Save Net Neutrality: Shut The FCC Down

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By Popular Resistance. We just learned that the FCC will not vote on taking net neutrality away in October, which means it will likely be on the agenda in November or December. This is the time of year when folks in Washington, DC do their dirty work because they think everyone is full of turkey or busy consuming for the holidays. We can’t let them get away with this! We need to have a strong presence at the FCC on the day they vote to deter them from ending net neutrality. Maybe we can even shut the FCC down (if enough people are willing to defend the Internet). We are asking you to sign up on the form below if you are willing to come to DC to join us in an action at the FCC.

For The Good Of All, Congress Must Ensure Net Neutrality

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By Jimmy Lee for Crains Chicago Business – In less than a generation, the internet has grown from a curiosity—”something cool you gotta see”—to a core requirement of modern life—”something critical you gotta have.” Education, jobs, social connection, entertainment, culture and politics have all moved almost entirely online. Most of the big national employers do not take paper job applications anymore and even the most basic rights like social protest and citizen organizing have gone digital. Black Lives Matters is a movement, but there’s no denying it’s also a hashtag. As an investor in and adviser to socially-minded startups—and as a parent of two young children—I spend a lot of time grappling with the question of how we can build a better world for the next generation. As the digital revolution remakes almost every aspect of our lives, it’s more clear than ever that any forward-looking agenda must focus on expanding digital access and participation. We cannot build a more equal America, or a future with greater opportunity and economic mobility, if large numbers of Americans are stuck on the wrong side of a growing digital divide. The components of such an agenda are relatively straightforward and well understood. We must encourage the broadest possible effort to build new networks and wire unserved communities and give every American an affordable pathway to high-speed internet access.

The Future Of The Internet Is Up For Grabs — Theoretically

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By Ryan Barwick for The Center for Public Integrity – The Trump administration is weighing one of the most significant rulings on how the internet will operate in the future — broadly affecting both the U.S. economy and how Americans get crucial information — but the decision is already a foregone conclusion. Unlike three years ago, when Washington was abuzz over the Federal Communications Commission enshrining net neutrality into hard-set rules, this time around it’s crickets. And that has net-neutrality supporters worried. The FCC, led by Ajit Pai, whom President Donald Trump appointed this year, has proposed killing the net-neutrality rules the agency passed under the Obama administration in 2015. Those regulations prohibited internet providers such as Verizon Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp. from favoring certain online content, or charging firms like Netflix or Facebook Inc. to deliver their offerings at faster speeds. The rules, shepherded through by then-Chairman Tom Wheeler, treated the internet more like a public utility needed by everyone, like regular telephone service or power, which are regulated by the government. When Wheeler, a Democrat whom President Barack Obama appointed in 2013, proposed those rules, progressive consumer advocates were thrilled by the idea — but internet providers were livid.

Five Reasons To Fire FCC Chairman Pai

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By Timothy Karr for The Huffington Post – The Senate majority is charging forward with plans to vote to reconfirm Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai for another five years. Rehiring Pai to head the agency that oversees U.S. communications policies would be a boon for the phone and cable companies he eagerly serves. But it would hurt everyone else who needs this agency to put our communications rights before the profits of monopoly-minded media giants. Usually nominations to agencies like the FCC sail through without a dissenting vote. But based on the last five years he spent at the agency (and his past eight months as designated chairman), it’s clear Pai doesn’t deserve another term. That’s why Free Press Action Fund is urging the Senate to reject Trump’s nominee. And it’s why thousands of people are calling Capitol Hill before the vote — expected as soon as Monday — and asking their senators to fire Pai. And for good reason. Pai had barely taken his seat before making a hard turn even further to the far right. He often claims he bases FCC decisions on evidence — and then ignores any fact that conflicts with his entrenched ideology and prejudices. (And he’s tried to smear critics like Free Press as fringe groups when they dare to point out basic facts he’s deliberately omitting.)

It’s Time For Congress To Fire The FCC Chairman

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By Gigi Sohn for The Verge – FCC chairman Ajit Pai is genuinely one of the nicest people in Washington. He’s smart, personable, and the kind of guy you’d want to have a beer with. But nice guys don’t always make good policy (I’ve been bipartisan on this), and Pai’s record means real danger for American consumers and the internet itself. If you believe communications networks should be fast, fair, open, and affordable, you need ask your senator to vote against Pai’s reconfirmation. Now. The Senate vote on Pai is imminent. When it happens, it will be a stark referendum on the kind of communications networks and consumer protections we want to see in this country. Senators can choose a toothless FCC that will protect huge companies, allow them to further consolidate, charge higher prices with worsening service, and a create bigger disconnect between broadband haves and have-nots. Or, they can vote for what the FCC is supposed to do: protect consumers, promote competition, and ensure access for all Americans, including the most vulnerable. It shouldn’t be a hard decision, and what we’ve seen over the past eight months makes the stakes clear. Below are just a few of the Pai FCC’s most harmful actions, which should help make your decision to contact your senator clear, too.

