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Net Neutrality Tag

The repeal of net neutrality was supposed to trigger Armageddon, or so net neutrality proponents claimed. Yet, here we are. And here I am, blogging, creating internet real estate on a connection that's faster than before. I'm not the only one enjoying fast internet connectivity. According to Recode, internet speed rose on average, around 40% nationwide, this last year alone.

This past June,  my colleague Mary Chastain noted that the internet was still working after the Trump administration ended Obama-era "net neutrality" rules with the FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom Order. However, tinkering with working systems until they no longer function is a feature of the California state legislature, so it created its own "net neutrality" rules that were recently signed into law. This action triggered the Trump administration to file a lawsuit to stop the implementation.

Last May, former FCC Chief Information Officer (CIO) David Bray claimed that the agency was "a victim to a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS attack, a scheme in which hackers overwhelm a target site with fake traffic" during the net neutrality fight. It looks like an upcoming report from the FCC's inspector general will dispute Bray's (DDoS) claims that a cyberattack hit the agency's comment section in May 2017. Instead, it appears that concerned citizens, not bots or fake people,  who wanted to show their support net neutrality made the FCC website slow down.

Remember when the FCC repealed net neutrality last December? Net neutrality supporters went into hyperbole-overload. Some even spewed racial slurs at FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and stalked his house. You would've thought the world, or at the least, the internet would end. The FCC's Restoring Internet Freedom Order went into effect today, June 11, and...the internet is still working. The world is still turning.

Last year, we documented the many times losers harassed FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and his family because he had the nerve to unravel net neutrality. THE HORROR. Even though it's over and done with, Pai and his family still face harassment, including racist remarks. Weird, considering that side is supposedly tolerant.

On early Monday morning, the U.S. Appeals Court decided not to rehear a challenge to its decision to uphold the net neutrality rules, known as Title II, from former President Barack Obama. Its decision comes right after FCC Chairman Ajit Pai made it known he will continue with his plan to roll back these net neutrality rules. Obama's rules do not allow broadband users to slow or block "rivals' content." Netflix and Apple enjoy Obama's rules, but AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast cannot stand them because those companies want "to slow or even block the transmission of disfavored content."

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai took his war on net neutrality to Europe for the Mobil World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. He told his counterparts that the rules implemented under former President Barack Obama closed off progress as the world becomes more dependent on technology:
"We are confident in the decades-long, cross-party consensus on light-touch Internet regulation — one that helped America’s digital economy thrive," Pai said. "Our approach will be not zero regulation, but light-touch regulation — rules backed by long-standing principles of competition law."

Controlling the internet is a goal of the progressive left, including the White House, and we've covered one of their angles to that end, net neutrality, here at LI.  On Friday, the House passed a bill that would prohibit the FCC from "setting or setting or reviewing the rates that companies charge for internet service." The Hill reports:
The House on Friday passed a bill to ban the Federal Communications Commission from setting or reviewing the rates that companies charge for internet service. The largely party-line vote is a win for Republicans, who have pushed for the past year to nibble away at the FCC’s internet regulations, which are currently being challenged in federal court.
Obama has indicated that he will veto this bill restraining the FCC's ability to regulate the internet or to set rates (and otherwise pick winners and losers), so as the Hill reports, this bill will not be enacted this year.
The stand-alone bill has no real chance of of being enacted this year with a White House veto threat hanging over it. The FCC says it has no intention of setting the price of internet service under its net neutrality rules, but Democrats argue the bill approved Friday is too expansive.

The history of the Lifeline (aka Obamaphone) program is often cited by progressives as a Republican scheme, and in some ways, it is.  As Daniel Greenfield explains:
At the same time it should be recognized that the roots of this monstrosity began under Bush when the [Universal Service Fund] USF was used to subsidize cell phones. The original purpose of the USF was to provide landline access to rural communities. That made sense because people who are 40 miles away from help need a lifeline. Then the ‘lifeline’ became a way for every housing project resident, who has a cop downstairs, to get a free cell phone. That’s why the lefty howls of “It’s a ReaganPhone” are lie. This was never supposed to mean free cell phones with every welfare check. But then it was and did.
This is one reason that I oppose almost all such federal programs; over time, they become bloated, wasteful, abused "rights" that no longer even remotely resemble the original program or its intent. Now, Obama's FCC plans to take the Obamaphone program to the next level: the internet.

