Obama appointed a tech industry lobbyist because he wants the industry to create a tiered level of access with tech corporations allowed to charge whatever they want for internet speeds. He is not fighting for net neutrality. If you did not hear your pols shouting in 2010 that these FCC appointees work against the American people -----they are neo-liberals working with Obama to end net neutrality. Your labor and justice leaders know that each time they support a neo-liberal candidate they are supporting having 80% of citizens unable to access most of the internet content.
At the same time Obama and neo-liberals are working to end net neutrality they are privatizing public air waves to national media corporations and moving to end 'free TV'. Since broadcasters are moving all TV programming to the internet this means that if you cannot pay for private internet services you will not access TV. Cable TV and internet providers have been allowed to merge so cable is ready to send all their business to the internet. As 80% of Americans are moved out of accessing most of the internet------they will not have free TV either. Think how many Americans will not access most of communications as that happens.
THIS IS HUGE FOLKS AND NOT ONE WORD OF THIS IS TALKED ABOUT BY JUSTICE ORGANIZATIONS----BY COMMUNITIES-----BY POLITICIANS. NEO-LIBERALS ARE WORKING WITH REPUBLICANS TO END PUBLIC COMMUNICATIONS AND LABOR UNIONS/JUSTICE ORGANIZATIONS ARE SUPPORTING NEO-LIBERALS IN ELECTIONS.
Below I return to net neutrality but then go to 'free TV' and privatizing public airwaves. Some people think----they have fast lanes on the turnpike that do not hurt people so badly------THIS IS VERY DIFFERENT. Think about all of the wiring for computers in schools and then think of all the people not being able to access those computers after they graduate. Digital schools as they have in Baltimore will graduate students that work all day writing programming code-----and then will not be able to access the internet as these will be poverty jobs.
FCC vote: Net neutrality with a ‘fast lane’
Tom Wheeler and his fellow Democrats approved the plan. | AP Photo
By BROOKS BOLIEK and JESSICA MEYERS | 5/15/14 11:38 AM EDT Updated: 5/15/14 3:36 PM EDT Politico
Passions about the future of the Internet were running high Thursday as the FCC approved Chairman Tom Wheeler’s controversial net neutrality proposal — with critics saying it could lead to a world of online haves and have-nots.
Net neutrality refers to the principle that Internet providers should not block or slow certain websites. But Wheeler’s proposal has sparked a firestorm for allowing providers like AT&T and Verizon to charge companies like Google and Facebook for faster delivery of their content. That has many asking if the final rule will actually amount to true net neutrality.
Wheeler started the meeting with a fiery speech defending his approach.
“The potential for there to be some kind of a fast lane available to only a few has many people concerned,” Wheeler said. “Personally, I don’t like the idea that the Internet could be divided into haves and have nots, and I will work to see that that does not happen. In this item we specifically ask whether and how to prevent the kind of paid prioritization that could result in fast lanes.”
Protesters banged pots and waved signs outside the agency before the vote – and even attempted to crash the proceeding on a few occasions.
“The chairman spoke very eloquently about why the open Internet matters, but these are not rules that would accomplish this,” said Free Press CEO Craig Aaron. “There is a disconnect between what is said in his statement and what the effect would be.”
The vote, not surprisingly, fell along party lines, with Wheeler and fellow Democrats Mignon Clyburn and Jessica Rosenworcel approving the plan and Republicans Ajit Pai and Michael O’Rielly rejecting it. The action opens a four-month comment period for companies and members of the public to weigh in on the plan. After that, the FCC will write the final rule.
In the weeks leading up to Thursday’s vote, public interest groups, Democratic lawmakers and the nation’s leading Internet companies slammed the fast lane concept, saying it would lead to inequity on the Web. Republicans and top telecom firms, meanwhile, warned Wheeler against one option he floats in the proposal — reclassifying broadband as a utility like telephone service, which they say would impose burdensome regulation.
Lawmakers have had lots to say in the days leading up to the vote, and they were quick to react Thursday.
Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said the “American people do not care what magic words the FCC uses to assert its authority” in a bid to keep the Web “free and open.” Rockefeller said he’s “glad that all options are on the table,” including the possibility that the FCC could treat broadband as a utility.
But Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) took a harsher view.
“The very essence of net neutrality is that a better idea or service should be allowed to succeed on its merits and not have to pay tolls to reach potential customers,” he said in a statement. “Rules allowing pay-to-play deals would also harm consumers, who could no longer be confident that the Internet speeds they pay for are sufficient to access the services they want.”
