to control technologies and dictate to consumers how we may use them -- to be free to act discriminatively and abuse consumers would not have the incentive to try to monopolize the Internet as the duopoly Big Cable and phone companies want.

    What is needed is broadband policies that encourage universal open access and maximum public participation. Open communications networks are beneficial for consumers. Without Net Neutrality Twitter would not have existed, the Googles and Yahoos of the world would have to get permission to innovate from ISPs. I have often advocated for Net Neutrality and policies for universal broadband. I've also advocated for open wireless communications networks. When former President George W. Bush entered office as President in 2001 the U.S. was ranked 4th worldwide in terms of broadband Internet penetration -- the U.S. Government had common carrier regulations in place for broadband companies -- we had plenty of competitive, and affordable choices. So what happened U.S. abandons regulatory commitment to the Internet and allows mega mergers. Companies including AT&T which promised to build out their broadband networks and deploy all over the country gradually -- and compete effectively with other providers to win over customers as soon as they were allowed to merge -- and competition reduced discontinued the level of broadband deployment previously planned. Simply put they broke their promises once they were allowed to merge with other companies. The FCC reclassified broadband a Title I information service to deregulate broadband and let big companies get bigger and do as they pleased.

    U.S. fell behind the rest of the world in broadband penetration as our deployment and adoption declined -- why did this happen -- other countries maintained regulatory frameworks mandating competition and broadband providers kept more affordable prices. We pay more for broadband access in the U.S. than people in the countries of Europe do often for slower speeds than people in the EU get. Today we are ranked 17th or 21st in the world in terms of broadband Internet penetration. The wireless market is currently an oligopoly -- wire-line phone market was like this once but Carterfone ruling by the FCC forced the wire-line market open. There was a time when buying wire-line phone service your provider dictated what phones worked with its service. Today you can use any land line phone with any wire-line provider. Same should be true in wireless. If it were not for the Carterfone ruling allowing this the invention of the fax machine may not have happened -- that was an innovation that required wholesale open access in wire-line phone market to proceed. Wholesale open access is the rule allowing consumers freedom to choose their phone and carrier separately. While traditional fixed wire-line broadband is a duopoly market today of big cable and telecom companies the wireless phone market is an oligopoly of just 4 major national wireless carriers AT&T Wireless, Sprint Nextel, T Mobile, Verizon Wireless. There was a 5th carrier Cingular but AT&T was allowed to merge with it reducing competition from 5 to 4 companies. There were also rural carriers like All Tel Wireless -- All Tel was allowed to merge with Verizon Wireless.

    There are still some other carriers Boost Mobile, CREDO Mobile (which funds progressive causes), and probably a few more I can't think of still available but are not as well established as the major carriers. The way the wireless market is right now carriers may boast of having some innovative phones like AT&T talking up iPhone but for every innovative device allowed on to a carrier's network consider what devices aren't allowed to be made and distributed. The carriers dictate who can innovate when, and how. While the market is already innovative it would be far more innovative if we could choose to use the devices of our choice on the carrier of our choice. If it makes sense for wire-line it makes sense for wireless also. Carriers may try to argue that their networks are too fragile to handle it in front of Congress but then boast how great they are to consumers.

    Like the companies owning TV channels and radio stations the communications companies owning wireless networks have government licensed spectrum they can use -- the airwaves are rented to them to use -- they are public airwaves and they should be made to serve the public interest -- if they won't serve the public interest revoke their licenses and give it to another entity that will serve the public interest.

    The Internet was originally created by government -- today's Internet is a collection of public/private networks and it is essential that some oversight of broadband and some regulatory authority exist in the federal government in the form of the FCC or another agency -- FCC is the agency that had this authority and weakened their authority by reclassifying broadband an information service -- they lost authority to regulate broadband using Title I so must use Title II instead to protect consumers and be able to implement The National Broadband Plan. It is essential a people powered Internet be put first. I agree that over regulation of any market can be harmful keep in mind in Europe the regulations they have are far more reaching than those now proposed as part of Title II reclassification to restore lost authority. In fact Europe has line sharing rules on broadband and has a far more competitive market in fact an EU Commissioner last year boasted that Net Neutrality is better in Europe.

    Nevertheless, no regulation can be just as bad there has to be a middle ground. Congress under the 1996 Telecommunications Act intended for the FCC to regulate broadband a telecommunications service and to implement line sharing rules on U.S. broadband providers. AT&T hated this and complained to the courts. They got the courts to side with them -- whatever parts the courts didn't strike down unconstitutional the FCC under the Bush Administration was more than happy to ignore and/or get rid of.

    Right now the debate is whether to preserve Net Neutrality and reclassify broadband using a third way approach under Title II but make some exemptions to exempt broadband from line sharing and price control. Seems perfectly reasonable and fair to do this third way its at least a start to the FCC regaining lost authority Congress intended it to originally have. Net Neutrality is not a government takeover of the Internet at all. Net Neutrality has always historically been part of telecommunications law and as long as it was enshrined firmly in law and its future not debatable no ISP dared try to mess with the Internet. Since 2005 when the FCC's Internet Policy Statement was published in which the FCC failed to list the Net Neutrality rule of nondiscrimination that had always existed the major broadband providers let it be known they intended to start lobbying against Net Neutrality and began to try to discriminate -- already Comcast tried blocking Bit Torrent, was caught trying to do so sometime late in 2007, reported to the FCC and fined in 2008 while Mr. Bush was still President using Title I ancillary authority. Comcast though filed suit -- when a big corporation breaks a law -- they are greedy, reckless businesses that don't care about public welfare, public interest at all just want to maximize their profits and over-charge us for Internet access -- they want to establish tiered pricing and charge us for faster speeds, for more bandwidth use etc. Cable company ISPs want to block or slowdown our access to Internet Protocol Television services to protect their digital cable TV business in a rather anti competitive and anti consumer way. Big telecoms may want to do the same with Voice Over Internet Protocol services. Net Neutrality in some ways is the First Amendment for the Internet -- it protects individual free speech online from corporate censorship. If its wrong for government censorship to occur its wrong for corporations to do it. Under Net Neutrality such behavior is not only immoral but illegal.