If activists want to stop the rollout of the new net neutrality rules, they're going to have to use the courts to do it. Since the FCC first announced that it had approved a new set of regulations governing internet providers, those providers have been trying to find a way to block the rollout, which is set to happen on June 12. They're attacking both the FCC's intent to classify the internet as a utility, and provisions that would prevent providers from self-regulating internet traffic. Yesterday, the FCC denied petitions from eight of these providers asking the Commission to hold off on implementing the rules until the court battles settle themselves. The denial comes as a shock to absolutely no one, and ushers in a new round of court challenges in addition to ones already brought by AT&T and other providers. More via The Hill:

Yesterday, the first two lawsuits dealing with the new "Net Neutrality" rules were filed in federal court. The United States Telecom Association, a trade org representing the nation's largest telecom companies, and Alamo Broadband, a small Texas-based broadband company, are both suing over the FCC's choice to use Title II of the Communications Act to regulate the way comms companies grant access to different types of online content. Via Cnet:
"As we have said throughout this debate, our member companies conduct their business in conformance with the open Internet principles, and support their enactment into law," USTelecom President Walter McCormick said in a statement. "We do not believe the Federal Communications Commission's move to utility-style regulation invoking Title II authority is legally sustainable." USTelecom said it filed its five-page protective petition for review out of concern that a 10-day period to challenge the rules was triggered when the agency published the new rules on March 12. However, the FCC said the window for legal challenges is 60 days after the rules are published in the Federal Register, which is expected to occur in the coming days. An FCC spokesperson called the petitions for review "premature and subject to dismissal."
Techdirt has the two filings embedded here.

Two weeks ago, the FCC voted along party lines to change the internet as we know it. They did it in the name of "fairness," and "equality," and "adapting to a rapidly changing internet landscape." A lot of meaningless platitudes boiled down to one simple idea: the necessary and inevitable takeover of the internet by government. Last week, the FCC released the rules. Here's the short and sweet version:
The FCC's Net neutrality order boils down to three key rules: No Blocking. Simply put: A broadband provider can't block lawful content, applications, services or nonharmful devices. No Throttling. The FCC created a separate rule that prohibits broadband providers from slowing down specific applications or services, a practice known as throttling. More to the point, the FCC said providers can't single out Internet traffic based on who sends it, where it's going, what the content happens to be or whether that content competes with the provider's business. No Paid Prioritization. A broadband provider cannot accept fees for favored treatment. In short, the rules prohibit Internet fast lanes.
Sound straightforward? Not so fast. We have 400 pages of rules written ostensibly to govern and oversee the internet, and yet the FCC still can't tell us exactly what they plan on doing with their newly-gained authority. The agency has already waffled on how exactly they'll handle key areas of the new regulatory scheme:

This week, the FCC voted 3-2 in favor of implementing net neutrality policies. These rules will prevent internet service providers like Verizon or Comcast from blocking or throttling traffic, ban giving priority to providers who are willing to pay for faster service, and reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service. This means that internet service will now be regulated under stricter, utility-based laws the government currently uses to control wired telephone and other similar services. The pro-NN moves made by the FCC have come under attack from both activists, and members of Congress. A recent poll shows that only 1 in 3 Americans thinks that more regulation will lead to a freer internet. We're looking at one of the most controversial regulatory decisions made in recent years, and still, only about 1/4 of Americans have heard of "net neutrality," and have a basic understanding of how these policies could affect the way they use the internet. This is a problem---but we may have a solution. TomoNews, a Taiwan-based animation firm, has released a (moderately whacked-out) cartoon out that both lampoons the ridiculous moves by the FCC, and educates its audience about what net neutrality could mean for the future of the internet. Watch:
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