Speaking at the meeting, Rosenworcel said the process that led to the net neutrality vote was “flawed” and reiterated she would have preferred a delay. But she said Wheeler had made “significant adjustments” to his proposal which allowed her to support it.
O’Rielly said there was no need for a net neutrality plan at all.
“The premise for imposing net neutrality rules is fundamentally flawed and rests on a faulty foundation of make-believe statutory authority,” he said. “I have serious concerns that this ill-advised item will create damaging uncertainty and head the Commission down a slippery slope of regulation.”
This is the FCC’s latest effort to write open Internet rules. The commission’s two previous attempts were thrown out in court, and the issue has bedeviled previous FCC chairmen.
The idea of classifying broadband as a utility — known as the Title II in FCC jargon — has become a major flashpoint in the debate. Proponents say it’s the best option to ensure true net neutrality, but telecoms argue it would burden their business with cumbersome rules.
Verizon, which successfully challenged the FCC’s previous net neutrality order, said it’s reviewing Wheeler’s proposal but warned the agency against treating broadband like traditional phone service.
“For the FCC to impose 1930s utility regulation on the Internet would lead to years of legal and regulatory uncertainty and would jeopardize investment and innovation in broadband,” Randal Milch, the company’s executive vice president for public policy, said in a statement.
President Barack Obama, who nominated Wheeler, has remained on the sidelines of the debate, with the White House repeatedly pointing out that the FCC is an independent agency that makes its own decisions.
But press secretary Jay Carney did say Thursday that the White House plans to “carefully review” the plan.
“The President has made clear since he was a candidate that he strongly supports net neutrality and an open Internet,” Carney said in a statement, later adding that the White House was pleased that Wheeler “is keeping all options on the table.”
Obama expressed support for the concept of net neutrality during the 2008 election campaign, criticizing the idea that “gatekeepers” could someday “charge different rates to different websites.”
All the protesters started filtering out after the vote, some dejected — and the green patch where they had camped outside was nearly empty.
Columbia University professor Tim Wu, who coined the term net neutrality, carried some hope as he headed out of the meeting.
Wheeler “said he feels net neutrality in his bones,” he said, “so I hope he acts on that.”
For those following the Cindy Walsh for Governor of Maryland lawsuit you see exactly what Maryland elections are embracing....they are pretending that private media controls all airwaves and can do as they please----ignoring FCC and IRS elections laws. This is just one example of how losing public control will play out. Media of course does not have that power yet----they just assume they will get it.
THEY WILL WITH NEO-LIBERALS AND REPUBLICANS IN OFFICE!
Morning News: Privatizing Public Airwaves, Campaign Money, and Free State Parks
Posted by Al Jacobs on Sat, Sep 29, 2012 at 8:55 AM The Stranger/Seattle FCC Set to Auction Airwaves: The FCC is going to auction public airwaves, probably for lots of money. Turns out the airwaves now occupied by television would be better used as high-speed Internet for sharing cat memes on "devices that have not even been thought of yet."
This is a great overview of what public airwaves are and the politics of privatization. This started as opening up more public airwaves to private development and now of course all public airwaves have to be privatized and monetized.
Think about how you sit down, turn on the TV, and watch for free what you want-----putting up with commercials. That will disappear.
For almost 70 years, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has administered and regulated the broadcast spectrum as an electronic “commons” on behalf of the American people. The FCC issues licenses to broadcasters that allow them, for a fee, to use, but not own, one or more specific radio or TV frequencies. Thus, the public has retained the ability to regulate, as well as influence, access to broadcast communications.
Several years ago, the Progress and Freedom Foundation, in their report “The Telecom Revolution: An American Opportunity,” recommended a complete privatization of the radio frequencies, whereby broadcasters with existing licenses would eventually gain complete ownership of their respective frequencies. They could thereafter develop them in markets of their choosing, or sell and trade them to other companies. The few non-allocated bands of the radio frequency spectrum would be sold off, as electronic real estate, to the highest bidders. With nothing then to regulate, the FCC would eventually be abolished. The reasoning behind this radical plan was that government control of the airwaves has led to inefficiencies. In private hands, the frequencies would be exchanged in the marketplace, and the forces of free-market supply and demand would foster the most creative (and, of course, most profitable) use of these electronic “properties.”
This privatization proposal was considered too ambitious by the Clinton administration. However, in February 2001, within months after a more “pro-business” president took office, 37 leading US economists requested, in a joint letter, that the FCC allow broadcasters to lease, in secondary markets, the frequencies they currently use under their FCC license. Their thinking was that with this groundwork laid, full national privatization would follow, and eventually nations would be encouraged to sell off their frequencies to global media enterprises.
