Phrase of the Day: NEUTERING NET NEUTRALITY
This is Ajit Pai. He was appointed as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by President Donald Trump three days after taking office. President Trump nominated Pai for a five-year term as FCC Chairman. The U.S. Senate confirmed Pai for a five-year term last month. Prior to recently, Pai was notable as the first American of Indian descent to hold the office.
Next month, Mr. Pai will become far more notable as the man by whom big business will triumph at the citizens’ expense by overturning President Obama’s regulations upholding net neutrality.
“Net neutrality” is a term that has been floating around for years. It simply means that, aside from pay sites on the Internet (i.e. Hulu, Netflix, some sports and entertainment sites), access to all areas of the Internet is the same for everyone, thus the neutrality part of “net neutrality”. You pay for your Internet Service Provider (ISP) to gain access to the Internet and off you go … you are not blocked unless a site is like one of those mentioned above. On December 14, less than three weeks from now, a vote in the FCC will take place to make the Internet, theentireInternet, not neutral. What this means is that any ISP will be able to block anyone from accessing any sites it deems fit without any oversight. Yes, it is that simple: if they don’t want you to gain access to those sites, then you won’t be able to access those sites, period.
What this means in terms of a triumph for big business is that the larger ISP’s like Verizon, Comcast, TimeWarner Cable, and AT&T (although this vote does not limit it to them) can charge you to gain access to those sites. No, not the sites that are already pay sites, but anysites they choose. ALL websites will be fair game for blocking and charging extra. It will be a financial boon for them.
In case you are thinking a few steps ahead of me, this vote will not apply to just websites, but also to apps … ALL apps.
In terms of the the consumer, it means paying more money, or some websites and apps running far slower than usual. Don’t like being blocked, fork over more money. Don’t like the way a website or an app is running, fork over more money. Therefore, what you pay to simply access the Internet will still mean you will have to fork over more money if you frequent any and all websites and apps your provider decides it wants to block or slow down … if this vote on December 14 goes through.
California Congressman Ro Khanna looked to Portugal for an example, posting this on his Twitter page…
Splitting Internet access into packages means more income for the ISP’s … and more money users have to pay in the long run.
Let’s look at existing history here in the United States:> Madison River Communications (a subsidiary of CenturyLink), itself not exactly a big fish in the ISP pool, was blocking access to VOIP services.
> Comcast was denying customers access to p2p services without any notice.
> AT&T censors a live stream of a Pearl Jam concert because of disparaging remarks about then-President George W. Bush made by lead singer Eddie Vedder.
> Verizon blocked text messages from the abortion rights activist group NARAL Pro-Choice America.
> AT&T was blocking various VOIP’s, including the popular Skype, because it didn’t want the competition.
> MetroPCS attempted to block all streaming services other than Google.
> AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint blocked access to the Google Wallet app because of competition.
> Verizon wanted Google to block tethering apps [apps that make your mobile phone a wi-fi hotspot] on Android phones because they were losing out on their own tethering fee.
> AT&T wanted more money from its users to access Apple’s FaceTime app.
> Verizon stated publicly that the net neutrality rules in place were the only things stopping them from showing a preference to certain websites and apps.
Mr. Pai is intending to go even further than just eliminating net neutrality rules. He wants to block the states from stepping in on this issue on behalf of their residents. He has the gall to call this move “Restoring Internet Freedom” and it will, in essence, block any state from imposing its own net neutrality regulations. For example, should my home state of New Jersey, if this vote passes as expected, decide to pass regulations that put net neutrality in effect here, any company — let’s say Comcast — can file a complaint with the FCC. The FCC would likely side with Comcast in its decision, and the net neutrality regulations New Jersey put in place would be forced to be rescinded. It is boorish, heavy-handed, autocratic, and unfair … except to corporations, of course. The only freedom gained is for Internet providers to charge more.
With all of this at stake, there is another piece of this that is potentially nefarious. If corporations can block users from any websites they want to get more money, what is stopping them with this vote to simply block access to websites and apps, period? Not Pay us another fee to access this website or app, but access denied altogether. The truth is there is nothing to stop Internet providers from doing just that if this vote goes through. Add the possibility … no, make that the likelihood of attempting to incentivize providers to do so for political reasons and you can see where this can go.
Mr. Pai claimed that, as a result of the expected passage of his proposals, the FCC would “simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate.”
Mr, Pai, we already have that now. Passage of your proposals will not give us what we already have; it will take it away.
I urge you, dear readers, to pass along this blog post and to click on the link below and get involved to stop FCC Chairman Pei’s attempt to ruin the Internet for all of us!