Ajit Pai’s ‘Crazy’ Plan To Lower Broadband Standards

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By Jon Brodwin for Ars Technica. The FCC’s current policy, a holdover from former Chairman Tom Wheeler, is that all Americans should have access to home Internet service with speeds of at least 25Mbps downstream and 3Mbps upstream and access to mobile broadband. If that policy remained in place, having one or the other wouldn’t be enough to be considered “served” in the FCC’s annual analysis of whether broadband is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion. But with the FCC now chaired by Republican Ajit Pai, the commission suggested in its annual broadband inquiry last month that Americans might not need a fast home Internet connection.

“Fake” Net Neutrality Comments At Heart Of Lawsuit Filed Against FCC

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By Jon Brodkin for ARS Technica – Prechtel argued that the data he requested can be used to determine whether “any groups of comments submitted by particular e-mail addresses correlate with what other previous comment analyses suspect are fake comments” and “if any suspicious e-mail address URLs (lobbyists, PR firms, .gov addresses, non-US domain names, etc.) were allowed to submit bulk comments.” Prechtel also argues that suspicious comment uploading patterns might shed light on the FCC comment system’s downtime on May 8, an event the FCC has blamed on multiple distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Democratic lawmakers have criticized the FCC for failing to provide information substantiating the DDoS claims and have called for an independent investigation. “I believe the API key log information I requested can help identify who was behind the alleged FCC cyberattack on May 7-8,” Prechtel told Ars. But so far, his efforts to get that information have been met with silence, he said. “It has now been over three months since anyone at the FCC has reached out to me, and nearly two months since they have been legally required to respond to my request or request another extension to process it,” he said. Prechtel is being represented by Loevy & Loevy, which also represented him in a previous FoIA lawsuit involving the Chicago Transit Authority.

#DescendOnDC To Protect The Internet

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By Eleanor Goldfield for Protect Our Internet. As you know, the FCC is set on killing net neutrality. But Congress is key. They can stop the FCC and block the bigger threat: ISP-backed bills that would end net neutrality forever. So, Fight for the Future is organizing Internet users to meet with members of Congress—in DC, or locally—on September 26th & 27th. And they’re helping to cover travel costs! Here’s What To Do: Go to the action website and sign on & sign up. You can choose whether to come to DC or act locally (But we’re really pushing for people to make it to DC!) Get the scoop on the specific actions via Public Knowledge’s event page. 9/26: Rally & FCC Open Meeting Day – we want to really show up en force! 9/27: Hill Walk – Lobbying Day! (Training Included) Get ready for the days of action!

The Internet Was Always A Common Carrier

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By Fenwick McKelvey for Algorithm Media Observatory – This summer, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) launched an initiative to revisit the previous administration’s “Fair and Open Internet Order,” which established an approach to regulating the Internet commonly called network neutrality. The current FCC hopes to “end the utility-style regulatory approach” of the past administration, which the FCC represents as an aberration in the Internet’s history of increasing freedom and openness, and replace it with a “light-touch regulatory framework.” If undertaken, this move will reclassify the Internet as an information service, rolling back the decade-long struggle that led to the Internet being considered a common carrier. The FCC claims this reclassification will serve as a course correction for Internet regulation, but their proposal is out of step with the Internet’s established history as a common carrier. Common carriage is an old idea with a long and tested regulatory tradition. Simply put, it makes a judgement about the importance of certain infrastructure for the public and sets regulatory conditions to ensure these special services work on behalf of the public good. Railways, telephone lines, and Internets have been vital to society and the economy and are thus common carriers.

We Need The Internet Now More Than Ever, But Time Is Running Out To Save It

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By Evan Greer for The Huffington Post – At midnight on Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) shut its doors to public comment on the agency’s latest plan to gut net neutrality ― the basic guiding principle that makes the internet awesome, and prevents internet providers like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T from charging extra fees, slowing access to websites and apps, or outright blocking online content. The FCC’s deadline represents a milestone, but it’s far from the end of the fight. What happens over the next several months will have a profound effect not only on the the future of the internet, but on the future of democracy and freedom of expression. As the FCC, lead in corrupt “comic book villain” fashion by former Verizon lawyer Ajit Pai, rushes forward with its plan to strip internet users of basic free speech protections, members of Congress who take big checks from Big Cable are plotting a follow-up attack. They want to ram through legislation that crushes the legal framework for net neutrality once and for all, disguised as a “compromise” they hope will look enticing once the FCC rules are slashed. They know that if bad legislation passes, reinstating real net neutrality rules becomes nearly impossible, or at least a tortuous uphill battle.