    What needs to happen is keep this a democratic medium -- mandate openness and nondiscrimination so ISPs have to practice reasonable network management. We had Net Neutrality rules and regulations for broadband -- broadband was deregulated and we lost the old rules -- we need to now put in new rules that are just as effective. Some may raise concerns that rules may hamper investment -- but an Open Internet is more innovative and more convenient for investment. Rules to keep the Internet open will benefit investment not harm investment so long as the FCC does not overreach at this time though and try to impose restrictive line sharing/price control rules which they are exempting from reclassification though. They don;'t want to over regulate that investment suffers but can't leave the Net unregulated and allow the Internet to become closed.

    The Future of Music Coalition a group that represents independent musicians interests, Americans for the Arts a group supportive of the arts in general and artists who need an Open Internet -- that enables creativity, enables indy musicians for example to distribute their own works without being signed with a major record label that underpays performers and mistreats customers. An Open Internet enables self promotion, discovery distribution mechanisms -- its empowers artists and musicians to reach out to fans directly and remove the middlemen. That's why Future of Music Coalition supports peer 2 peer file sharing technology that major labels despise. It enables music discovery -- for indy musicians who could not get on radio because of payola or pay for play a scandalous activity where major labels bribe radio stations to only play RIAA approved music. The ultraconservative Christian Coalition even supports Net Neutrality and was petitioning the FCC back in 2008 to Save The Internet alongside an unlikely ally the liberal Together they helped President Barack Obama a supporter of policies to keep the Internet open and push universal broadband who was a U.S. Senator and candidate for Presidential office at that time get elected President. Keeping the Internet open can enable more public participation. Either we allow the Net to be closed -- sacrifice it to corporate power as radio, TV and cable TV were or keep it open for the public.

    These companies should not be able to slowdown or block access to specific websites, mess with our speeds, prioritize/discriminate against some web content, applications, services over others in an anti competitive manner. They should not be allowed to start price gouging Internet users more than they are already. Every American citizen should be capable of having equal, affordable, neutral, nondiscriminatory, universal, open access to broadband Internet service if they so choose regardless of income, their place of residence -- whether they live in an urban or rural area, status in society as part of a minority etc or the majority should not matter. Everyone who wants to have access should be able to have it. Deployment should be increased more in unserved areas without a provider, and service improved in under-served areas that have service but service is not that good.

    We need open, universal access to online communications networks.

  30. Comment

    Update: When speaking out in favor of dividing companies into service providers and Application Providers -- Application Providers could include content companies for example. Broadband should be classified a Title II telecommunications service -- as broadband is a high speed Internet service a fast way to access the Internet while services accessed via the Internet like Internet Protocol Television ("IPTV") that can be accessed using the Internet may be classified Title I information services. Content and applications on the Web are informational services service to the web is a telecommunications service though.

    Obviously Comcast NBC Universal should be rejected -- allowing further mega mergers is bad -- and if this deal is approved will pave the way for more anti competitive mega mergers -- allowing Comcast which already has tried to mess with the Open Internet and has a conflict of interest with "TV Everywhere" an anti competitive, anti consumer pay-wall to lock down "IPTV" and force Web users to subscribe to digital cable TV to access video online to own a content company will create an even bigger conflict of interest.

  31. Comment

    Egads! Pangy has produced another voluminous tome filled with prescriptions for imaginary diseases.

    I may believe that I can make better decisions than my neighbor, but that does not give me the right to decide what he should do.

    As much as he wishes it were so, the internet is not publicly owned, but a collection of privately owned facilities. The government has no right to dictate how those privately owned networks should be used. The courts recently said that the FCC has no authority. It should end there.

    Network "neutrality" remains a bad idea. Wrong on morality. Wrong on law, and wrong on economic policy.

  32. Comment

    Net Neutrality has always been part of telecommunications law and ISPs have always been required to comply with it. It is essential to preserve Network Neutrality to preserve the Open Internet. Without Net Neutrality the future Googles and Yahoos of the world would need permission from the incumbent ISPs to innovate. Currently, any web entrepreneur can start s web based business and succeed based on the merits of the product/service being offered. Incumbent high speed Internet providers cannot slowdown user's speeds or block connections to specific websites the ISPs dislike as that would be tantamount to corporate censorship and under Network Neutrality rules is illegal. Corporations should not be allowed to become corporate gatekeepers and discriminate against users and specific websites they dislike. As such cable company ISPs should not be allowed to discriminate against websites on the Internet like YouTube offering web video content because video services over the Web compete with the cable company ISP's digital cable TV services. That is anti competitive. It is tantamount to AT&T blocking users from signing up with Skype or with Vonage as their wire-line home phone service provider because Voice Over Internet Protocol providers compete with AT&T's long distance wire-line service. A company like AT&T should not be allowed to block VOIP services on the Web from being used by consumers just because it competes with a product/service AT&T offers.

    Free market capitalism requires free and open markets -- Teddy Roosevelt a Republican championed the nation's antitrust laws during his Presidency. Without Net Neutrality Facebook and Twitter could not have been developed. Facebook is supporting Net Neutrality -- their not the only ones. The founders of YouTube support Net Neutrality and Google, the search engine company supports it. The Future of Music Coalition which represents the interests of indy musicians and opposes the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)'s control of the music market as RIAA labels underpay artists, and often treat customers like dirt supports Net Neutrality and the Open Internet. So does Americans for the Arts, the ultraconservative and religious Christian Coalition which published on its website back in 2008 a petition to Save The Internet and an essay on the Conservative Case for preserving Net Neutrality. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (ACLU for the Internet) supports Net Neutrality but wants to ensure government censorship doesn't occur on the Web. Progressive and liberal groups like The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and also support Net Neutrality and the Open Internet.

    Open universal access should be made available to all Americans who want to be able to access it. Equal, affordable, open, universal access should be available to everyone regardless of income, location of residence (urban or rural), skin color, national origin, ethnicity, disability, age, gender, sexual orientation etc -- point is nondiscriminatory open, universal access to all Americans that way the U.S. can compete with other nations in the global digital economy. Investments made to expand broadband deployment under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act are a good start but until we have more competitive, affordable options for service adoption won't increase as much as it needs to in order to end the Digital Divide separating those with high speed Internet access from those without.

