Wednesday, December 22, 2010

FCC manages to tick off most everyone

Posted By on Wed, Dec 22, 2010 at 11:31 AM

Way to go, Federal Communications Commission! Besides a few folks — like AT&T, Skype, Verizon, Comcast, and, apparently, our president — you've managed to piss off damn near everyone. That takes talent. Have fun in court!


The federal government’s new internet fairness policy — designed to prevent the nation’s cable and DSL internet service providers from meddling with the open, free-wheeling nature of the internet — was met with boisterous criticism Monday night from all sides of the political spectrum.

Republicans, including FCC commissioner Robert McDowell, blasted the new rules as an interventionist over-reach by an activist federal regulator intent on asserting control over the internet.

Democrats, including Sen. Al Franken from Minnesota, along with public interest and free speech groups, slammed the rules as woefully inadequate to protect the public from the predations of an industry keen on turning the internet into a cyber-version of cable TV, with tiers and premium packages affordable by the wealthy.

There was one group, however, which seemed content with the new rules: the nation’s cable and telecommunications companies, including AT&T, Comcast and Verizon. They’ve been making the rounds in recent weeks signaling their support for Chairman Julius Genachowski’s compromise deal.

And of course, the new rules allow President Obama to say that he fulfilled a key campaign pledge — net neutrality — when the plan’s critics say he has done nothing of the sort, and in fact only consigned the issue to more lawsuits and uncertainty.

The long-awaited FCC move comes after five years of running battles between the nation’s telecoms, public interest groups and Silicon Valley firms over how best to keep the internet open to innovation.

Read the rest of this article, by Ryan Singel, here.

This episode of That's Bullshit with Sam Seder explains what's up with net neutrality:

Rhiannon "Rhi" Bowman is an independent journalist who contributes snarky commentary on Creative Loafing's CLog blog four days a week in addition to writing for several other local media organizations. To learn more, click the links or follow Rhi on Twitter.

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