Michael K. Powell, FCC Chairman, and son of Secretary of State Colin Powell, in a recent speech compared the FCC to the Grinch, a kind of regulatory spoilsport that could impede what he termed a historic transformation akin to the opening of the West. “The oppressor here is regulation,” he declared. In April 2001, Powell dismissed the FCC’s historic mandate to evaluate corporate actions based on the public interest. That standard, he said, “is about as empty a vessel as you can accord a regulatory agency.” In other comments, Powell has signaled what kind of philosophy he prefers to the outdated concept of public interest. During his first visit to Capitol Hill as chairman, Powell referred to corporations simply as “our clients.”
Challenges to this proposed privatization of airways have emerged from a number of sources. One group, the Democratic Media Legal Project (DMLP) in San Francisco, argues that even the existing commercial media system, aided by the Telecommunications Act of 1996, is unconstitutional because it limits diversity of viewpoints, omits or misrepresents most social, political, and cultural segments, and is unaccountable to the public. Therefore, explains DMLP, advertising-based media and the 1996 Act, which encourages mergers and cross-ownership of media outlets to the exclusion of the vast majority of people, have deprived the people of their right to self-governance- as self governance can occur only when we have the unimpeded and uncensored flow of opinion and reporting that are requisite for an informed democracy.
The course of wireless broadcasting is approaching an unprecedented and critical crossroad. The path taken by the United States, and by the other industrialized nations that may follow our lead, will profoundly influence the ability of the citizenry of each country to democratically control the media.
COMMENTS BY SCOTT GORDON, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF COMPUTER SCIENCE, SONOMA STATE UNIVERSITY:
During my 6 or 7 years of involvement with Project Censored, I have reviewed several dozen stories. Most of the stories sent to me have related to computers, communications, or other technical topics, presumably because of my Computer Science background. Often I find that such studies contain technical misinterpretation, confusion, or are simply old news to me. This was the first one to strike me as clearly deserving of consideration as a top “Censored” story.
It is frustrating to watch an expanding technology deliver hundreds of additional channels to our homes, promising diversity and expanded access, yet somehow result in a greater homogeneity than ever before. Our nation faces a virtual crisis of information flow, where corporate mergers reduce our popular voice to but a handful of media goliaths. Now more than ever, we need a strong FCC to ensure that one of our most core American values, freedom of the press, is maintained.
I had not heard of this scary proposal until I read about it for the Project. Hopefully, more people will see it for the fundamentally un-American idea that it is.
UPDATE BY AUTHOR BRENDAN KOERNER: As part of the mind-numbing alphabet soup of Beltway agencies, the Federal Communications Commission rarely receives much attention from the mainstream press. To Joe Q. Public, the FCC is still best known for harassing George Carlin over his infamous “Seven Dirty Words” routine. Beyond that, the commission is pretty much a mystery.
But the Information Age has converted the once-moribund FCC into a bureaucratic powerhouse. The commission oversees an infrastructure of airwaves, telephone lines, and cable conduits that are the backbone of a $950 billion-a-year industry. As the financial stakes have risen, the private-sector lobbyists have become increasingly adept at peddling their pro-business agenda to the FCC. And the Bush-appointed commission, led by Beltway scion Michael K. Powell, is eager to acquiesce-a sad trend chronicled in “Losing Signal.”
Since the article’s publication last summer, the FCC has proven itself adept at demolishing regulations intended to insure diversity and fairness. The commission’s willingness to approve long-distance applications from the “Baby Bell” phone companies, for instance, virtually guarantees the return of regional telco monopolies.
Yet the mainstream press has raised few warnings about the FCC’s squashing of the public interest. Quite the opposite, in fact-business sections cheer the consolidation as a sign of robust economic health, and pooh-pooh concerns over diversity as alarmism.
There are few communications activists, at least compared to the legions of lawyers and lobbyists retained by Big Media and Big Telco. The most prominent muckrakers are Jeff Chester at the Center for Digital Democracy (democraticmedia.org), the folks at the Media Access Project (mediaaccess.org), and the Project on Media Ownership (promo.org). But without more public support, they’re bound to have a tough time taking on the FCC.
UPDATE BY AUTHOR DOROTHY KIDD: Since this story was written, things have just gotten worse for the US public with regards to media democracy. Mergers are up and the number of dominant players controlling media production and distribution has shrunk to a handful. At the same time, almost all the federal government regulations that had limited monopoly, or had ensured a small measure of public service programming, have been abolished.