    We have to acknowledge history and undo the Bush Cheney era broadband policies. When they entered office after all U.S. was ranked 4th worldwide in terms of broadband Internet penetration and there were more regulations in place on broadband providers) -- now except for Net Neutrality rules there are no regulations (removing Net Neutrality is tantamount to complete deregulation with no regulations, no rules and no oversight requirements) otherwise in effect. I can agree that over regulation can be bad but so too is total deregulation. Today the high speed Internet access market is less competitive and affordable than it was when Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney became President and Vice President. We have to restore the rules that existed during the 1990s under the Clinton Gore Administration and restore the level of competition and affordable prices that existed at that time in the broadband marketplace. Open access encourages greater public participation - than allowing total corporate control.

    For supporters of universal access (there are some who say they support universal broadband but oppose Net Neutrality regulations -- they may be called out for abhorring transparency) what is the point in making high speed Internet available to all when its not open and universal. The future of the media by the way does not belong to AT&T. Verizon, Clear Channel, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, or Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. The future of the media belongs to us -- all of us and all U.S. citizens. The Internet represents the future of all media and must remain open to the public. Put a people powered Internet first.

  33. Comment

    Nice try, but it's mostly nonsense.

    We have open, competitive internet today not because of, but in spite of government policies.

    It is not true that an "open internet" is in "telecommunications law". The recent attempt by the FCC to impose "net neutrality" is effectively what the appeals court recently nixed. The FCC is now trying to do exactly what Pangy is suggesting, but it requires putting the internet in the category of "common carrier" services. This boils down to regulating the internet as another "public utility", like the old POTS voice service.

    Think about that. The voice service that is dying because the technology is making it obsolete, and because customers don't want it. The carriers are trying to abandon land-line phone service in some cases because the business model doesn't work. Part of the problem is the fact that the carriers are hamstrung with taxes, regulations and rules so they can't respond to market pressures, and (sometimes) can't make money.

    Is this what we want on the internet? If so, go with Pangy's ideas. If not, if you want the internet that we know and love - dynamic, innovative and unpredictable - leave it alone.

    The process of transforming the internet into such a "common carrier" status will take _years_, and will be opposed by many in the industry. It won't happen if I have anything to say about it.

    Net Neutrality is a recipe for the destruction of the business model(s) that drive the internet, and therefore the destruction of the internet as we know it. It is a bad idea.

  34. Comment

    Net Neutrality historically has always been the law of the Internet -- before Bush and Cheney came in broadband service was treated as common carrier. This was a good thing and needs to be restored to common carrier status. Its like a First Amendment for the Internet to prevent corporate censorship. U.S. at time Mr. Bush became President was ranked 4th in the world in terms of broadband Internet penetration (breakup of Ma Bell more than a decade ago was good for consumers, competition, and innovation) public policies that benefit public should be implemented. Selling out Internet to corporations is the same as allowing Big Oil, and Big Banks to do whatever they want. Open access encourages greater public participation. There are some who say they support universal access but oppose Net Neutrality they are rightly criticized as abhorring transparency.

    For the longest time Net Neutrality was law and no company dared to challenge it. When AT&T was allowed to put Ma Bell back together they were told that they had to wait 2 years to lobby against Net Neutrality. Since Net Neutrality's future began to come into question ISPs who did not dare try to discriminate before 2005 have started experimenting with the idea of offering tiered service. What's so bad about that you might ask? Individuals with limited incomes who end up exceeding the bandwidth limits get screwed with big charges for exceeding their limit.It will only help the incumbent ISPs who just want to continue to milk the infrastructure that we gave them without investing to increase capacity.

    Before 2005 AT&T was doing more network upgrades and expanding bandwidth since being allowed to put Ma Bell back together they are sitting on the money they have rather than using it to provide better service. They can afford to upgrade bandwidth but are too big and greedy to do so. They know the market is not competitive enough -- that if they refuse to upgrade no other company will come making the upgrades and force AT&T to upgrade to keep up. The other incumbents are also unwilling to make costly upgrades -- they know they can afford to make but don't want to make. Their new policy is to try to limit bandwidth and force users onto tiered pricing plans. Before 2005 Net Neutrality wasn't even an issue. it was law but it wasn't being debated. It was firmly in place and broadband providers had to comply with it and did so without lobbying.

    Starting in 2005 a new wave of anti competitive, anti consumer mega mergers occurred and big communications companies offering broadband service decided they would start lobbying Congress to change laws in their favor. Any time a big corporation breaks a law in the public interest that a corporation though does not like they lobby to change the laws. Even if the law protects the public corporations don't care. They want laws re-written to benefit the corporate special interests.

    I will continue to support the Open Internet and Network Neutrality. Whether the issue is financial reform, Network Neutrality, climate and clean energy legislation I'll support consumer protection and in the case of energy will support environmental protections and rules to guarantee public safety. The Appeals Court ruling in Comcast v. FCC said the FCC could not use Title I to protect Net Neutrality. If broadband is classified an information service the FCC has no regulatory authority on it. Fortunately, they did not say the FCC cannot reclassify broadband to protect this telecommunications service from corporate gatekeepers. To that end fortunately the FCC is now seeking public comment on Title II reclassification as a telecommunications service and is leaning toward protecting the Open Internet in this way.

    Since 2005 broadband providers have started trying to mess with Net Neutrality. Take Comcast's attempts to block Bit Torrent and/or slowdown users connections to that peer 2 peer file sharing service back in 2007-2008 period. It's bad enough they were discriminating against Bit Torrent but they tried to lie that they weren't even then -- they were being deceptive. Comcast has said repeatedly they could not discriminate and if they did they would lose customers. However, thats not entirely true. Most of the incumbent providers would like to discriminate if they could -- before 2005 Net Neutrality's future was not in question it was firmly in law and not being debated. Since it is being debated now broadband providers are trying to discriminate and when their caught trying to mess with the Open Internet and punished for doing so they lobby to get the law changed. The law is the law but their like we don't like the law we'll bribe Congress and lobby them to change it.

