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Net Neutrality is almost here again!


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My, how the tables have turned.

Last January, a court struck down Net Neutrality at the behest of Verizon, Comcast and the other major ISPs -- some of America's most powerful, and most reviled, corporations.

But after a year of aggressive organizing and non partisan activism -- in which millions of Americans have taken part, including me and many of you fellow SKPs -- we're on the brink of achieving meaningful new Net Neutrality rules.



"Perhaps no single thrust did more to force back the ISPs than the Internet Slowdown, during which nearly one million people told Congress and the FCC to support the open Internet.


So... we're trying to do it again. We'll build an unstoppable snowball of activism as the FCC gets set to vote towards the end of this month. Please click here to join what we're calling the Internet Countdown.


The FCC’s proposed rules are expected to be made public in just a day or two. They vote on the Feb 26th, and the ISPs will try to use the next few weeks to undermine everything that's good about the rules. All the while -- and for some time thereafter -- the biggest ISP shills in Congress will try to undercut us.

We need all hands on deck -- we have to mobilize as many users, social media accounts, and websites as possible to stand up and defend the net. (And run over the ISPs in the process.)


Participating is easy. If you have a website, blog, or Tumblr, you can grab a snippet of code to display this awesome countdown timer on your site, and help drive phone calls and emails to lawmakers in DC. If not, you can join with Twitter, and sign up to tweet the countdown, like this, either once a day, once a week, or just once before the vote on Feb 26th, it’s your choice."


The place to start is here: https://www.battleforthenet.com/countdown/?org=dp


How would you have felt in the old dial up days if your local legislature passed laws saying that no dialup ISPs would be put through in their state except for dialups to one ISP, Earthlink only, because Earthlink got laws passed locally to keep you from being able to choose a less expensive provider by blocking all calls to them? While all over the world broadband was real and cheap?


That is what Net neutrality is about. There are billions to be made, and innovations not even thought of yet that will never happen unless we regulate the current Cable and Telcos from monopolizing our services and gouging worse than now.


Think you hate your customer service with your phone provider or your cable provider now? What if Comcast or AT&T were your only choice? And all others, satellite and other methods to connect not even invented yet, were not allowed?


This forum could not exist if Escapees Inc had to pay a toll to every ISP all over the world with even one user that wanted to access the website, or wait ten minutes for it to load if Escapees did not pay the blackmail. That's the Internet without net neutrality.


Let's remember that the ISPs do not own the Internet, it was started as a University research and scientific exchange Internet, and the World Wide Web grew out of that.


The Internet is also non partisan, let's keep it that way.

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I just posted the banner on my website. For those with full websites or blog pages that let you insert a bit of HTML into it, the cut and paste that made it work on my website is on the one in the link above.Just scroll down at the Battle For the Net website and it is all done for you if you want the code on your website too. Just click on mine in my sig block to see what it looks like on a website. I just copied and pasted it in.

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My main concern would be the government starting to tax the internet for their service of regulating it. Next they will want to start regulating content, adding political and "public service" PSA's etc. This is not political, because I believe that neither party is to be trusted in this regard - all want power and the more control they have the more power they can wield.


Besides, why shouldn't companies that use more bandwidth pay for what they use? I would think that less regulation (like deregulation of the phone industry) would allow for more competition, no?


Just as a general principal I think less federal regulation is better than more as it interferes with the free market. Who wants the government picking winners and losers on the internet? If there are bad or unfair local or state laws that give an unfair competitive advantage to certain businesses (like Google) they should be fought and repealed at the state and local level, IMHO.


"Google was in favor of net neutrality; that’s because, as Robert E. Litan and Hal J. Singer wrote in the Harvard Business Review, “Absent net neutrality restrictions, entrepreneurs in their garages would devote significant energies trying to topple Google with the next killer application.” Of course, Google became an opponent of net neutrality when it came to GoogleFiber, which the government conveniently neglected to make subject to net neutrality." http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2014/11/10/7-reasons-net-neutrality/



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The companies that use more bandwidth already do pay for it at their end. And our ISPs are paid by us at our end for our access.


The Cell phone companies are already under title II and the government is not interfering in their free market in any way. For the previous century the telecommunications of Americans both wired and wireless has been regulated by the FCC and today instead of one Bell, we have hundreds of alternatives and prices have gone down. Beware, the telecommunications of our country does not belong in the hands of one or two commercial companies. I am all for deregulation as long as the private businesses don't sneak restrictions against competition in their own states.


