Internet Pioneers Say the FCC doesn't know What Internet is

13 December, 2017, 03:55 | Author: Kristopher Anderson
  • Berners-Lee, Woz, Cerf: cancel flawed net neutrality vote

A group of early internet and computing pioneers have called on the Senate's FCC oversight committee to censure next week's net neutrality vote.

"Chanting, "Face Reality, We Need Net Neutrality", and holding signs reading, "Say no to corporate control", "#stopthefcc#", "Public Internet is Right", protesters passed out informational flyers to passersby, who were supportive of the action.

The gist of the message is still the same it has been during the last few months, stop and cancel this week's vote to repeal Net Neutrality. The five-seat body is now controlled by a Republican majority, and Pai's plans are expected to be approved with few issues. The 2015 rules bar broadband providers from blocking or slowing access to web content.

Meanwhile, internet experts, pioneers and users are anxious about internet service providers losing oversight and possibly feeling emboldened to throttle, block and censor content and services. The FCC is expected to vote on the measures on 14 December.

The net neutrality rules have broad support from members of the public across the political spectrum, according to multiple polls. The vote on the "Restoring Internet Freedom" order would reclassify broadband internet as an information service - rather than a utility - and eliminate an internet conduct standard the commission now describes as "vague and expansive".

Equally, ISPs could charge customers for access to fast lanes that stream games or movies.

The Net neutrality battle has reached its peak and climax.

Democrat Commissioner Mignon Clyburn called the proposal "legally suspect" and "a giveaway to the nation's largest communications companies", urging her colleagues to "put these drafts where they belong: in the trash heap". "Costs will go up, as ISPs take advantage of monopoly power to raise rates on edge providers and consumers alike".

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The FCC believes the possible impact of the move has been exaggerated, and said the change in regulations would help improve competition and remove government meddling in the internet.

The prospect of repeal has also drawn criticism from major tech companies like Google, Facebook and Netflix, who fear the destruction of the "open internet".

Furthermore, the FCC's online comment system has been plagued by major problems that the FCC has not had time to investigate.

United States telecoms giant AT&T called the rules a "brief and ill-conceived experiment", and stated that consumers have little to fear.

The Restoring Internet Freedom order restores nothing and is a willful abdication of the FCC's historic duty to protect consumers and the public interest.

The FCC, for its part, has pledged that it will maintain a close watch on the practises of ISPs after the repeal.

In a move created to allay fears of foul play, the FCC and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on Monday announced new coordination to clamp down on unfair behaviour from telecoms companies.



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