    They never tried to discriminate against web users before 2005 which is when Net Neutrality's future started to become uncertain.

    Also, Net Neutrality should be extended to wireless mobile broadband. Cellular phone users should be able to use the mobile applications of their choice over their carrier's network. AT&T should not be allowed to block VOIP calls from being made over their 3G or even 4G network when their 4G network is made available. The spectrum that wireless carriers, TV broadcasters, and even wire-line broadband providers use belongs to the public -- it was originally licensed to these companies to use by the federal government.

    Cellular phone networks should also comply with wholesale open access rules. That is the Carterfone ruling be extended so any cellular phone be permitted to run on any wireless network and consumers can choose the carrier of his/her choice based on merits of service. Often times when choosing cellular phones consumers choose their carrier based on what phone they want. You want an iPhone you have to use AT&T. Carriers may complain to Congress their networks are too weak to allow being opened but then boast to consumers how great their networks are. A total double standard this is.

    If their too weak their licenses should be revoked and given to companies with better infrastructure who can afford to provide wholesale open access and not damage their networks in the process. If their networks aren't too weak they should be compelled to open them. Wireless carriers may say what's the big deal we're already innovating. However, as consumers we won't know what we're missing out until wireless is forced open. Were it not for the Carterfone ruling the innovation of the fax machine would not have occurred. Being able to use the mobile device of your choice on any wireless network just as consumers can already use the wire-line phone of their choice with any wire-line phone service provider can provide lots of great benefits.

    Wireless should be as open as wireline -- in doing so more competition can develop and more innovation occur. Innovation with closed wireless networks still occurs but only when the carriers allow innovation to take place. Innovation with closed wireless is slower and less often then. AT&T may say look at the iPhone its innovative but just think about the innovative products not allowed because wireless networks are closed. More innovation may occur in a world of open wireless networks.

  35. Comment

    Long, passionate and heartfelt posts containing nonsense are still nonsense.

    "The internet" is not, and has never been a "common carrier" service. It is not a public utility, and is privately owned. It came into being because a collection of institutions and businesses invested substantial sums of money, all expecting advantages from their investments - namely "ownership" of the bandwidth of the pipes they constructed. Improvement of that infrastructure depends on continued investment. That investment won't happen unless the investors can make money.

    The internet works. Thank you. I am using those networks to post this comment. I give no credence to the random ideologues like pangy who blithely declare that if HE ran the circus, it would be SO MUCH better. I repeat - if he's so smart, and can improve the operations of the telcos and ISPs, he has a great future as a consultant or in management.

    He's wrong. That's why he's posting here rather than re-organizing telcos.

    Policies that prohibit "discrimination" over things like Bit Torrent lead to something called the "tragedy of the commons". Every misguided utopian leftist should read up on that.

    I have read many times that "Net Neutrality" will NOT regulate "content". How is forcing carriers to allow Bit Torrent not "regulating content"? To enforce such a rule, the FCC has to KNOW that Bit Torrent is being used.

    The reality is that for any given technology and infrastructure, capacity is limited. Markets work very well to balance demand and supply. Arbitrary rules (like "net Neutrality") lead unavoidably to market failures. (See Nixon: price controls and many friends)

    The best, quickest and surest way to kill the internet revolution and the progress of communications technology would be to give political appointees power to micro-manage prices and services. This is not just unwise. It is stupid. It has been tried. Look at France and the MiniTel in the 1980s.

    (The MiniTel debacle was the same leftist, utopian nonsense. It was a great waste of money. It fostered a huge pile of regulations on French telecom. (barriers to competition to keep the MiniTel dream alive) In the end, it set back telecom infrastructure advance 10 years (in my opinion) before it was finally abandoned.)

    Net Neutrality is a bad idea. It is unwise. It is poor policy, even if you believe it is morally justifiable. (It's not) I will continue to oppose it, and urge everyone I know to do the same.

  36. Comment

    There's good news from Canada now. For anyone living in Canada the CRTC is extending Network Neutrality rules of open access to mobile wireless broadband services. Network Neutrality rules to keep the Internet open and free of corporate censorship and discrimination is being extended from fixed wire-line broadband (Cable and DSL) to mobile broadband providers. The CRTC has updated the framework they have for Net Neutrality rules to protect wireless Internet users. Meanwhile we're debating whether to preserve Net Neutrality rules in the U.S. for fixed wire-line providers!? We should be extending Net Neutrality to mobile wireless not arguing over whether to preserve Net Neutrality rules that exist for traditional wireline companies. Here's a link to the article reporting on the CRTC extending Net Neutrality to wireless.

    Also for a visual history of how we reached this moment where corporations are trying to takeover the Internet which also depicts grassroots public efforts to save the Net.

    Thanks to deregulation during the 8 year Bush Cheney Administration (which failed to implement antitrust laws and enforce competition) and approved mega mergers (allowing AT&T to re-merge after breakup of Ma Bell more than a decade ago did not provide much consumer benefit -- the breakup was good for consumers and competition but the re-merger of AT&T with SBC Communications and Bell South barely helped consumers if it did at all) today there is a duopoly thanks to Mr. Bush's policies in the high speed Internet access market. Free Press recently launched a section of their website titled Corruption Road showing how big telecoms with all their money and astroturf groups pollute the political process and block out the public interest. Here's the link:

    It says the phone and cable companies are more concerned about consolidating control and raising prices than providing good service and enabling the Web to remain democratic.

    Already we pay broadband providers more for slower speeds than European consumers do (they pay less for faster speeds) and they have more choices. We have a duopoly market with 1 or only 2 providers in each local market nationwide. Most of the time we can choose only between 1 cable provider or 1 phone company offering DSl when we decide to sign up for fixed wire-line broadband. Some cities have had no broadband service at all as the major incumbent providers don't want to expand deployment in some communities they feel its too costly too deploy to. Even if they can afford to deploy they don't want to improve and/or expand service but just sit on the profits they're already making. In Europe though some places have at least 7 or 8 broadband providers available.