Here is a great link with a map and clickable pins in it to see what communities have very successful municipal broadband systems whether all utility or private contractor which could be the big guys but they have to bid in competition with others. BUt just see for yourself because facts have a wonderful habit of overcoming the dark places where false PR thrives.


Community Network Map

"Communities invest in telecommunications networks for a variety of reasons - economic development, improving access to education and health care, price stabilization, etc. They range from massive networks offering a gig to hundreds of thousands in Tennessee to small towns connecting a few local businesses.

This map tracks a variety of ways in which local governments have invested in wired telecommunications networks as well as state laws that discourage such approaches."



As far as interference with a free market, it would be a lot more credible if the Cable and Telcos had not already lobbied for, and got passed regulations and restrictions at state level to not allow the free market. Here is a quote from the Washington Post, that details where the Telcos have been confronted in the open instead of the back doors they had used. From the Washington Post:


"Google Fiber promises to bring high-speed Internet to the masses at low cost — but only in certain cities. So around the country, local governments have taken it upon themselves to build their own fiber-optic networks that can deliver the same capabilities. Last week, this effort was met in Kansas with a bill written by cable lobbyists who sought to ban cities from building municipal broadband projects. While the state cable association has since agreed to amend the bill in the face of public criticism, the incident is a reminder that public infrastructure projects can be especially fraught when it comes to Internet service.


But what so far has been a fight between states, cities and established commercial incumbents may soon become an issue for federal regulators. A recent court decision has given the Federal Communications Commission a green light to intervene in these situations, industry analysts say. While it's too early to tell whether the FCC intends to exercise this power, mayors would find a powerful ally in Washington if they could convince the FCC to intervene."



The trouble started when the Cable and Telcos got some deregulation. The FCC until last year had them regulated but not under Title II which is where they belong. The telcos were not deregulated, the ma Bell monopoly, similar to the monopoly two Cable giants and two Telco giants have all but created, were broken up. Making competition open to any that wanted to compete. As a result, our telecommunications UNDER TITLE II. The Internet and the cost and scope of American citizens telecommunications could flourish under Title II exactly because competition could and did happen. The Internet grew up under the FCC and there was no problem until the Cable companies and the Telcos lobbied local state legislatures to make it illegal or almost impossible for local municipalities to create their own broadband municipal networks. They had scare literature out that local municipal broadband cost taxpayers and we needed protection from ourselves.


I and several others here owned our own Internet services early on so I have been an Internet Service provider or ISP. The government was never a problem and if the local township wanted to starting their own municipal broadband network I would have no problem with that providing I was allowed to compete.


This Internet tax scare needs to be brought out in the open, how about a link to a credible source.


Here are links to credible sources on what has happened just in the last two years, and the machinations of the Cable and Telcos to avoid having to compete, and holding our country hostage to their PR machines and millions spent in lobbying. What if they spent these millions from lobbying on extending their networks instead? They are the reason Lithuania has faster cheaper broadband then the US! These are from credible non partisan sources.


“It’s dead”: Kansas municipal Internet ban was “stabbed, shot, and hanged”
Cable lobby rebuffed in attempt to ban public broadband networks.



From Etsy to Execs, Net Neutrality Feedback Abounds



Barons of Broadband



Behind Comcast’s truthy ad campaign for net neutrality



Who's against Net neutrality? Follow the money



I hope that helps clear it up.

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A lot of other money is flowing to the net neutrality side since many venture capitalists and others are all for it. Money talks in politics, so we hope our side wins the money battle. The big ISPs are ghost writing letter for mayors and others who are on the take. The ISPs are telling their big customers that they better support them, or else, in private of course. It is a really ugly situation just to keep what we already have and not be robbed by the likes of Comcast, Verizon and AT&T.

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The short answer:

Whether you support network neutrality laws or think the government shouldn't be handing down rules, it’s clear to see that “net neutrality” has been the way the Internet has worked so far. Unfortunately, it’s also the case that many Internet service providers have monopolies in their geographic areas and also own cable TV and phone lines, giving them an incentive to hamper Internet-based video-streaming and VoIP services from Netflix to Skype — something that amounts to a conflict of interest. The fear is that Internet service providers could prevent competition in other areas, while consumers couldn't switch to a competing ISP because their provider has a monopoly in their area.


