Unfortunately, the world is at another critical juncture for Net Neutrality. My blog has had a number of these discussions over the years. Let's do all we can to keep the Internet free of controls and financial interests!
THE END OF NET NEUTRALITY MAY BEGIN IN JUNE OF 2017
White House transition team appointments could reverse the FCC’s Open Internet Order of 2015
Network World | Nov 22, 2016 11:47 AM PT
The end of net neutrality may begin in June of 2017
Trump appoints critics of net neutrality rules to FCC transition team
The Open Internet Order protects an open internet, preventing ISPs from charging extra fees for connecting internet services such as Netflix or the next innovative startup to consumers. This would bring higher prices to Netflix customers or create a barrier to startups entering the market with an innovative new service, like all the voice, video and messaging communications consumers use for free. The FCC approved the Open Internet Order (pdf) in 2015 in a sharply divided, partisan vote. Democratic commissioners Jessica Rosenworcel and Mignon Clyburn voted for it, and Republican commissioners Ajit Pai and Michael O'Rielly voted against it. Chairman Thomas Wheeler cast the deciding vote. The FCC chairman and commissioners are appointed by the President. Rosenworcel’s term ends in June of 2017, and based on the direction of Trump’s appointments, a Republican in favor of overturning the net neutrality order will be appointed. Pai’s term ends then, too, but it seems likely that he will be reappointed or a like-minded person will be appointed, shifting a vote on future rulemaking against net neutrality. For the time being, Chairman Wheeler can moderate and perhaps slow any rulemaking to implement legislation passed by a Republican Congress. But when Wheeler's successor is appointed to replace him in June of 2018, the incoming chairman will be able to fast-track the direction of the FCC implementation of past and new legislation passed by a Republican majority.
How FCC regulations are created
Telecommunications policy making is a dry subject, boring enough to make watching paint dry seem exciting. In a nutshell:
•Each time Congress enacts a law affecting telecommunications, the FCC develops rules to implement the law.
•After that, a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) is issued by the FCC for fact gathering that will be summarized for public comment. The FCC’s website crashed after comedian John Oliver’s impassioned speech in favor of net neutrality when the NOI was opened for public comment.
•The FCC drafts the rule changes in a document called a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) and makes it available for public comment.
•After commentary and revision, the NPRM becomes a Report & Order (R&O) of the rule. Changes are finalized, and the commission votes on its adoption. That’s what happened with the divisive Open Internet Order.
•The well-funded telecommunications industry can appeal the R&O in court.
Paint dries much faster than congressional legislation become FCC rules.
The Open Internet Order is rooted in the 1996 Telecommunications Act, specifically §706, which was interpreted to mean that the FCC had the power to promote competitive broadband speeds throughout the country through a process of enquiry and investigation and apply remedies where it found that the deployment of advanced telecommunications capabilities to all Americans, in particular elementary and secondary schools and classrooms, were not reasonable and timely.
When the FCC found a disparity in reasonableness and timeliness of infrastructure deployment, under §706 it could create incentives with price caps or it could take measures that promote competition in the local telecommunications market—or other regulating methods that remove barriers to infrastructure investment.
To put this in perspective, after the FCC published its Sixth Broadband Deployment Report in 2010, the FCC adopted a new threshold for broadband speeds that it would measure ISPs’ deployment to be reasonable and timely. The prior threshold was a snail-slow 1Mbps download and 200Kbps upload speed. The FCC raised the threshold to 4Mbps download and 1Mbps upload speed. Today the threshold stands at 25Mbps/3Mbps.
Verizon challenged the FCC order
Verizon appealed to United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. In Verizon v. the FCC, Verizon challenged the FCC’s order and opposed the FCC’s powers to regulate ISPs that did not comply with the new and snail-slow threshold. In 2014, the FCC won. The court confirmed that in the absence of compliance to the new thresholds, the FCC could regulate them. Comcast had failed to make a similar case before Verizon’s appeal.============================================================================================Tabula Rosa Systems - Tabula Rosa Systems (TRS) is dedicated to providing Best of Breed Technology and Best of Class Professional Services to our Clients. We have a portfolio of products which we have selected for their capabilities, viability and value. TRS provides product, design, implementation and support services on all products that we represent. Additionally, TRS provides expertise in Network Analysis, eBusiness Application Profiling, ePolicy and eBusiness Troubleshooting. We can be contacted at:
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