Leading the charge for Net Neutrality, is Free Press, an anti “big media” organization funded by socialist/progressive donors such as George Soros’ Open Society Institute; the Nathan Cummings Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Glaser Progress Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, the Overbrook Foundation, the Philadelphia Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, the Surdna Foundation, and the Wallace Global Fund.
Even while its founders and conferences call for revolution, the overthrow of the capitalist system, and the socialization of America, Free Press has been regularly granted audiences not only with members of Congress, but with those overseeing media policy at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). For example, when Julius Genachowski, who worked as a prominent leader in Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, became chairman of the FCC (on June 29, 2009), he promptly appointed Free Press spokeswoman Jen Howard to be his press secretary. By late September, three months into his new job, Genachowski announced his plan to push for net neutrality.
On May 11, 2010, at a Free Press Summit in Washington DC, Democratic Senator Bryon Dorgan gave the keynote speech and declared that critics of net neutrality were simply engaging in the “big lie that permeates public policy today.” He also argued that net neutrality could not be accurately described as a takeover of the Internet, since the Internet was created by the federal government in the first place and already had rules that underpinned net neutrality. (Source: Discover the Networks)
Is there a way to avoid government control of the net? Two major internet companies Google (which was in favor of neutrality) and Verizon (which was opposed) seemed to come up with a compromise). They have agreed to a set of rules for the Internet that would prohibit broadband providers from blocking or degrading lawful content on the Internet. Broadband providers would also not be allowed to take action to impede competition. The proposal has seven parts:
- First, both companies have long been proponents of the FCC’s current wireline broadband openness principles, which ensure that consumers have access to all legal content on the Internet, and can use what applications, services, and devices they choose. The enforceability of those principles was called into serious question by the recent Comcast court decision. Our proposal would now make those principles fully enforceable at the FCC.
- Second, we agree that in addition to these existing principles there should be a new, enforceable prohibition against discriminatory practices. This means that for the first time, wireline broadband providers would not be able to discriminate against or prioritize lawful Internet content, applications or services in a way that causes harm to users or competition. Importantly, this new nondiscrimination principle includes a presumption against prioritization of Internet traffic – including paid prioritization. So, in addition to not blocking or degrading of Internet content and applications, wireline broadband providers also could not favor particular Internet traffic over other traffic.
- Third, it’s important that the consumer be fully informed about their Internet experiences. Our proposal would create enforceable transparency rules, for both wireline and wireless services. Broadband providers would be required to give consumers clear, understandable information about the services they offer and their capabilities. Broadband providers would also provide to application and content providers information about network management practices and any other information they need to ensure that they can reach consumers.
- Fourth, because of the confusion about the FCC’s authority following the Comcast court decision, our proposal spells out the FCC’s role and authority in the broadband space. In addition to creating enforceable consumer protection and nondiscrimination standards that go beyond the FCC’s preexisting consumer safeguards, the proposal also provides for a new enforcement mechanism for the FCC to use. Specifically, the FCC would enforce these openness policies on a case-by-case basis, using a complaint-driven process. The FCC could move swiftly to stop a practice that violates these safeguards, and it could impose a penalty of up to $2 million on bad actors.
- Fifth, we want the broadband infrastructure to be a platform for innovation. Therefore, our proposal would allow broadband providers to offer additional, differentiated online services, in addition to the Internet access and video services (such as Verizon’s FIOS TV) offered today. This means that broadband providers can work with other players to develop new services.
- Sixth, we both recognize that wireless broadband is different from the traditional wireline world, in part because the mobile marketplace is more competitive and changing rapidly. In recognition of the still-nascent nature of the wireless broadband marketplace, under this proposal we would not now apply most of the wireline principles to wireless, except for the transparency requirement. In addition, the Government Accountability Office would be required to report to Congress annually on developments in the wireless broadband marketplace, and whether or not current policies are working to protect consumers.
- Seventh, and finally, we strongly believe that it is in the national interest for all Americans to have broadband access to the Internet. Therefore, we support reform of the Federal Universal Service Fund, so that it is focused on deploying broadband in areas where it is not now available.
This proposal does have its advantages, the best of which is the second point where broadband providers could not favor particular Internet traffic over other traffic. This does take it out of government hands and guarantees no voice will be silenced.
I am not sure why the companies do not included wireless internet as part of the deal.Especially the part about not favoring one some internet traffic over others. Additionally the seventh point seems to indicate that broadband internet service is now being seen as a universal right. If that particular right can be found anywhere in the Constitution, please someone show it to me.
On the other hand the proposal must have its good parts because it is universally hated by the progressive/ socialist organizations that are pushing for the FCC to take over the net, groups such as MoveOn.Org Civic Action, Credo Action, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, ColorofChange.org, and Free Press.
Truth is the agreement is a first step, and a positive one, but before it is all over, Google, Verizon and indeed other Internet and content providers, will be spending plenty of time with the FCC and Congress negotiating a final deal.
The key is to keep an eye on the development of this possible agreement versus the move by the government to control your internet free speech and be ready to speak out to ensure your First Amendment rights.
Jeff Dunetz is editor of the Political Blog The Lid, a contributor to American Thinker, Big Government,Big Hollywood, Big Journalism, and Big Peace, and a Red State diarist