10 Nov

American Civil Liberties Union – It Was Close, But We Won: Viva Net Neutrality!

Today in the Senate there was a major win for freedom of speech and the Internet. In a largely partisan vote Senate Democrats defeated a resolution introduced by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) which would have overturned the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) open Internet rules that are set to go into effect this month.

Though the FCC’s rules are not great, they do offer some protections for net neutrality on the wired Internet and overturning them would have been a huge setback for free speech on the web. During debate on the Senate floor yesterday supporters of the resolution railed against government regulation while opponents defended the rules saying they were necessary to maintain the openness and innovation that has allowed the Internet to thrive.

via American Civil Liberties Union – It Was Close, But We Won: Viva Net Neutrality!. Yeah for Net Neutrality, boo for my State Senator being the one who introduced this resolution.

02 Oct

Ars Technica – Verizon sues to halt FCC’s net neutrality rules

On Friday afternoon, Verizon filed its expected challenge to the FCC’s network neutrality rules, suing in federal court to stop them. Verizon claims that the agency has no authority to issue rules affecting the Internet.

“Verizon is fully committed to an open Internet," said Verizon senior vice president Michael Glover in a statement. "We are deeply concerned by the FCC’s assertion of broad authority to impose potentially sweeping and unneeded regulations on broadband networks and services and on the Internet itself. We believe this assertion of authority is inconsistent with the statute and will create uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers.”

Verizon’s lawsuit claims the rules, which largely exempt wireless networks, are "arbitrary" and "capricious"—the same charges recently brought by net neutrality supporters arguing that the FCC improperly let the wireless industry off the hook.

via Ars Technica – Verizon sues to halt FCC’s net neutrality rules. How about the uncertainty for businesses to know if next month they’ll have to pay fees to not have their sites arbitrarily slowed down? Net Neutrality is a framework of rules to prevent businesses and services from being treated differently from everything else served via the Internet.

10 Apr

Huffington Post – U.S. House Ignores Internet Reality, Again

The U.S. House of Representatives resumed its flight from reality earlier today (April 8th) when it voted to repeal the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules to mandate an open and non-discriminatory Internet.

What was remarkable about the vote was how the Republicans pushing the legislation managed to at once speak in favor of the legislation as helping small business and innovation, while ignoring the testimony and other advocacy from those very businesses that opposed it.

House Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), for example, cited the success of companies from Apple to Zipcar because of the absence of government regulation. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) questioned the future of startups in an environment without government regulation.

It appears that Upton, Scalise and their colleagues missed the article published earlier in the week by Robin Chase, who founded Zipcar. She wrote a well-received article for Politico on how that company wouldn’t exist without an open Internet. None of it mattered to those on an ideological mission to protect the large Internet providers. Other companies have said much the same thing. They similarly ignored the experience of their colleague, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), who made his fortune as an Internet entrepreneur, and who earlier in the week opposed the GOP bill during debate on a procedural motion.

And when Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) said that the FCC had taken control over business plans of big Internet Service Providers, he was partially right. If the business plan’s goal was to drive competitors out of business, he was right. Terry, ironically, said it was the open Internet that allowed Netflix to develop.

His statement was ironic because Netflix sent one of the strongest letters ever seen from the corporate sector to the Congress opposing what Terry wanted to do. As senior Commerce Committee Democrat Henry Waxman (D-CA) pointed out, a cable or telephone company could stop Netflix simply for competitive reasons without it being an antitrust violation. Without Net Neutrality, there would be no stopping phone companies from controlling Netflix’s access to its customers.

Through it all, the Republicans argued that the FCC wanted to take control of the Internet, much as totalitarian governments wanted to do. That argument is so tiresome. The purpose of Net Neutrality is to make sure no one can take control of what’s online — not the government, not the big businesses that control Internet traffic on a day-to-day basis and have the incentive and opportunity to harm competition.

via Huffington Post – U.S. House Ignores Internet Reality, Again. If it wasn’t so frustrating you have to almost admire Republicans ability to ignore their own experts or examples when legislating.

08 Jan

Uh Oh, Internet: Basic Mobile Video Will be YouTube-Only With MetroPCS Plans

MetroPCS, the 5th largest wireless carrier in the United States, has announced a new pricing structure that requires customers to pay extra to access video services other than YouTube, audio including Pandora or any VOIP service, over their mobile devices.

via Uh Oh, Internet: Basic Mobile Video Will be YouTube-Only With MetroPCS Plans. Remember those Net Neutrality rules the FCC voted on a few weeks ago, this is exactly the loophole that everyone feared.

22 Dec

A Guide to the Open Internet

Network neutrality is the idea that your cellular, cable, or phone internet connection should treat all websites and services the same. Big companies like AT&T, Verion, and Comcast want to treat them differently so they can charge you more depending on what you use.

The Federal Communications Commision (FCC) is currently debating legislation to define limits for internet service providers (ISPs). The hope is that they will keep the internet open and prevent companies from discriminating against different kinds of websites and services.

via A Guide to the Open Internet. Just in case you need a good solid pointer to over the holiday breaks as to why Net Neutrality is important and what it really means.

17 Oct

A VC – A Net Neutrality Case Study

This is the kind of stuff that happens in the world of cable television every once in a while when cable companies and the programming companies have a fight over their contracts.

This is the kind of stuff that should not happen on the web. The way this should work on the web is each and every consumer should have a subscription (via Hulu or direct with Fox) to recieve programming. And once that contract is entered into, they should be able to get that content regardless of how they get their Internet connection.

If you want to know what we are fighting for, this is it. I see more signs every day that we need some basic rules governing Internet access. Maybe we shouldn’t call it Net Neutrality. Maybe we should call it a bill of rights for consumers on the Internet.

via A VC – A Net Neutrality Case Study. If we don’t have basic rules of internet access and freedoms, offline complaints influence online access.