Why Net Neutrality is Important

At its heart, “net neutrality” is an idea that wants the Internet Service Providers, or ISPs, to get out of the way and focus only on sending data back and forth. Net neutrality proponents don’t want the Internet service providers to inspect the data — either looking at where it came from or using deep packet inspection to determine whether it’s peer-to-peer, voice-over-IP, or video-streaming data — and then decide what to do with it.


The current structure of the Internet doesn't prioritize anyone when it comes to sending data. Whether you’re accessing Google or tiny servers run by a new start-up, your Internet service provider will forward that data along. Packets are sent in a first-come, first-serve manner, which means that even Internet heavyweights like Google have to wait in line with tiny start-ups and don’t get to cut ahead.



This is good for innovation. It allows people to create new services without having their service degraded by Internet service providers prioritizing existing services, or without having to cut deals with Internet service providers and pay them for the privilege of priority traffic. It prevents Internet service providers, who often also offer cable TV and phone services, from harming competing services like Netflix and Skype.

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Check out my website. I started with a Net Neutrality countdown clock. The problem is that the folks who have the least experience in how the Internet actually works are believing the easy soundbites. Witness how recently when answering a question with sources and facts I was told that they should have known better than to confront me as they knew I would come back with tediously long reads. But on the other hand avoided reading them or commenting. IF FCC rules were against innovation and had anything to do with taxes the other big Internet companies like Google would not be for it. Apple and MS are also funding the net neutrality movement I read. Note the states in red on the map. Their legislators bought and paid for.


What stymies me is that the anti FCC Comcast and Verizon are both claiming net neutrality stifles competition and business which is what they are doing and have already done and are trying to cap off with a coup over all of us. We deconstructed Ma Bell once, now all we need to do is have the FCC regulate over title II and override state laws that keep their local boys and girls from being able to compete with out of state companies or do it themselves. The proposed FCC rules allow competition be that other companies or no restrictions or roadblocks over communities that want to do their own Municipal broadband either as a Co-Op or utility, both have succeeded brilliantly.


The technology moves fast and this scares the Cable companies and Telcos. BUt competition is good for the citizens and locals who CAN do it cheaper and better, which opens the door for Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, AT&T all to jump in and offer services faster and cheaper until the best for both Americans and American local businesses has been achieved.

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The Wall Street Journal's take:


Washington Conquers the Internet Tom Wheeler bids to become the Frank Underwood of the Web.

Feb. 4, 2015 7:21 p.m. ET Musicians and Kardashians may claim they can break the Internet by posting alluring photographs, but they have nothing on Tom Wheeler. The Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission unveiled on Wednesday a plan to demolish a policy that for two decades has allowed the Internet to become the jewel of world-wide communication and commerce. His new “Open Internet” plan represents a monumental shift from open markets in favor of government control. It is a grave threat to American innovation.

In a piece for Wired magazine, Mr. Wheeler announced that this week he will circulate to his fellow commissioners a plan to enact what President Obama demanded in November: century-old telephone regulation for today’s broadband communications companies.

“This proposal is rooted in long-standing regulatory principles,” wrote Mr. Wheeler, and he’s right. The game plan is to apply to competitive digital networks rules originally written for monopoly railroads in the 1800s. But don’t worry, this “common carrier” regulatory structure was modernized for telephones as recently as the summer of 1934 when Franklin Roosevelt signed the Communications Act.

The Wheeler cover story is that such antiquated rules are necessary to provide “net neutrality,” the concept that all Internet traffic should be treated equally and not blocked from reaching consumers—in other words, to allow the Internet to function pretty much as it does now.

But even if net neutrality were threatened, the Federal Trade Commission already has authority to punish companies that discriminate against consumers, and Congressional Republicans have already expressed their willingness to enact a law preventing the specific abuses Mr. Wheeler claims he wants to prevent. In any case, even the old telephone regs don’t treat all customers equally—they allow heavy-volume customers to get a better deal than mom and pop.

Mr. Wheeler is seeking to overturn Bill Clinton ’s policy of allowing the Internet to grow as a lightly regulated “information service” because Mr. Wheeler does not want light regulation. And while the successful bipartisan policy of allowing Internet creativity to flourish was widely supported as recently as 2010, when 74 House Democrats opposed treating the Web like a telephone system, Mr. Wheeler now sees a policy opening. With 23 months left in the Obama Administration, the former lobbyist aims to make the FCC the ruler of the Internet.

