News from the Field

Net Neutrality Updates

March 12, 2015 The FCC releases the new rule, protecting the Internet from blocking, throttling and paid prioritization. See excerpts and analysis from the New York Times.

February 26, 2015 Victory for the open Internet. The FCC formally voted 3-2 in favor of reclassifying Internet under Title II protections, enshrining net neutrality into law. Read more about this major achievement.

February 4, 2015 Big news: FCC Chairman Wheeler announced today his proposed rules to reclassify the Internet under Title II authority. See the announcement here.

This follows a period of intense activity from activists, media policy wonks and DC insiders this winter. The flurry began in earnest with President Obama’s public video, calling for the Federal Communications Commission to adopt Title II / “Telecommunications Service” rules for Internet governance (switching from Title I, an “Information Service”).

In English, Title II allows for more oversight and regulation to prevent ISPs from blocking or slowing content. See below for a fuller explanation and a timeline of key announcements and articles.

Watch the President’s speech and scroll down for articles, posts and more news:

This is what activists have long hoped for, given the President’s strong campaign pledges on Net Neutrality. After 3.7 million people filed comments with the FCC on that agency’s latest proposal, with estimates of 99% of those comments against the FCC’s plans to create a tiered Internet, it’s fair to say a whole lot of people are paying attention.

The celebrations were fast, and then quickly tempered by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler (Obama’s appointee and ally, as well as former cable lobbyist) who told tech leaders in California, ‘not so fast’. Here’s the Washington Post coverage.

The stakes are high and news is evolving quickly. We’ll keep a running list of resources and news here. We’re happy to accept more material. Email us info@mediafunders.org or tweet @MediaFunders

January 2015

Here’s the latest from a very busy week in telecom, with hearings, proposed bills, activists and more. Kevin Taglang of the Benton Foundation shared a thorough overview of the latest.

December 2014

The Knight Foundation published interesting research about the net neutrality debate itself. See their analysis, key questions and players.

November 2014 and earlier

The Washington Post’s Brian Fung wrote an update on the political split between the President and Chairman Wheeler.

Susan Crawford wrote beautifully about the President’s actions:

So although the president sounded like the law-professor-in-chief yesterday (“I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act”), to me it was a General Patton moment. This is a battle cry designed to give heart to his administration — and particularly the corner of the executive branch crouching in terror behind the walls of the FCC.

Fight for the Future’s blog has analysis and updates plus a BattlefortheNet page with background on the issue.

Jon Oliver was a major force behind the 3.7 million comments to the FCC with his painfully good take down of the FCC’s proposal .

Alex Howard has thoughtful analysis and deep links on E Pluribus Unum.

FreePress.net has a robust searchable database of policy information.

The Benton Foundation compiles articles on Net Neutrality and has a daily communications headlines service.

A bit about Title II, via Jeff Roberts at GigaOm:

But under FCC rules, the “telecommunications service” label is important because it triggers a series of obligations under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934.

Those obligations, which cover everything from price-caps to closed-captioning to emergency services, have traditionally applied to “common carriers” like wireline phone companies, and place restrictions on how they run their business. That’s why broadband providers like Comcast and Verizon don’t want to live under Title II — they want to continue on as “information services” under a different part of the law (Title I) which, on paper, involves a lighter regulatory load.

The goal of the Title II advocates is not, of course, to reclassify broadband providers for the heck of it. Rather, they believe the FCC has no other choice if it truly wants to prevents ISPs from favoring some websites over others. As Netflix told the agency last week, two previous attempts to use other laws to enforce net neutrality have failed —  meaning it’s Title II or bust.

Here’s a audio clip from WNYC’s Money Talking

 

Photo credit: Joseph Gruber

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