    Competition in the high speed Internet access market needs to increase and speeds need to improve for high speed Internet. Under-served areas need to be fully served and un-served areas need to become served. The incumbents don't like competition and do everything they can to prevent new competition from developing. When cities try to deploy their own broadband services they try to sue the towns doing so. If its a smaller company trying to deploy over power lines they use their market power and block smaller companies from deploying access.

    We need to be more globally competitive with other nations of the world. We need wholesale open access for mobile phones. Until we get it we don't know what we're missing out. Sure the market is already innovative but the carriers control what innovative new products are allowed. The FCC"s Carterfone ruling mandating wholesale open access on wire-line phone service paved the way for the innovation of the fax machine. Without the Carterfone ruling we may not have had the fax machine. In a closed market innovation still occurs but at a slower pace and the companies controlling the market control which innovative products are allowed to enter the market and when.

    For consumers it makes sense to have open wireless networks. If the carriers say their networks are too fragile to be opened up to Congress but then boast how great they are to consumers that's a double standard. If their networks are too weak their spectrum licenses should be revoked. The spectrum was licensed to them by government -- they must serve the public interest in order to be able to continue using them.

    If their networks are too weak their spectrum should be taken away and licensed to companies that can build out stronger more robust networks and those companies be required to offer open access. Use any device with any carrier. Whether the carrier's network is strong or weak it should be open to use with any device.

    Carriers with poor networks can have spectrum taken away and given to companies with stronger networks who will be required to offer open access. If the carrier's network is strong they should be obligated to open their network. When transitioning to future technology like 4G all carriers should be required to adopt the same standard (LTE or WiMAX) whichever one is chosen all carriers must use same standard and offer unlocked phones so you can take a phone from AT&T for example. and use it on Sprint, Verizon, T Mobile or any carrier and vice versa.

    Not regulating ISPs is tantamount to saying they can regulate themselves. Do we really trust corporations like BP to self regulate after its oil spill in Gulf of Mexico? Same can be said of AT&T, Verizon and the communications companies. Their has to be some basic rules of the road all the ISPs have to follow and oversight to ensure they follow the rules. When a company breaks the law the agency responsible for regulating the market that said company is in can and should bring enforcement actions to that company,

  37. Comment

    Like any public utility (electrical transmission lines, phone service) broadband should be regulated as a common carrier service. The Internet should be seen in the same light as something that benefits the public and the providers shouldn't be able to play favorites. One company shouldn't be allowed to have its films, music or other content download faster than its rivals.

  38. Comment

    Sorry for the double post wanted to share an excerpt of an article that lays the case for why Net Neutrality is needed but forgot to include the link:

    Like any public utility (electrical transmission lines, phone service) broadband should be regulated as a common carrier service. The Internet should be seen in the same light as something that benefits the public and the providers shouldn't be able to play favorites. One company shouldn't be allowed to have its films, music or other content download faster than its rivals.

  39. Comment

    Iromically without Net Neutrality even individual critics of Net Neutrality could suffer. Net Neutrality protects individual free speech online from corporate censorship.

    Net Neutrality is Free Speech for everyone especially for TeaBaggers, anti government, anti immigration advocates, anti constitutionalists, anti Blacks, anti America, anti Catholics, Anti Gays, anti Obama, anti Social Security, anti peace, anti national health insurance, anti progressives, anti bank regulations, anti oil regulations, anti gays, anti immigrants, anti Pro Choice, anti clean renewable Energy, anti social equality, anti jews, anti clean elections, anti unemployment checks, anti liberals, and anti Net Neutrality.

    AND Net Neutrality is Free Speech for Pro Privatization, pro segregationalists, pro Klansmen, Pro preemptive wars, pro, bottom line greed, pro dumping toxic chemicals in our water supply, pro blocking all Congressional legislation, pro torture, pro bank bailouts, pro drill baby drill, pro deregulation, pro Federal Reserve Central Bank, pro insurance and pharm monopolies, pro union busting, pro subsidizing tobacco and coal and oil industries. and pro corporate oligarchy, pro raising our national debt. Maintaining it is good for both Democratic and Republican voters. It's good for all Americans. Critics of regulation could even see their free speech censored online by big telecom and cable companies without Net Neutrality.


  40. Comment

    "I have read many times that "Net Neutrality" will NOT regulate "content". How is forcing carriers to allow Bit Torrent not "regulating content"? To enforce such a rule, the FCC has to KNOW that Bit Torrent is being used."

    That has got to be the dumbest statement made here so far by the orwellianly named telco industry lobbyist posting here known as "openinternet". Saying that nobody can regulate legal content is NOT regulation in the same spirit that having freedom of speech in the constitution is not limiting freedom of speech.

  41. Comment

    Net Neutrality - as discussed here - is control of the internet by a government agency. It is control of pricing and services, but also content, because "non-discrimination" requires knowledge and control of content.

    Government control is not free speech.

    Mr. Obama & friends are driving this today. Those who support this FCC interference in the free market and the expansion of FCC powers that it entails will regret the decision when George Bush V is in office.

    I don't want to go there. Our founding fathers were wise to give the federal government a strictly limited role.

    Net Neutrality is government control of the internet. It is a very bad idea.

  42. Comment

    Sorry openinternet, you're not a good lobbyist because you're just flat out wrong. Net neutrality makes it so that corporations can't regulate legal content on the internet, end of story. Why don't you start telling the truth? The government agency will not regulate content on the internet, and you're far too informed to really believe that. Making sure that corporations don't regulate and censor the internet is all net neutrality accomplishes.

  43. Comment

    The hope that the FCC will not regulate content is both naive and contrary to history and human nature. The FCC need not be explicitly prohibitive to be oppressive. Political considerations will always be paramount at the FCC - as they should be. It is foolish to think that future administrations will not look on the FCC as a tool to further their agendas.

    That is exactly what the Obama administration is doing, and you approve partly because you approve of the agenda.

