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House Democrats shelve net neutrality proposal
09-30-2010, 12:51 PM,
House Democrats shelve net neutrality proposal
House Democrats shelve net neutrality proposal
Sep 29, 9:58 PM (ET)

WASHINGTON (AP) - House Democrats have shelved a last-ditch effort to broker a compromise between phone, cable and Internet companies on rules that would prohibit broadband providers from blocking or degrading online traffic flowing over their networks.

House Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., abandoned the effort late Wednesday in the face of Republican opposition to his proposed "network neutrality" rules. Those rules were intended to prevent broadband providers from becoming online gatekeepers by playing favorites with traffic.

The battle over net neutrality has pitted public interest groups and Internet companies such as Google Inc. and Skype against the nation's big phone and cable companies, including AT&T Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and Comcast Corp.

Public interest groups and Internet companies say regulations are needed to prevent phone and cable operators from slowing or blocking Internet phone calls, online video and other Web services that compete with their core businesses. They also want rules to ensure that broadband companies cannot favor their own online traffic or the traffic of business partners that can pay for priority access.

But the phone and cable companies insist they need flexibility to manage network traffic so that high-bandwidth applications don't hog capacity and slow down their systems. They say this is particularly true for wireless networks, which have more bandwidth constraints than wired systems. The communications companies also argue that after spending billions to upgrade their networks for broadband, they need to be able earn a healthy return by offering premium services. Burdensome net neutrality rules, they say, would discourage future investments.

Waxman's proposal, the product of weeks of negotiations, attempted to carve out a middle ground by prohibiting Internet traffic discrimination over wireline networks while giving broadband providers more leeway when it comes to managing traffic on wireless networks. The plan would have given the Federal Communications Commission authority to impose fines of up to $2 million for net-neutrality violations.

For the broadband companies, Waxman's retreat is a setback. They fear the issue could now go back to the FCC, which deadlocked over the matter in August. The commission could impose more restrictive rules on the industry than a House compromise would have.

"If Congress can't act, the FCC must," Waxman said in a statement. He added that "this development is a loss for consumers."

Net neutrality was the Obama administration's top campaign pledge to the technology industry and a major priority of the current FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski, a key architect of Obama's technology platform. But frustration is growing - particularly among public interest groups - as the debate has dragged on over the past year without resolution either at the FCC or in Congress.

Waxman's proposal, in part, fell victim to today's political climate, with Republicans hoping to rack up gains in the upcoming midterm elections apparently unwilling to help Democrats make progress on such a contentious issue. With an anti-government, anti-regulation sentiment sweeping the nation - and boosting Tea Party candidates - Republicans also were reluctant to support a proposal that opponents equate to regulating the Internet.

Yet in what would have been a big victory for the phone and cable companies, Waxman's proposal would have headed off an effort by Genachowski to redefine broadband as a telecommunications service subject to "common carrier" obligations to treat all traffic equally.

The FCC has been trying to craft a new framework for regulating broadband since a federal appeals court in April threw out its current approach, which treats broadband as a lightly regulated "information service." The agency had argued that this approach gave it ample jurisdiction to mandate net neutrality.

But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia rejected that argument. It ruled that the agency had overstepped its authority when it ordered Comcast to stop blocking subscribers from using an online file-sharing service called BitTorrent to swap movies and other big files.

With Congress making no progress to resolve this issue, several public interest groups on Wednesday called on Genachowski to move ahead with his proposal to reclassify broadband as a telecom service.

"The FCC must act now to protect consumers by reinstating its authority over broadband," Gigi Sohn, president of the public interest group Public Knowledge, said in a statement. "We expect the FCC to do so to carry out one of the fundamental promises of the Obama administration."

But Joe Barton of Texas, the top Republican on the House Commerce Committee, said Genachowski's proposal would "stifle investment and create regulatory overhang in one of the most dynamic sectors of our economy."
09-30-2010, 01:20 PM,
RE: House Democrats shelve net neutrality proposal
So as I read it:

FCC > Congress + Senate + Judiciary

Nice way to abdicate responsibility to a committee that is not subject to accountability of the electorate. Washing the hands of any responsibility for anything that must answer in any way to the people. Fits the tsar/working group appointment policy and the executive orders.

Quote:[Net Neutrality] would stifle investment and create regulatory overhang in one of the most dynamic sectors of our economy.

Agreed but so would monopolization / cartel control though. The ping pong goes back and forth in a game where both sides are not us. Either way we lose. That is until:

* Government is held accountable for it's actions and treats the 'people' like human beings and acts like public servants that represent them.
* Citizens become majority shareholders of internet companies (we pay for the infrastructure, it was originally publicly a DARPA / University and is subsidized to a degree)
* People that work for ISPs strike if net companies go too far (and we blockade/boycott/sanction scabs) could be part of it
* Secession for Personal and State Independence
* We build or own encrypted, secure and uncensored internet to some other medium of communication.
* We say 'fuck it' to the detached medium and use the phone, HAM radio, talk to people face to face or learn telepathy (again)
* We build or own internet
* Carrier Pigeons with USB sticks

Point is we determine our own future. Demands get us nowhere without the courage to back it up with action.

More on Net Neutering:
There are no others, there is only us.
09-30-2010, 07:16 PM,
RE: House Democrats shelve net neutrality proposal
well then its up to the consumer. god help us.

Any hope i ever have for humanity is always dashed when i meet one of its members.

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