By Candace Clement for Free Press – AT&T is an enormous media, telecom and internet gatekeeper with a horrible track record of overcharging you, limiting your choices and spying on you. It’s still fighting Net Neutrality. It helps the government spy on people by turning over its customer records to the NSA. It tries to stop communities from building their own broadband networks.
By Andrea Germanos for Common Dreams – For his part, Wheeler, who had promoted the policy,said the decision “appears to halt the promise of jobs, investment, and opportunity that community broadband has provided in Tennessee and North Carolina,” adding, “The efforts of communities wanting better broadband should not be thwarted by the political power of those who, by protecting their monopoly, have failed to deliver acceptable service at an acceptable price.”
By Timothy Karr for Free Press – WASHINGTON — According to several news reports, the Federal Communications Commission has voted to approve Charter Communications’ $90 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. The merger combines the nation’s second-, third- and sixth-largest cable-TV and Internet providers. After the merger closes, two Internet service providers, Charter and Comcast, will control nearly two-thirds of the nation’s high-speed Internet subscribers.
By Julia Angwin and Jeff Larson in ProPublica – THE NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY’S ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T. While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newly disclosed NSA documents show that the relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. One document described it as “highly collaborative,” while another lauded the company’s “extreme willingness to help.” AT&T’s cooperation has involved a broad range of classified activities, according to the documents, which date from 2003 to 2013. AT&T has given the NSA access, through several methods covered under different legal rules, to billions of emails as they have flowed across its domestic networks.
By Open Media – A major ruling today from the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) signals a significant step forward for Canadians’ ability to access affordable Internet options independent of Canada’s large telecom providers, says OpenMedia.ca. In late 2014, OpenMedia delivered crowdsourced inputfrom over 30,000 Canadians as part of the hearing that informed today’s decision–and is claiming victory. The ruling is the first step towards ensuring small independent ISPs are able to sell fibre Internet in Canada, which should expand access and affordability for users.
By Free Press – Phone and cable companies and their lobbying groups filed an initial series of legal briefs on Thursday as part of their legal challenge against the Federal Communications Commission’s Feb. 26 Net Neutrality order. After the FCC properly decided to reclassify broadband Internet access as a telecom service under Title II of the Communications Act, various industry groups filed 10 different lawsuits to prevent the agency from enforcing the open Internet protections. The court ordered those challengers to join together and file a total of three separate briefs today (rather than allowing all 10 petitioners to file separately). In June the same federal court rejected efforts by the broadband industry to delay the Net Neutrality rules from going into effect.
The FCC’s net neutrality rules don’t even go into effect until June 12, but they’re already benefiting consumers. You’ll recall that the last year or so has been filled with ugly squabbling over interconnection issues, with Level 3 accusing ISPs like Verizon of letting peering points congest to kill settlement-free peering and drive Netflix toward paying for direct interconnection. But with Level 3 and Cogent hinting they’d be using the FCC’s new complaint process to file grievances about anti-competitive behavior, magically Verizon has now quickly struck deals with Level 3 and Cogent that everybody on board appears to be happy with. And it’s not just Verizon; Level 3 also quickly managed to strike a new interconnection deal with AT&T, and Cogent CEO Dave Schaeffer recently proclaimed Comcast has also become suddenly more amicable of late, turning on ports for capacity quickly and when needed.
The Federal Communications Commission’s new net neutrality rules haven’t taken effect yet, but they’re already facing lawsuits from Internet service providers. One such lawsuit was filed today by USTelecom, which is led by AT&T, Verizon, and others. Another lawsuit was filed by a small Internet service provider in Texas called Alamo Broadband. (The Washington Post flagged the lawsuits.) Internet providers are now common carriers, and they’re ready to sue. The net neutrality order, which reclassifies broadband providers as common carriers and imposes rules against blocking and discriminating against online content, “is arbitrary, capricious, and an abuse of discretion,” USTelecom alleged in its petition to the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.