    Ask the radio stations about how FCC regulation affected what they could carry in their programming during "fairness doctrine" days. Why do you suppose we don't have similar "non-discrimination" rules for other distribution mechanisms - like newspapers, magazines, books.

    So Called "Net Neutrality" is government control. It is a bad idea. It is exactly what the first few amendments to the constitution were intended to prevent.

  44. Comment

    "The hope that the FCC will not regulate content is both naive and contrary to history and human nature. "

    When a bill is proposed that actually tries to regulate internet content, you'll find me an ally in your quest to stop that from happening. However, right now, corporations are fighting for the legal right to regulate content, and you're helping THEM! Don't be a hypocrite. We should fight against any entity regulating the internet, be it government or corporations. Sorry, but your "slippery slope" logical fallacy is not convincing. I really wish you'd make your case without resorting to lies and hyperbole. Net neutrality does not allow the government to regulate content on the internet, but you already know that.

  45. Comment

    I agree ErikCorona that OpenInternet is being a hypocrite (we already established though he was a corporate shill earlier) and yes if Congress, the FCC or the White House ever tried to regulate Internet content I would also oppose such a measure. However, preserving Net Neutrality to prevent corporations from regulating Internet content is good public policy and needs to be maintained. By the way I hope the FCC is reading comments on this site and paying special attention to the arguments for why its needed.

  46. Comment

    PGK, you really don't understand anything do you?

    The government is US. WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT. We control it. If the government does something we don't like, we have the power to stop it and change it. True, the same elite upper-class buffoons and their circle of friends are the ones that get elected every year, but in the end if Americans want something done it gets done.

    Can you say the same for a corporation?

    You say crappy service will result in a loss of customers, yet AT&T is still the largest phone company out there. You say restricting access will be bad for business, but Comcast still has millions of subscribers, even though it blocks torrent sites (one of the most popular uses of the internet).

    People are, put simply, RETARDED. They'll put up with a LOT of BS before they say anything, to the point that those of us with actual intelligence are complaining years in advance of the majority. But if a corporation is running the show, WE CAN'T DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

    So please, tell me how giving control to a business, who's ONLY motive is profit, will be better than giving control to the government, who's motive is to keep people happy so it can stay in power?

  47. Comment

    Businesses can't throw you in jail or shut you down if you don't do as you're told. Governments can - and do.

    Governments do not work to please "users". They work to please "voters", and even in that, they are much less responsive than businesses, whose continued existence often depends on happy customers continuing to buy their products.

    Products are bought every day. Elections only happen once every few years.

    People love to complain about companies like Comcast, AT&T and Microsoft, but they also buy their products. If their products are so substandard, how do they continue to operate.

  48. Comment

    Do you enjoy your telephone, your TV, and your cell phone service? Net neutrality is just about giving the FCC the same regulation rights over the internet as they currently have over those other services. I'm pretty sure Cell companies and TV stations have not been run out of business by FCC regulation.

    This is about keeping the internet the way it is with some minimum regulations about what providers can and can't do to keep it the way it is today. Trust me, those that support Net Neutrality are not all about regulating everything, but internet companies have proved that they can't be trusted to self-regulate within their monopolies and duopolies. That's why we need FCC controls.

  49. Comment

    There needs to be regulation of something so important for all people to be able to use and contribute to. Don't think of regulation as a muzzle, but a protection from those who would choose to abuse control for their own benefit. The reason we have laws and regulations is so that things run smoothly with benefit to all. Those who would choose to 'privatize' everything would do it for their own benefit, period. Without regulation the abuse would be great--criminals don't have only dirty collars, some are starched and white. The FCC needs to make sure there are protections for all, not just those who can pay more.

  50. Comment

    The "no regulation" situation you describe is what we have today. The internet is entirely privately owned and operated, and the telecoms and ISPs are free to "control" whatever they wish. It is already fully "privatized". Where is the "great abuse"?

    The fact is that the net is built for customers, and vendors who "abuse" their customers go out of business. Regulation sounds benevolent and helpful, but eventually becomes a tool for advantage for incumbent vendors, particularly to keep out new competitive entrants. Everyone loses.

    FCC control of the internet is FCC control of the internet. Government is not particularly benevolent, nor particularly competent. Giving government (the FCC) more power is never something that should be done without compelling reason. There is no compelling reason here.

    Net Neutrality is a bad idea.

  51. Comment

    openinternet: AT&T (who likes to spy on Americans for US government) is not stupid. Comcast is not stupid. They will not abuse things until net neutrality is dead.

    Vendors who "abuse" their customers go out of business only when there is competition. Comcast and AT&T have INSANE market share not because they offer such high quality products, but because we have no alternative.

    Net neutrality is NOT FCC control of the internet, seriously, you're dumbing down the argument with arbitrary rhetoric and obviously going for the sound bites. Corporations can take away our freedoms just as well as the government can. Thankfully, doesn't allow the FCC to filter out legal content, which is what Corporations want to do in order to increase profits. We need the free market to decide whether or not an online business succeeds, not COMCAST or AT&T. They want to be the FED of the online world. I hope people are smart enough to see through dumbed down sound bites and Glenn Beck style fear-based rhetoric.

  52. Comment

    openinternet: I'd like to remind you that you defended the role of lobbyists in the legislative process. It's shameful that you so openly advocate for special interests controlling our government which now works mainly for corporations instead of the general US population. You're a total sell-out man.

  53. Comment

    There is a fundamental difference between corporations and government. Government is by definition the exercise of coercive power. Corporations only "control" you to the extent that they don't offer what you want. The comparison is just wrong.

    The idea that there is no competition in telecom is absurd. There are multiple competing networks, and more coming on line. Google is entering the market in a small way, and so are the wireless carriers. The telecoms come and go as the competitive landscape changes. They are all competing for customers, and trying to make money in any way they can. That's what businesses do.

    Net Neutrality IS government control of the net - by definition. It is a bad idea. No leftist rhetoric will change the facts, nor repeal the fundamental economic laws that make it such a bad idea.