In an acrobatic feat of Orwellian logic, Mr. Wheeler even implies that telephone-style regulation must come to the Net to prevent problems that existed in the old telephone network, such as the difficulty faced by entrepreneurs trying to deploy new communications devices. But unlike in the days of the old Ma Bell telephone monopoly, new devices and services are multiplying today.

He also points to the growth of the wireless market as evidence that his regulatory plan will work, but the old telephone rules haven’t applied to wireless Internet services that don’t use the old telephone network. Congress has barred the FCC from applying the rules in this way, though Mr. Wheeler now seems determined to get around that prohibition.

Reclassifying broadband as a telecommunications service would expose it to rate regulation by the FCC and new Universal Service taxes. Mr. Wheeler says he will avoid placing these and myriad other burdens on digital networks by exercising the commission’s “forbearance” authority.

Mr. Wheeler may promise forbearance, but watch out, because that’s not how government works. The nature of bureaucracies is to grab power and expand it. Once the FCC assumes the authority to set “rates, terms and conditions” across the online economy, expect a political land rush. The Beltway struggle for advantage will be so intense and the stakes so high that even Kate Upton might pause before strolling on to this digital battlefield. And if there is one certain result from this clash of lobbyists, it is that the average Internet user will not be the winner.

Even if the FCC forbears from most of the ancient rules, the Chairman’s plan explicitly gives the commission authority to decide which business terms are “just and reasonable” and which practices are “unjust and unreasonable.” The FCC chairman will then become the Frank Underwood of the Web. And as with the “House of Cards” character, the communications and media companies that want something done in D.C. will have to go through him.

And then they’ll go to court. In recent testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee, former FCC Commissioner Rob McDowell noted that the relevant rules from the 1934 act “have spawned nearly 400 court cases. The first appellate case was decided in 1936 and the most recent appellate court decision was handed down in 2012. Additionally, as the result of decades of administrative litigation, the FCC itself has issued over 1,000 decisions attempting to apply the same ‘just and reasonable’ standard” that Mr. Wheeler is now proposing.

Mr. Wheeler claims that his “proposal assures the rights of internet users to go where they want, when they want, and the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone’s permission.” That’s false. They will soon be asking hispermission, an historic blunder that will politicize an Internet economy that has until now been dominated by innovators and consumers.

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It's simple.


"The FCC has the power to turn broadband Internet into a utility under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, which would categorize broadband services as a basic public necessity, like water and electricity. But there has been intense debate and lobbying from all sides in an effort to get their various ways.


On Monday, AT&T said in a blog posting the move to reclassify broadband as a utility was "driven by political considerations." It added to similar sentiments by Verizon just a week prior, saying that such a move would "absolutely affect us and the industry on long-term investment in our networks."


But Wheeler poured cold water on the argument. He said over the past 21 years, the wireless industry has "invested almost $300 billion under similar rules, proving that modernized Title II regulation can encourage investment and competition."



If one does not think Broadband a necessity, let them turn off their Internet.


Our cell phones have been title II the whole time. No one using their cell phone needs to ask Wheeler's permission. If the Internet providers think they can't operate under fair rules of competition then they can go into another business. All we the consumers need and want is an end to them trying to blackmail both ends against the middle.


The best indicator of future performance in past performance. The Comcast slowdowns, the Verizon tracking, yes much of those restrictions placed by the ISPs will go away once they have to compete with others.


I want, like all the others in this debate, for consumers and local startups to have a chance rather than out of towners imposing their will on us by lobbying for legislation preventing any kind of competition.


The only thing Wheeler's rules restrict is ownership of the open Internet by one company or two. And them holding the world hostage. I say break the monopoly. The cable companies will not suddenly cease to exist or make a profit. The rules allow competition. Are you against free enterprise? They are. With Net neutrality the customers get protected from them!


I find that the cable companies who have paid perfectly good money to get legislation passed to prevent municipalities under states laws to make their own municipal broadband networks is core to this regulating. In other words, it is hilarious when the ones who tried to regulate us behind closed doors, are the ones crying the loudest that all regulation is wrong. Saying that one municipal Internet failed and we are being protected as taxpayers from increased taxes is no longer their false rally, because the hundreds of successful municipal systems actually make money that goes into lowering taxes for those municipalities or if non profit, then go for half the price, at twice the speed. All those links are above.


