Sunday, January 23, 2011


An issue that's all over the Web, Facebook and Twitter is the Net Neutrality deal that the FCC negotiated and Congress passed. The outlook isn't very clear and by the alarming accounts I've read, could have a negative affect on the services we are used to.

The most notable alarmist who has done his best to waken the public of these fears is  Al Franken of Minnesota. In an article in PC Mag, Franken states:
"I believe we are facing and will continue to face a growing threat of corporate control on the flow of information in our country. These rules are not strong enough." "This is the first time the FCC has ever allowed discrimination on the Internet."

For internet savy folks who are paying attention, we have been following the best we can, but details are coming out now after the December decision. The discrimination that Franken speaks of is the wealthy corporations flooding our normal search-engines with "Preferred" links and bolstered downloads while pushing competitors aside and dampening their download times. Smaller companies and/or entrepreneurs would be pretty much shut out.

This may not be big chatter on the street, but the new rules apply to fixed internet providers and not wireless companies. The hope is that the FCC will come back to this issue and modify the new rules in small steps in the near future now that the bulk of the law is established.Thus providing equal protection for wireless geeks everywhere. 
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts & NBC's Jeff Zucker pictured below.
Although the deal was granted by congress, it was passed by party line vote. Other than Franken, all the minority Republican Congressmen voted against having any forced equalization of internet neutrality. So while Al claimed the bill didn't go far enough, they thought it intrusive and went beyond their duty.

  While I'm writing about Al Franken, I can note the continued chatter all over the same outlets regarding the Comcast-NBC merger. The FCC gave their blessing to the merger last Tuesday, creating the biggest TV/Internet Provider in history. Franken is also ringing the alarm on this as well. Sure the FCC and the DoJ did their best to lay out stipulations and safeguards throughout the the deal, but how long before these firms order their lawyers to dissolve any consumer protections they deem monopoly deterrent?
In the WashPost, Franken said: "A combined Comcast-NBCU will lead to higher cable prices, hurt small providers, and prompt cable channels to accept fewer licensing dollars just to reach Comcast's 23 million customers.  I'm hearing that Comcast is already intends to pull NBC's programming from Netflix when it's next up for review. It will only be a matter of time before we see AT&T trying to buy ABC-Disney or Verizon trying to buy CBS-Viacom." 

Only a week ago, I posted a YouTube link here to provide access to an online petition that Al Franken initiated. It had no affect on the FCC. We can only watch from the consumer's perspective now that these deals are done. 
I can only say Thank you Representative Franken for your attempts. 


Anonymous said...

I agree. Net Neutrality is essential to the internet, and the current administration's FCC failed to uphold it on mobile wireless, which is the future of the net.
We cannot trust corporate America to guard the internet.

Anonymous said...

People didn't pay enough attention to the Comcast/NBC merger and net neutrality because these weren't sexy issues.
It's never a good thing when all lines of communication are controlled by a handful of companies.
It's gonna get worse.

Anonymous said...

These are two loser firms consolidating because people don't want to watch ads anymore. People are spending more time on the internet.
The key is doing everything we can to reduce the sponsorship and ad presence on the internet.
TV is dying and cable is dying. So they want their manipulative hands on our servers. Stay the hell out of my search engine.

Anonymous said...

We don't need mainstream media anymore. We need a direct "person to person" internet. Just like we don't need telecos and cable, we need a fiber back bone internet and wireless mesh where people own the end nodes and these useless propaganda firms are driven out of existence.


Anonymous said...

Just look at the contributions to the representives that voted for this ... most were just paid off to vote YES on the bill.

James Waldrop - HostMyCalls Hosted PBX Service said...

The reason we are having a Net Neutrality debate is that there is not enough competition in the broadband market. Corporations like Comcast and Verizon must maximize their profit and act in the best interest of their shareholders. No where on their list of priorities do they have the utopian goal of protecting an open Internet. This does not make them evil. It is just the facts. How can an open Internet be in sync with the responsibilities of Comcast and Verizon? That is simple. Competition.

Real time applications like Netflix, online gaming and VoIP are rapidly becoming the most popular uses on the Internet. Could Verizon and Comcast block or slow down some of this content while going head-to-head against a competitor that does not? Not likely since losing revenue would not be maximizing their profit potential. And that would be far more effective than any regulation government could ever put in place.

Anonymous said...

Actually 9:17, Lobbyists for the telecommunications giants paid off the NO votes. The issue with the successful change is that it didnt include "wireless" in the realm of equality. It's safe to assume, the neutrality supporters acted on half a good thing rather than miss the chance completely with the chance to visit the issue after 2012.