500# Small Businesses Urge FCC To Protect Net Neutrality

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By Staff of FIght For Our Future – We are a group of businesses empowered by unencumbered access to an open Internet. We are deeply concerned with the Federal Communications Commission’s proposal to roll back its existing strong net neutrality rules based on Title II of the Communications Act. We urge you to maintain the existing rules instead. Today, broadband is vital to American enterprise; connectivity is absolutely essential to businesses. We also depend on a strong competitive framework and legal foundation to ensure that Internet service providers (ISPs) cannot discriminate against websites, services, and apps, or impose new fees that harm small businesses. The open Internet has made it possible for us to rely on a free market where each of us has the chance to bring our best business ideas to the world without interference or seeking permission from any gatekeeper first. This is possible because the principle of net neutrality ensures that everyone has unimpeded access to the Internet. The Commission’s long-standing commitment and actions undertaken to protect the open Internet are a central reason why the Internet remains an engine of entrepreneurship and economic growth.

Net Neutrality Supported By 74 Percent In United States

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By Mark Huffman for Consumer Affairs – Net Neutrality can be something of a complex subject, but another poll shows consumers not only understand what it is, they want to keep it. In short, Net Neutrality holds that internet service providers (ISP) have to treat all web content the same. That means they can’t charge extra to sites that use more bandwidth, and they can’t favor the content of one site over another. Some ISPs have protested, saying they’ve spent millions of dollars building out their networks and should be allowed to manage them as they see fit. In the latter years of the Obama Administration, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) established Net Neutrality as policy, over the protests of some ISPs.

AT&T’s Slow 1.5Mbps Internet In Poor Neighborhoods Sparks Complaint To FCC

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By Jon Brodkin for ARS Techinica – AT&T is facing a complaint alleging that it discriminates against poor people by providing fast service in wealthier communities and speeds as low as 1.5Mbps in low-income neighborhoods. The formal complaint filed today with the Federal Communications Commission says that AT&T is violating the Communications Act’s prohibition against unjust and unreasonable discrimination. That ban is part of Title II, which is best known as the authority used by the FCC to impose net neutrality rules. But as we’ve explained before, Title II also contains important consumer protections that go beyond net neutrality, such as a ban on discrimination in rates, practices, and offerings of services. “This complaint, brought by Joanne Elkins, Hattie Lanfair, and Rachelle Lee, three African-American, low-income residents of Cleveland, Ohio alleges that AT&T’s offerings of high-speed broadband service violate the Communications Act’s prohibition against unjust and unreasonable discrimination,” the complaint says. AT&T is not immune to the ban on discrimination “merely because its discrimination is based on investment decisions,” the complaint also says.

Voices For Internet Freedom Coalition Applauds NAACP's Support For Strong And Enforceable Net Neutrality Rules

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By Timothy Karr for Voices for Internet Freedom – WASHINGTON — The Voices for Internet Freedom Coalition, which fights for the digital rights of communities of color, applauds the NAACP for calling on the Federal Communications Commission to protect Net Neutrality and supporting the agency’s legal authority to enforce its rules. In a column published last week in The Hill, Derrick Johnson, the NAACP’s interim president and CEO, wrote: “With the fate of net neutrality on the line, the NAACP urges Chairman Pai to respect the congressional intent behind Title II of the Telecommunications Act, to protect the free flow of information and not jeopardize it by removing high-speed broadband from the equalizing framework of Title II. ISPs should not be able to discriminate against any information, or against any groups of people, based on their profit margins or their whims. Information is power and no one should be allowed to strip that power away — and definitely not on our watch.” In 2015, the Obama FCC adopted strong Net Neutrality rules that prohibit internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon from blocking, censoring or discriminating against any online content.

Net Neutrality Activists Launch Crowdfunded Billboards Targeting Key Members Of Congress

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By Tiffiniy Cheng for Fight For The Future – Today digital rights organization Fight for the Future unleashed a series of crowdfunded billboards targeting lawmakers who support FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s efforts to repeal the country’s net neutrality rules. With members of Congress back in their home districts, the billboards – paid for by hundreds of small donations – appear in six different states just weeks before the FCC’s final deadline for public input on their proposal to gut net neutrality rules that prevent companies like Comcast, Verizon, and AT&T from charging extra fees, throttling, or blocking websites, apps, and online services. Since the massive July 12th day of action, millions have contacted their representatives – who have oversight over the FCC – to ensure these key protections are not changed or removed. The billboards send a strong message to any Members of Congress contemplating support for the FCC’s plan to repeal net neutrality, which is currently being tracked through a “congressional scorecard” on BattleForTheNet.com. So far very few lawmakers have been willing to publicly support Ajit Pai’s plan, likely in light of polling that shows voters – including Republicans – overwhelmingly oppose it.