There are now few checks and balances to a corporate media system that is run solely for profit, permits very little diversity of programming, and considers important news of public concern just one more commercial-driven form of entertainment. As a result, the media system has curbed the rights of citizens to receive and produce the information and communication necessary for free debate in a democratic society.
The Legal Project, established to challenge the corporate media system, is now securing the funding and organization necessary to launch a protracted struggle in the courts, through the legislatures and among the public.
The mainstream media covered some of the economic and political aspects of these two trends. However, there was little or no mainstream coverage of any organized public response, very little discussion of the public implications, and no coverage of the Legal Project.
The story of the Legal Project is important because it represents a significant contribution to the growing media democracy movement. It calls the government and media corporations to task, arguing that the commercial media system is in violation of the First Amendment as it hinders the free exchange of a diversity of information and dialogue necessary to a democratic society.
You can get more information about the Legal Project from the Democratic Media Legal Project Web-site, at http://firstname.lastname@example.org/
Why do you think corporations are allowing free TV programming access online? Getting people used to viewing TV online prepares for the eventual move to all TV online only it won't be free then------it will be pay only. Making streaming video too expensive to access and then ending broadcast free TV.
'The Clinton-era 1996 Telecommunications Act which mandated the change to DTV stripped away most media ownership concentration limits and gave away huge swathes — up to $90 billion worth — of publicly owned digital broadcast spectrum to incumbent TV license holders. In return for giving up a single analog channel, each of these broadcasters received up to 10 digital channels in return. For free. Only one new public service requirement was added — a modest increase in children’s programming'.
Below you see the constant merger and consolidation that leads to corporations demanding more and more control and ownership of airwaves. Free TV online?
DO YOU THINK IT WILL LAST? OF COURSE NOT.
Remember, all of families' disposable income' will be going to pay for health insurance that they will not be able to afford to access after co-pays and deductibles.
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THESE ARE ALL REPUBLICAN POLICIES OF PRIVATIZATION AND POWER TO CORPORATIONS BEING DELIVERED BY NEO-LIBERALS. ALL OF MARYLAND POLS ARE NEO-LIBERALS AND NEO-CONS -----THAT IS WHY NOTHING IS SAID ABOUT NET NEUTRALITY. CINDY WALSH FOR GOVERNOR HAS IT IN HER PLATFORM AND NOT ONE WORD WAS MENTIONED DURING THE CAMPAIGN----DID YOU NOTICE THAT?
STOP ELECTING GLOBAL CORPORATE POLS!
AA Cable Merger Too Far - NYTimes.com - The New York TimesBy THE EDITORIAL BOARD
MAY 26, 2014
campaign: nyt2014_sharetools_mkt_opinion_47K78 -- 249335, creative: nyt2014_sharetools_mktg_opinion_47K78 -- 375123, page: www.nytimes.com/yr/mo/day/opinion/a-cable-merger-too-far.html, targetedPage: www.nytimes.com/yr/mo/day/opinion, position: MiddleLefThere are good reasons the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission should block Comcast’s $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. The merger will concentrate too much market power in the hands of one company, creating a telecommunications colossus the likes of which the country has not seen since 1984 when the government forced the breakup of the original AT&T telephone monopoly.The combined company would provide cable-TV service to nearly 30 percent of American homes and high-speed Internet service to nearly 40 percent. Even without this merger and the proposed AT&T-DirecTV deal, the telecommunications industry has limited competition, especially in the critical market for high-speed Internet service, or broadband, where consumer choice usually means picking between the local cable or phone company.
By buying Time Warner Cable, Comcast would become a gatekeeper over what consumers watch, read and listen to. The company would have more power to compel Internet content companies like Netflix and Google, which owns YouTube, to pay Comcast for better access to its broadband network. Netflix, a dominant player in video streaming, has already signed such an agreement with the company. This could put start-ups and smaller companies without deep pockets at a competitive disadvantage.
There are also worries that a bigger Comcast would have more power to refuse to carry channels that compete with programming owned by NBC Universal, which it owns. Comcast executives say that they would not favor content the company controls at the expense of other media businesses.
The company argues that this deal would not reduce choice because the company does not directly compete with Time Warner Cable anywhere. Comcast would face plenty of competition in high-speed Internet service, they say, from telephone and wireless companies.
The reality is far different. At the end of 2012, according to the F.C.C., 64 percent of American homes had only one or at most two choices for Internet service that most people would consider broadband. Wireless services can handle streaming video, but many customers of Verizon or AT&T would blow through their monthly wireless data plan by streaming just one two-hour high-definition movie, at which point they would have to fork over extra fees.
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