Items tagged "Non-Discrimination"

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The FCC Network Neutrality Order: Possible Adequacy, But No Regulatory Certainty Any Time Soon.

December 21, 2010 Broadband , Enforcement , FCC , Network Neutrality , Non-Discrimination

So after a year of process, what has the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) accomplished on network neutrality? I will not say “nothing,” and I understand why FCC Democratic Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn regard it as better than nothing. But specifics prove damned elusive. And therein lies the problem for this Order (at least as we understand it).


On every single important and controversial question on what an “open Internet” actually means, — such as whether companies can create “fast lanes” for “prioritized” content or what exactly wireless providers can and cannot do — the actual language of the rules is silent, ambiguous, or even at odds with the text of the implementing Order. The only way to find out what protections consumers actually have will be through a series of adjudications at the FCC.

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Zoom Shows How Comcast Abuses Its Market Power to Restrict Competition

November 29, 2010 Broadband , Network Neutrality , Non-Discrimination , Set-Top Box

Net neutrality means that consumers have the right to use lawful applications and devices on their broadband connections.  With its secret blocking of BitTorrent, Comcast has shown that it doesn’t think much of application freedom. Today, as a complaint by Zoom Telephonics to the FCC spells out, it’s clear that Comcast doesn’t think very highly of device freedom, either. (Here’s a link to a PDF of the complaint.)

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The Open Internet Under Assault

October 27, 2010 Broadband , FCC , Network Neutrality , Network Open Access , Non-Discrimination

It’s not at all difficult to look at all that went on over the last couple of weeks and wonder if the Open Internet was only a grand dream that never existed, or was a phenomenon that appeared all too briefly and then was gone.  Either way, there are more losers than winners.

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Why I’m Amused Rather Than Outraged Over New “Industry Negotiations” — And What The Democrats Need

August 20, 2010 Non-Discrimination , Regulation , Verizon , Wireless , Wireline

I occassionally suspect my colleagues in the Public Interest community lack a sense of humor — although perhaps it is simply that I am in a more relaxed frame of mind after my annual vacation from the 21st Century. I am neither surprised nor outraged at the recent news that members of the Information Technology Industry Council (ITIC) are picking up where the FCC “secret meetings” left off and trying to come up with a net neutrality consensus framework. To me, it seems rather sad and funny. My only surprise is that even in Washington, the notion of an industry trade association working with its members is anything unusual or significant. I mean, that’s what industry trade associations do after all.

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Why the FCC’s Net Neutrality Negotiations Failed and the Opportunity it Presents

August 9, 2010 Broadband , FCC , National Broadband Plan , Network Neutrality , Non-Discrimination

This summer has been one of the most exhausting in recent memory.  First, there has been a constant barrage of record heat and humidity.  Second, there is the continuing battle over whether and how to preserve the FCC’s authority to protect broadband consumers and ensure universal broadband access.  While the former is somewhat predictable for Washington, the latter has been like a soap opera, with lots of plot twists, make-ups and break-ups and nearly a few tears (of utter frustration).

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The FCC’s Dangerous Game of ‘Let’s Make A Deal’

August 4, 2010 AT&T , Broadband , Non-Discrimination , Verizon , Wireless

For whatever reason, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continues its misguided game of  “Let’s Make A Deal” with the big telecom empires.   Since the end of June, FCC Chief of Staff Edward Lazarus has convened representatives from AT&T, Verizon, the National Cable Telecommunications Association, Google, Skype and the Open Internet Coalition in an effort to try to have those negotiators do what FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski apparently won’t do – make a decision about the future of broadband and the Internet in this country.

As far apart as the parties are, it’s increasingly unlikely that any overarching deal will be reached, even though negotiating sessions are scheduled for today (Aug. 4) and tomorrow (Aug. 5), following a marathon Saturday session on July 31.  The Empire is stuck in 2005, giving nothing up and expecting surrender from the other side. 

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Why Do We Care About FCC Authority Over Broadband? What I told State Commissioners at NARUC,

July 22, 2010 Broadband , Comcast , FCC , Network Neutrality , Non-Discrimination

I hope someone made a videotape of my debate with Ray Gifford at NARUC. For my money, it provided the most succinct and straightforward framework for arguing about FCC broadband authority and where we ought to go from here. Ray framed it quite well as a conflict in vision between a classic Progressive Era philosophy and “economic analytics.” While I’m willing to debate in the economic analytics world (the two are not mutually exclusive, and economics informs progressive philosophy as much as concerns about public safety and consumer protection inform economic analytics), I think this makes a fairly good framework for how to approach these issues. Indeed, as a result of framing this as a difference in worldview, we avoided a lot of the acrimony and repetition that usually defines these debates.

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Internet Video and the Comcast-NBCU Merger

June 22, 2010 Broadband , Comcast , Competition , FCC , Non-Discrimination

Yesterday was the deadline for comments to the FCC regarding the proposed merger between Comcast and NBC Universal. Since one of the country’s biggest owners and operators of cable infrastructure is trying to integrate itself with one of the country’s biggest television content providers, there are a lot of potential issues that might arise. We at Public Knowledge, though, are leaving much of that for others to hash out; in our filing, we’re focused on the narrower issue of “over-the-top” Internet video–services that provide video content without owning the infrastructure that transmits the actual bits of the video. 

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The Big Lie About The FCC’s Third Way To An Open Internet — (And a Dirty Little Secret)

May 13, 2010 Network Neutrality , Non-Discrimination

The Big Lie isn’t called the Big Lie for nothing.  It’s put before the public by organizations with comfy-sounding names, repeated endlessly in ads and columns and blog posts and tweets by groups and politicians – many of whom receive support from those the Big Lie favors.  Here’s the current case in point.  The government wants to takeover/control/regulate the Internet.

Who was responsible for this?  Start with Americans for Prosperity.  It’s hard to quibble with a name for a group like “Americans for Prosperity.”  After all, who doesn’t want Americans to be prosperous?  Therefore, it’s somewhat curious that a group that purports to have our well-being at heart is taking on the one institution that has been the greatest creator of wealth we have ever seen – the Internet.

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Determining Causality in Telecommunications

May 6, 2010 FCC , Innovation , Last Mile , Non-Discrimination , Regulatory Reform

With the FCC and most government actors obsessed with incentive creation, it makes sense to determine whether and how a regulatory or deregulatory action causes some desired outcome.  Consider the creation of incentives to invest in physical plant.  Incumbent carriers have spent a lot of time, money and effort arguing that regulation creates investment disincentives and deregulation does the desired opposite.  This simplistic and not always correct premise constitutes the prevailing wisdom in the U.S.

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