Archive for the 'Net Neutrality' Category

"Preserving a Free and Open Internet: A Platform for Innovation, Opportunity, and Prosperity"

Posted in Net Neutrality on September 21st, 2009

The FCC has released the text and a digital video of FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's "Preserving a Free and Open Internet: A Platform for Innovation, Opportunity, and Prosperity" speech at the Brookings Institution.

Here's an excerpt:

The rise of serious challenges to the free and open Internet puts us at a crossroads. We could see the Internet’s doors shut to entrepreneurs, the spirit of innovation stifled, a full and free flow of information compromised. Or we could take steps to preserve Internet openness, helping ensure a future of opportunity, innovation, and a vibrant marketplace of ideas.

I understand the Internet is a dynamic network and that technology continues to grow and evolve. I recognize that if we were to create unduly detailed rules that attempted to address every possible assault on openness, such rules would become outdated quickly. But the fact that the Internet is evolving rapidly does not mean we can, or should, abandon the underlying values fostered by an open network, or the important goal of setting rules of the road to protect the free and open Internet.

Saying nothing—and doing nothing—would impose its own form of unacceptable cost. It would deprive innovators and investors of confidence that the free and open Internet we depend upon today will still be here tomorrow. It would deny the benefits of predictable rules of the road to all players in the Internet ecosystem. And it would be a dangerous retreat from the core principle of openness—the freedom to innovate without permission—that has been a hallmark of the Internet since its inception, and has made it so stunningly successful as a platform for innovation, opportunity, and prosperity.

In view of these challenges and opportunities, and because it is vital that the Internet continue to be an engine of innovation, economic growth, competition and democratic engagement, I believe the FCC must be a smart cop on the beat preserving a free and open Internet.

The FCC also launched a new website: Open Internet.Gov.

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    Analysis of The Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009

    Posted in Legislation and Government Regulation, Net Neutrality on August 13th, 2009

    In "Close Reading: The Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009," Public Knowledge Policy Analyst Mehan Jayasuriya analyzes the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009.

    Here's an excerpt:

    All in all, the Internet Freedom Protection Act of 2009 seems like a great first step toward the goal of enshrining net neutrality in U.S. law. It finally extends Carterfone rules to broadband providers, addresses the long-standing questions surrounding reasonable network management and ensures a number of much-needed protections for consumers. What remains to be seen is how the language of the bill will change as it works its way through Congress, how the FCC will choose to implement and enforce the provisions of the bill and whether or not the bill will be taken up by Congress at all. Only one thing is certain: those few, powerful opponents of net neutrality are not going to let this bill through without a fight.

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      Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009

      Posted in Legislation and Government Regulation, Net Neutrality on August 2nd, 2009

      Reps. Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) have introduced the Internet Freedom Preservation Act of 2009.

      Here's an excerpt from the press release:

      "The Internet is a success today because it was open to everyone with an idea," said Rep. Markey. "That openness and freedom has been at risk since the Supreme Court decision in Brand X. This bill will protect consumers and content providers because it will restore the guarantee that one does not have to ask permission to innovate."

      "The Internet has thrived and revolutionized business and the economy precisely because it started as an open technology," Rep. Eshoo said. "This bill will ensure that the non-discriminatory framework that allows the Internet to thrive and competition on the Web to flourish is preserved at a time when our economy needs it the most."

      H.R. 3458, the Internet Freedom Preservation Act, is designed to assess and promote Internet freedom for consumers and content providers. The bill will also require the FCC to examine whether carriers are blocking access to lawful content, applications, or services. The legislation calls for the FCC to conduct eight public broadband summits around the country no less than a year after the bill is enacted. These summits will be used to gather input from consumers, small business owners, entrepreneurs, and other stakeholders on Internet freedom and U.S. broadband policies affecting consumer protection, competition, and consumer choice.

      Here's an excerpt from the "Public Knowledge Hails Internet Freedom Preservation Act":

      [Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge] "The requirements in the bill are very straightforward. In essence, the bill would return non-discrimination to communications law, preventing Internet service providers (ISPs), such as telephone and cable companies, from interfering in that end-to-end relationship. The requirements would curb the ability of ISPs from using the claim of network management to impose their own priorities on data traffic, based on financial arrangements or other considerations."

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        Bill Would Prohibit Internet Use Caps: Congressman Eric Massa to Introduce “Broadband Internet Fairness Act”

        Posted in Internet Regulation, Net Neutrality on April 14th, 2009

        Congressman Eric Massa (D-NY) has announced that he will introduce the "Broadband Internet Fairness Act," which would prohibit Internet use caps.

        Here's an excerpt from the press release:

        The Massa Broadband Internet Fairness Act would prohibit unfair tiered price structures from internet providers. The bill will also address the importance of helping broadband providers create jobs and increase their bandwidth while increasing competition in areas currently served by only one provider.

        "I am taking a leadership position on this issue because of all the phone calls, emails and faxes I've received from my district and all over the country," said Congressman Eric Massa. "Time Warner has announced an ill-conceived plan to charge residential and business broadband fees based on the amount of data they download. They have yet to explain how increased internet usage increases their costs." . . .

        In the past week, there has been a significant uproar in the Rochester, NY area regarding Time Warner's announcement that they will "test market" a plan to charge customers based on how much they download. The initial proposal was to introduce a 5, 10, 20, or 40 gb/month downloading cap. If customers went over the cap, they would start mounting additional fees.