  54. Comment

    Please man, anybody who knows anything about history knows that Corporations are just as capable as government in stripping us of our freedoms. AT&T helped with spying on Americans, remember? You forgetting about when corporations used to pay employees in credits that only worked in shops that they themselves owned? Government regulations put an end to that BS. Government regulations have a place in protecting us from abusive corporations.

    Net neutrality does not give control of the internet to the FCC genius. It makes it so that the internet remains neutral in the sense that nobody, not even the government, would have the authority to limit access to legal websites for any reason whatsoever. COMCAST and AT&T want to be the FED of the online world and Net Neutrality is saying "no you can't". It goes a step further declares nobody to have that authority, not even the FCC itself.

  55. Comment

    The difference between government and corporations (business) is that business is strictly consensual. i.e. no transaction takes place without the consent of both parties. AT&T has no power to FORCE you to do _anything_.

    Government does.

    Anecdotes about historical "abuse" are not relevant here. There are no "internet ghettos" with armed guards keeping employees in Comcast-owned housing at slave wages. Most of us, in a pinch, can get internet access at the local library.

    "Net Neutrality" as proposed gives the FCC _power_ that it currently does not possess. (see recent court cases) That power would not create new options, or build networks or technology. It would be used to _force_ existing businesses to use their property (the net) in ways that the FCC dictates. For instance, it may force networks to carry traffic that they do not wish to carry.

    You can spin that really hard, but it boils down to _control_.

    You can also say that it may be desirable from this or that point of view, but it is still _control_.

    There is no such thing as neutral. Internet bandwidth is not unlimited. Any "enforcement" by the FCC that forces carriers to carry more of some traffic, necessarily causes other traffic to move more slowly (or not at all). Comcast wants to *sell* the bandwidth on their network, just like all owners of assets want to get the most revenue possible out of their assets. If the FCC says they can't filter traffic, the net effect is to reduce the value of their asset. An impaired asset value reduces incentive to invest in that asset.

    Everyone loses.

    This was done on a large scale in the Ukraine in the 1920s and 30s. The result was farmers burying their tractors so the State could not share them "fairly".

    Net Neutrality is a terrible idea, based on utopian goals and false assumptions. It confiscates private property and asserts FCC control over network operations and traffic. It will destroy the internet as we know it because it will destroy incentive for investment and innovation. It transforms a dynamic, innovative and highly successful industry into a regulated monopoly. This is NOT progress.

  56. Comment

    Net Neutrality does not give the FCC control of the internet. Net Neutrality makes it law that the free market will dictate whether online businesses live or die.

    Competition in the ISP world is abysmal. It's virtually dead. I can go wither either AT&T and COMCAST and that's it! When monopolies exist, regulations HAVE TO protect consumers. Ideally, they'd break up the monopolies and in that case I wouldn't care about Net Neutrality at all. I'd just jump ship to an ISP that is not going for this huge power grab to become the FED of the online world.

  57. Comment
    Community Member

    I don't know why openinternet thinks there's these drastically viable options available for internet, when simply, there isn't.

    DSL - Too slow to stream HD Content.

    3G - Limited to 5GB a month usually, poor infrastructure, slow speeds.

    Satellite - Severe latency issues.

    Cable - Reasonable speeds, so-so upload.

    Fiber - Fastest with no real issues, limited availability.

    So let's be honest, the only real competition here is cable and fiber based on TECHNICAL MERITS. The others are viable as low cost solutions, but are NOT NECESSARILY VIABLE ALTERNATIVES as they DO NOT OFFER NECESSARY PERFORMANCE IN COMPARISON. Read that a couple times till you understand it.

    Now, how many cable companies do you have available in your area? How many fiber? I have ONE cable and NO fiber companies available. If the CABLE provider decides to throttle video streaming or charge to do so because it doesn't play into their VOD profits then I'm pretty much SCREWED based on the content I should be able to access based on what they advertise. Switching to another provider is NOT AN OPTION - I would not be able to stream on another technology at full resolution, or game with a decent ping, or have access to the same amount of content I do.

    I want net neutrality to prevent: blocking access to internat materials, throttling based on content, or throttling based on materials accessed.

    To preserve the current status quo or grow it net neutrality is necessary.

    Simple as that. It's not a censorship scheme, it's swatting telcos hands and saying "no, you're not allowed to interfere". We don't need a probable astro turf account telling us different.

  58. Comment

    Community Member is unhappy with his choices, but wants the FCC to somehow "enforce" the internet into better service. Good luck with that.

    The internet is an innovation and a technical achievement, built by people trying to make money. It is not an existing natural resource. The networks that compose the internet have all been built in places where customers are willing to pay enough for its construction to be profitable. That's how markets work to bring services to customers in free societies.

    (The word "viable" is an odd choice when talking about data speeds north of 1 MB/s. I don't see how speeds that only appeared on the market in the last few years or so should suddenly be a birthright. I remember being pretty thrilled when I went from 110 to 1200 baud, thinking that was pretty fast.)

    Internet speed is available (almost) anywhere, you just have to pay for it. That is as it should be, if we live in a free society where private property is respected. You get to choose where you live, and vendors get to choose whether they serve you.

    The idea that Net Neutrality is not "control" is absurd. Its constant repetition on this forum does not make it so. It IS control. If it were not, a government agency would not be required to enforce it.

    Net Neutrality will make it harder for those who build and operate networks to profit from them. Read this blog and notice that that is precisely the point in many cases.

    Under NN, Network owners will therefore have less reason to invest, and do less building. Everyone loses. Those who want something for nothing by government fiat, like Community Member, do not understand how destructive they would be if they got their way. (and don't seem to care)

    Net Neutrality remains a very bad idea.

  59. Comment

    The government enforces freedom of religion as well via the courts. When we say that the government will not "control" the internet, we mean that the government will not control the internet by deciding what legal content to censor, which is what0 AT&T and COMCAST are trying to do. The only thing being "controlled" is the corporations attempting to censor the internet of legal content. These corporations have the audacity to want to partition the internet into chunks they personally consider profitable enough to allow to exist. They want to charge me more for one megabyte from than for one megabyte of information from They have got think we're all stupid. Net Neutrality is anti-censorship legislation, get used to it. As long as it's censorship of legal content that is being "controlled", I'm all for it.

