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Franken: Under FCC’s ‘neutrality’ rules, ‘the Internet as we know it would cease to exist’

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was expected this week to vote on a set of so-called “Net Neutrality” rules that some Democrats believed would fulfill a key Obama campaign promise to ensure all Internet traffic is treated equally.

Instead, rules authored by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski would allow for a greater fractioning of the Internet and data rationing on mobile and wired networks, according to analysis of the policies. Major network stakeholders like Verizon and AT&T would be able to sell bandwidth in capped tiers, with overage charges for users who download too much information, and certain types of data traffic like peer-to-peer file transfers could be banned altogether.

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If they pass and telecoms are allowed to move forward with their plans, “the Internet as we know it would cease to exist,” Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) concluded in an editorial published by Huffington Post.

“That’s why Tuesday is such an important day,” he continued. “The FCC will be meeting to discuss those regulations, and we must make sure that its members understand that allowing corporations to control the Internet is simply unacceptable.”

Franken added that Genachowski “has been calling the CEOs of major Internet corporations seeking their public endorsement” of a bill that would actually “destroy” the principle of “Net Neutrality.”

He also called “troubling” the fact that President Obama and Genachowski have campaigned “convincingly” for “Net Neutrality,” yet now appear poised to deal its death blow.

“Imagine if Comcast customers couldn’t watch Netflix, but were limited only to Comcast’s Video On Demand service,” Franken continued. “Imagine if a cable news network could get its website to load faster on your computer than your favorite local political blog. Imagine if big corporations with their own agenda could decide who wins or loses online. The Internet as we know it would cease to exist.”

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In a recent speech, Genachowski specified that the FCC’s rules would permit ISPs to charge heavy bandwidth users even more, creating a tiered pricing structure. ISPs would also be able to charge fees to businesses serving large quantities of data.

The announcement was a victory for Comcast, the nation’s largest cable Internet provider, which recently forced a bandwidth toll upon Netflix partner Level 3. The company called Comcast’s move “extortion,” but agreed to their conditions to prevent any service interruptions.

Comcast insisted the move had nothing to do with Net neutrality.

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Tiered pricing structures are already in place for many communications providers like AT&T and Cricket, which offer wireless broadband services. Verizon said it would implement similar pricing structures in the coming months.

The FCC’s rules would permit the practice on wired networks as well. Both Comcast and Time Warner, two of America’s largest wired broadband providers, have already experimented with the practice.

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On wired Internet, which is expected to dramatically decrease in relevance in the coming years as fourth-generation wireless networks proliferate, a “public Internet” would be protected from bandwidth throttling. Companies, however, would be permitted to experiment with establishing super-tiers for preferred traffic, but must justify why individual services should be separated from the public Internet.

The FCC would additionally require broadband providers to disclose their network management practices.

“That’s why net neutrality is the most important free speech issue of our time,” Sen. Franken concluded. “And that’s why, this Tuesday, when the FCC meets to discuss this badly flawed proposal, I’ll be watching. If they approve it as is, I’ll be outraged. And you should be, too.”

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Joy Reid: What’s the point of having laws if the president’s friends can break them without consequence?

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The recent pardon of ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn exasperated MSNBC's Joy Reid, who welcomed former federal prosecutors on her show Wednesday. She explained that President Donald Trump's opposition to "law and order" when it comes to his friends is just more example of Republican hypocrisy to which Americans have become accustomed.

"You know, and Congressman Lieu, you've got The Wall Street Journal going sort of deeper into some of the other things that he did," Reid said of Flynn. "This is not the guy we remember just chanting 'lock her up' at the 2016 Republican National Convention, which is what probably people know him for. Michael Flynn planned to forcibly kidnap a Muslim cleric living in the United States and deliver him to Turkey under the alleged proposal. Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr. were to be paid as much as $15 million to deliver him to the Turkish government, basically renditioning him for cash. Yet you have Lindsey Graham still Lindsey Grahaming calling it 'a great use of the pardon.' A-OK. Great job, Donald. I wonder what you make of this. I'm old enough to remember when Bill Clinton did a pardon for which Republicans would love to see him clacked in leg irons at the end of his presidency!"

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‘Last chapter in The Godfather’: Watergate prosecutor tears into Trump’s ‘continuing coverup’ of his associates’ Russia misdeeds

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On CNN Wednesday, former Watergate assistant special prosecutor Nick Akerman tore into outgoing President Donald Trump for his pardon of ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — and warned that a larger coverup is looming.

"I think you have to look at the big picture here," said Akerman. "The big picture is that this is part of the continuing coverup of Donald Trump's efforts to conceal what happened between his campaign in 2016 with the Russian government. It started with Jim Comey, his firing because he refused to basically give an oath of loyalty to Donald Trump. It continued when Robert Mueller was appointed, the continuing threats of firing Mueller and his staff. It continued with Roger Stone, who was — his sentence was commuted."

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Conservative Charlie Sykes tells Trump if he wants a pardon — he’ll have to admit he’s guilty first

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Editor and creator of The Bulwark, Charlie Sykes, told MSNBC's Joy Reid that the most "Trumpy" of things President Donald Trump could do is pardon himself ahead of leaving office in January.

After the president pardoned ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, it sparked new anticipation on how Trump will protect himself from prosecution after leaving office. Trump was alleged to have committed at least ten acts of obstruction of justice by special counsel Robert Mueller. In that case, the Justice Department followed the internal rule that sitting presidents could not be indicted. Then, it stands to reason that the Justice Department would also follow a 1974 memo from the same Office of Legal Counsel that said a president could not pardon himself.

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