        Then today Time Warner announced a new tiered plan similar to the previous one. However, for a consumer to receive the same unlimited internet that they currently do for around $40 per month, they would be billed $150 per month under the new plan.

        Read more about it at "Congressman: There Should Be a Law against Internet Caps!" and "Time Warner Faces Backlash on Broadband Caps."

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          What is Deep Packet Inspection? A Collection of Essays from Industry Experts

          Posted in Digital Copyright Wars, Net Neutrality on April 7th, 2009

          The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has released What is Deep Packet Inspection? A Collection of Essays from Industry Experts.

          Read more about it at "Privacy Commissioner Puts Spotlight on Internet Monitoring Technology."

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            Net Neutrality: The Federal Communications Commission's Authority to Enforce its Network Management Principles

            Posted in Net Neutrality on March 9th, 2009

            The Congressional Research Service has released Net Neutrality: The Federal Communications Commission's Authority to Enforce its Network Management Principles. (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)

            Here's an excerpt:

            In 2007, through various experiments by the media, most notably the Associated Press, it became clear that Comcast was intermittently blocking the use of an application called BitTorrent and, possibly, other peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing programs on its network. Comcast eventually admitted to the practice and agreed to cease blocking the use of the P2P applications on its network. However, Comcast maintains that its actions were reasonable network management and not in violation of the Federal Communications Commission's ("FCC" or "Commission") policy.

            In response to a petition from Free Press for a declaratory ruling that Comcast's blocking of P2P applications was not "reasonable network management," the FCC conducted an investigation into Comcast's network management practices. The FCC determined that Comcast had violated the agency's Internet Policy Statement when it blocked certain applications on its network and that the practice at issue in this case was not "reasonable network management." The FCC declined to fine Comcast, because its Internet Policy Statement had never previously been the basis for enforcement forfeitures.

            Comcast has appealed this decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, as have other public interest groups. Comcast argues that the FCC does not have the authority to enforce its Network Management Principles and the Commission's order was invalid for that reason. The Commission argues that it has ancillary authority under Title I of the Communications Act to implement the broad statutory goals for an open, user-controlled Internet laid out by Congress. If the court finds that the FCC does not have the authority to adjudicate based on its Internet Policy Statement, Congress may face the question whether to act to give the FCC such authority in order to prevent anticompetitive conduct by broadband access providers. If the court finds that the FCC acted properly, the agency may continue to enforce these broad principles on a case-by-case basis.

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              ALA Action Alert: American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

              Posted in ALA, Net Neutrality on February 11th, 2009

              ALA has issued an action alert regarding the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. You can use the alert's form to contact your Congressional representatives.

              Here's an excerpt:

              The next 36 to 48 hours is critical to get millions, maybe billions, of dollars for libraries in the stimulus package. We need every single library supporter to start sending messages and calling congressional offices so that we can keep important library provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). As you all know, libraries are a key source of free Internet access to look for jobs and so much more. Our libraries provide essential services that stimulate our local economies, and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provides crucial funding for libraries to continue and build upon them. This week, the Senate and House versions of the economic stimulus package will go to conference to reconcile these pieces of legislation, and your calls and e-mails will help protect this funding. There are pros and cons of each version of the stimulus, and we need to protect the parts that benefit our communities.

              In the coming days, you will receive a lot of e-mails from us, and your advocacy will be the key to our success. Last week, Senate Amendment 501 could have stripped broadband funding from their version of the bill but your calls and e-mails to your elected officials defeated this amendment and successfully protected this funding. Now, more than ever, your activism is needed. Over 1,250 calls went to our elected officials, and now we need even more.

              Please call your elected officials and tell them to communicate with the conferees in support of the following parts in both the House and the Senate versions:

              • Restore education construction funds eliminated from the Senate version of the ARRA. The House version of the ARRA would provide $14 billion for K-12 construction and $6 billion for higher education construction and specifically mention libraries as an allowable use of funds. The K-12 construction funds would create 300,000 jobs.
              • Restore the money cut from the State Stabilization Fund in the Senate bill to $79 billion to and restore the Governors ability to use a portion of the funds at his or her discretion.
              • Maintain $8 billion for ‘Broadband Technology Opportunities Program’ for robust broadband to all of America including “fiber to the libraries for the 21st century.”
              • No less than $200 million that shall be available for competitive grants for expanding public computer center capacity, including community colleges and public libraries.
              • Open access of networks should be upheld and not include provisions allowing intrusive network management techniques.

              If your elected officials are one of the following, it is even more critical that you contact them, as they are conferees on this legislation and control what stays in and what will be taken out.

              Please contact the following and use the same talking points:

              Appropriations Chairman Obey (D-WI)
              Ways and Means Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY)
              Commerce Chairman Waxman (D-CA)
              Appropriations Ranking Member Jerry Lewis (R-CA)
              Ways and Means Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI)
              Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV)
              Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT)
              Appropriations Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
              Finance Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
              Appropriations Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS)

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                A Debate on Net Neutrality

                Posted in Net Neutrality on August 31st, 2008

                Opposing Views' "Should We Support Net Neutrality?" page offers contrasting views of net neutrality. The Open Internet Coalition, Public Knowledge, Save the Internet argue for it, while the CATO Institute and Hands Off the Internet argue against it.

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