The FCC will make net neutrality the rule. Get used to it.

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This just in:


"FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler released a statement yesterday supporting the concept of local authority for community broadband infrastructure.


Chattanooga and Wilson filed petitions to scale back state restrictions last summer. In his statement, Wheeler officially recommended the Commission approve the petitions. If approved, the petitions have the potential to liberate local communities from state restrictions.


Along with a number of other organizations that advocate local authority, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance supports Chairman Wheeler who said:


Communities across the nation know that access to robust broadband is key to their economic future – and the future of their citizens. Many communities have found that existing private-sector broadband deployment or investment fails to meet their needs. They should be able to make their own decisions about building the networks they need to thrive. After looking carefully at petitions by two community broadband providers asking the FCC to pre-empt provisions of state laws preventing expansion of their very successful networks, I recommend approval by the Commission so that these two forward-thinking cities can serve the many citizens clamoring for a better broadband future.


Chris Mitchell, Director of the Community Broadband Networks Initiative at ILSR.org and the editor of MuniNetworks.org said:


The Chairman's statement is a breath of fresh air. This approach will allow communities with little or no choice in providers to take control of their own connectivity. When local communities have the authority to invest in publicly owned infrastrucuture without state barriers, more businesses and residents have fast, affordable, reliable Internet access. Even just the possibility of a community network can incent large scale providers to improve their services. We are pleased to see Chairman Wheeler both talk the talk and walk the walk of restoring local decision-making authority.


A statement of support quickly followed from the Georgia Municipal Association:

Prohibiting government from providing this economic development infrastructure, or limiting its ability to do so, is counter to the wishes of the community and to the best interest of cities, states and our nation.


Next Century Cities, the coalition of over 50 communities working to restore local Internet choice, recently delivered a letter [PDF] from 38 member cities to the FCC, urging the Commission to consider local autonomy. Deb Socia, the Executive Director, applauded the statement:


If we want truly next-generation broadband, then cities across the country need to be in the driver’s seat. That’s why they are looking to the FCC to uphold their ability to make the best choices for their communities and residents.


Public Knowledge wrote:

Every community should have the right to determine its broadband needs and the path of its digital future, including the ability to pick competition over monopoly for broadband services. Chairman Wheeler has taken an important first step by advancing these two petitions forward.


The Media Mobilizing Project, involved in efforts to improve connectivity in Philadelphia, stated that it strongly supports Chairman Wheeler's plan to restore local authority:


Philly, every city in PA, and every community nationwide deserves the right to explore high quality competition to our communications monopolies - to drive prices down, quality up, and access to everyone, poor and working people and beyond. We look forward to Chairman Wheeler's continued leadership on this issue, and expanding options for our communities - who strongly believe that access to high quality communications is a human right.


From Common Cause:

"What a great step approval would be toward bringing broadband to every American,” agreed former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, now serving as special adviser to Common Cause’s Media and Democracy Reform Initiative. “We built this country with federal and community partnerships for vital infrastructure, and what's more vital than broadband for the 21st century? A big high-five to Chairman Tom Wheeler and the colleagues who have joined him to push this move.”


The Coalition for Local Internet Choice (CLIC) also passed a "big high-five" to the Chairman:

CLIC applauds Chairman Wheeler for his leadership and recognition that local communities play an integral role in ensuring broadband competition for their residents. This is a big step forward and just the beginning — we look forward to working with the Chairman, the rest of the Commission and other stakeholders to remove barriers to better broadband around the country.


For more on the Chattanooga and Wilson petitions, we encourage you to listen to episode #120 of the Community Broadband Bits podcast, in which we debunk a series of arguments against restoring local authority.

Chris also had an informative interview with Harold Feld on section 706 in episode #84. In that interview, published well before the Chattanooga and Wilson petitions were filed, the Senior Vice President of Public Knowledge dissected how the DC Circuit Court came to the conclusion that paved the way for the petitions.

Good stuff!"


Very good stuff on that website from real citizens who want their right to choose back, and the Cable lobbies thrown out! That article is here: http://muninetworks.org/content/supporters-rally-behind-wheeler-chattanooga-and-wilson-i-recommend-approval


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