Net Neutrality Advocates Decry FCC 'False' Solution and 'Squandered Opportunity'

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CommonDreams.org

Net Neutrality Advocates Decry FCC 'False' Solution and 'Squandered Opportunity'

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Statements by Free Press and ACLU

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. The rule passed by the FCC today does not reclassify wireless broadband service as a telecommunications service, which the ACLU and other proponents of network neutrality have long urged. Treating broadband access as similar to phone service would have allowed the FCC to rely on its broader regulatory authority.

WASHINGTON - The media advocacy group Free Press released the following statement in response to actions by the FCC today:

By
a 3-2 vote Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission approved new
rules intended to prevent Internet providers like AT&T, Comcast and
Verizon from acting as gatekeepers on the Web. The rules, however,
heavily favor the industry they are intended to regulate, and leave
consumers with minimal protections. Democratic Commissioners Mignon
Clyburn and Michael Copps voted with Chairman Julius Genachowski, while
Republican Commissioners Robert McDowell and Meredith Attwell Baker
voted against.

Free Press Managing Director Craig Aaron made the following statement:

“We are deeply disappointed that the chairman chose to ignore the
overwhelming public support for real Net Neutrality, instead moving
forward with industry-written rules that will for the first time in
Internet history allow discrimination online. This proceeding was a
squandered opportunity to enact clear, meaningful rules to safeguard the
Internet’s level playing field and protect consumers.

“The new rules are riddled with loopholes, evidence that the
chairman sought approval from AT&T instead of listening to the
millions of Americans who asked for real Net Neutrality. These rules
don't do enough to stop the phone and cable companies from dividing the
Internet into fast and slow lanes, and they fail to protect wireless
users from discrimination. No longer can you get to the same Internet
via your mobile device as you can via your laptop. The rules pave the
way for AT&T to block your access to third-party applications and to
require you to use its own preferred applications.

“Chairman Genachowski ignored President Obama's promise to the
American people to take a 'back seat to no one' on Net Neutrality. He
ignored the 2 million voices who petitioned for real Net Neutrality and
the hundreds who came to public hearings across the country to ask him
to protect the open Internet. And he ignored policymakers who urged him
to protect consumers and maintain the Internet as a platform for
innovation. It’s unfortunate that the only voices he chose to listen to
were those coming from the very industry he’s charged with overseeing."

The American Civil Liberties Union released this statement:

The
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today passed a new rule
clarifying the legal authority of the FCC to enforce network neutrality
principles. Network neutrality principles protect free speech online by
prohibiting the owner of a network from prioritizing some content on the
Internet while slowing other content.

The rule approved today by the FCC includes full network neutrality
protections for the wired Internet, which includes cable and DSL service
to homes and businesses, but provides lesser protections for wireless
broadband service and may allow wireless broadband providers to block
certain applications and services that compete with their own
applications and services. The American Civil Liberties Union has called
for network neutrality protections on both the wired and wireless
Internet as important safeguards for free speech.
 
"Network neutrality principles are essential to protecting the First
Amendment rights of Americans who rely on the Internet as a forum for
free speech. While the new FCC rule creates stronger network neutrality
protections for Americans who use the wired Internet, it fails to
provide adequate protections for Americans who rely on wireless
broadband service," said Chris Calabrese, ACLU Legislative Counsel. "By
creating two sets of regulations – one for the wired Internet and one
for wireless broadband – and failing to ground them in the strongest
legal protections available, the FCC has failed to protect free speech
and Internet openness for all users. The ACLU will continue to fight for
full network neutrality protections. Internet openness is key to
protecting our First Amendment rights."

The rule passed by the FCC today does not reclassify wireless broadband
service as a telecommunications service, which the ACLU and other
proponents of network neutrality have long urged. Treating broadband
access as similar to phone service would have allowed the FCC to rely on
its broader regulatory authority under Title II of the Communications
Act to enforce network neutrality principles.

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