  60. Comment
    Dave Kliman

    to "regulate" and turn the internet into a utility, like the way we have done for electricity would be a disaster.

    a truly neutral net is so completely decentralized that nobody anywhere can stop it, control it, or tell anybody what to do.

    The government's role is to build as much of the raw fiber connectivity as possible, and to invest in as much public domain research and development as possible to constantly improve and enhance the way we all communicate.

    If we had a highly competitive system where anybody at any time could invent any disruptive technology and easily deploy that without having to get licenses, deals, permission, permits, etc.... we'd be in much better shape.

    it is as bad as having an antiquated government run network, if there are large monopoly isps who run antiquated networks and have no particular incentive to do anything too good lest they "hurt" some other core business of theirs, like phone service, for example.

    there is so much more we can do.. so far we can go.. but now we have at&t, comcast, cablevision, etc.... holding us back... keeping us slow... not trying nearly hard enough... raising prices constantly... gouging us... to me THAT is the worst kind of state of affairs possible.

  61. Comment
    Dave Kliman

    it makes me laugh to see anybody saying "the government is trying to take over the internet," when it was the government that INVENTED the internet. it was the government that DEPLOYED the internet... these people have no clue what networking was like pre-internet... they don't appreciate how much a neutral public infrastructure gives them.

    I guess we ought to go back to the $.75 each email days... the dollars per minute and per kilobyte days... the days of no company ever being able to form like google, amazon, ebay, etc. because there was no public network.

    it is sad how misinformed these people are.

  62. Comment

    Mr. Kliman should brush up on his history before he posts popular misconceptions as fact.

    Please read

    The government neither invented, nor "deployed" the internet. It's role was truly minor, both in the technology and in the financing of same.

  63. Comment

    First of all, openinternet, the guy who wrote that right above me once wrote a post strongly advocating for the role of lobbyists in crafting legislation. I strongly suspect he is a lobbyist or paid to spam message boards AKA astroturfing.

    Second of all, he's big on claims and short on details. Nothing in that link backs up his assertions. He's just spouting talking points. The government's role in the creation of the internet is no secret.

  64. Comment

    First of all, openinternet, the guy who wrote that right above me once wrote a post strongly advocating for the role of lobbyists in crafting legislation. I strongly suspect he is a lobbyist or paid to spam message boards AKA astroturfing.

    Second of all, he's big on claims and short on details. Nothing in that link backs up his assertions. He's just spouting talking points. The government's role in the creation of the internet is no secret.

  65. Comment

    First of all, openinternet, the guy who wrote that right above me once wrote a post strongly advocating for the role of lobbyists in crafting legislation. I strongly suspect he is a lobbyist or paid to spam message boards AKA astroturfing.

    Second of all, he's big on claims and short on details. Nothing in that link backs up his assertions. He's just spouting talking points. The government's role in the creation of the internet is no secret.

  66. Comment
    Community Member

    What companies like Comcast are aiming to do is bend the internet to their traditional business model where they deliver content to the customer and the producers of content sell their product to the content provider. This is what tiered broadband is all about. They want to be able to package the internet so that you must spend more money to get more content. Every time a cable channel becomes popular it gets moved to a higher tiered cable package in order to entice the consumer to pay more. So imagine now if you will, subscribing to a $100 dollar cable package only to find out the website that hosts your website or the site where you pay your bills are not accessible with that package? They would like to control how we use the internet and claim these websites as their content. And this is where it gets truly dubious. Right now if I want to start an internet business, that business is mine. I have control over it. If a company like Comcast comes along to me and tells me I have to pay a fee in order for customers to come to my site, tell me something right now: is my sight ten dependent on Comcast's services? What about the hosting services and providers that I already pay just to exist? And what happens when the terms of contract are similar to syndication? Do I own my own business still? if customers are then barred from doing business with me simply because Comcast makes their customers choose whether they can afford to reach me? This is innovative for one group and one group alone. Right now I am an american Citizen travelling abroad and on several occasions I have been barred from content by Comcast on the basis of copyright for content they do NOT own. They just happen to own the pipeline currently. So tell me, when I come back to the states and I have a choice between Comcast as one method of internet (cable) and Verizon, the other method(FiOs) What choice do I have when they both want the same thing? To package the internet in such a way that I am restricted to content based on their choosing. As it stands they do not have this control as of yet- but you are proposing we give them this? Shake your head yes because that is what this is about. Greater control of the internet providers as content providers information gatekeepers.

  67. Comment

    Much of the discussion here is based on the idea that the internet is "essential" and "a right", yet the examples that proponents come up with are often about Netflix and premium cable channels. There is no "right" to Netflix.

    Are we really a nation of people who want the government to step in every time we think some vendor is charging too much?

    Note also that this discussion highlights how complex network management is. Bandwidth is not infinite, and has to be shared. If one use gets more, other uses get less. That's why network management is required - so that those paying the bills get acceptable service! (otherwise they go elsewhere)

    This is all worked out today between customers and providers. Providers compete with the most desirable service, customers buy what they think is the best deal.

    NN is about giving the ultimate authority on many of these questions to the FCC.

    So, what rules will NN proponents favor?

    We have had long discussions about "loopholes" in the rules for "network management", but when pressed for specific rules and definitions of terms, NN proponents fall back on "you have not read the policy/proposals".

    Let's talk about specific rules and definitions of words like "non-discriminatory" and "fair". I challenge NN proponents to lay out actual rules and definitions. Let's discuss whether these _specific_ rules would allow adequate freedom for network operators to manage networks.

    Net Neutrality, (and friends) is simply putting the fat thumb of the FCC on one side of the scales. Proponents here believe that it is _their_ priorities that will be favored, but history tells us that they will soon be disappointed.

    History also tells us that the dynamism of the internet flows directly from its profitability. That is how and why markets work! NN proponents explicitly favor suppressing those profits. This will result in less investment. Less investment means less total bandwidth. Everyone loses.

    Net Neutrality is a power grab by the FCC, and a sham. It is a bad idea. I oppose it.