Skip to comments.In Net-Neutrality Push, Democrats Aim to Make the Internet a Utility
Posted on 07/14/2014 1:48:01 PM PDT by abb
Several liberal lawmakers want to apply utility-style regulations to Internet service providers.
Sen. Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, collected signatures for a letter urging the Federal Communications Commission to regulate the Internet like the telephone system.
Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Al Franken of Minnesota, as well as independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, have signed on, aides confirmed. The lawmakers have planned a Tuesday morning press conference with Internet advocacy groups.
In the letter, the senators argue that stronger authority is necessary to enact strong net-neutrality rules to prevent broadband providers such as Comcast from manipulating Internet traffic to favor giant corporations.
"Broadband is a more advanced technology than phone service, but in the 21st century, it performs the same essential function," the senators write in a draft of the letter.
"Consumers and businesses cannot live without this vital connection to each other and to the world around them. Accordingly, it would be appropriate for the FCC to reclassify broadband to reflect the vital role the Internet plays in carrying our most important information and our greatest ideas."
Because of a decision during the Bush administration, the FCC currently regulates broadband Internet as an "information service" under Title I of the Communications Act. Reclassifying broadband as a "telecommunications service" under Title II of the law would immediately give the agency sweeping new powers.
The FCC enacted net-neutrality rules in 2010 under the weaker legal authority, but a federal court struck them down earlier this year. The FCC is trying to rework the rules in a way that can survive future court challenges, but the proposal from Chairman Tom Wheeler has prompted a massive public backlash because it would allow Internet providers to charge websites for special "fast lanes" as long as the agreements are "commercially reasonable."
In their letter, the liberal senators warn that Wheeler's proposal "could fundamentally alter the Internet as we know it."
The only way to enact effective net-neutrality rules that bar online discrimination is to use the agency's power under Title II, the senators write.
Although Democrats have long supported net neutrality, few have explicitly called for the FCC to reclassify the Internet under Title II. Thirty-seven House members of the Progressive Caucus signed a letter supporting Title II in May, but 20 Democrats signed a dueling letter opposing the option.
Republicans and major broadband providers have threatened a legal and political war with the FCC if it tries to reclassify the Internet.
Top Senate Republicans sent a letter to Wheeler in May, warning that "monopoly-era Title II regulations" would stifle investment and undermine his "ability to effectively lead the FCC." House Republican leaders fired off a similar letter the following day.
In a blog post Monday, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the lobbying group that represents Comcast and other broadband providers, urged the FCC to reject the "extreme voices" calling for reclassification.
Utility-style "common carrier" regulations would "deter ongoing investments and innovation" and would not even survive in court, the cable group warned.
Under Title II, the FCC has broad regulatory powers, including the ability to control prices and determine which customers a company has to serve. But the commission can also decide to waive any requirements under the provision.
Freaking communist bastards.
“Build it, and they will come.”
With every push for Socialism aka Communism there will be a push back.
I dare any of the statists to bring that out to the House for a vote.
Build it, and some fascist will try to control it.
There’s no control like total control...
network protocols are 100% analogous to two people talking, passing information between them
when you click a link, you are essentially asking for a file from someone else... who asks someone else on your behalf... who asks someone else... who returns the requested file back down the line.
how we choose to communicate is 100% a 1st amendment issue
the actual electricity doing the transfer would be analogous to the roads... and lends itself more readily to being called a utility
And yet, they were able to do just that for centuries before the internet was created.
It’s a 100% sure-fire winner with Millenials.
Look for Pubbies to hop on board as the train is leaving the station.
I agree, so we need to make sure the government stays out of it so they won't break the internet, too. They have done just fine without the government.
There is NOTHING that liberals don’t want to control.
Anyone remember how to set up a BBS? Packet radio?
If Schumer and Franken are FOR it, then not only is it a bad idea it will almost certainly turn out to be a criminal enterprise.
The CLECs were the "co-located exchange operators", who under the Telecommunications Act, were given access to the operating companies switch fabric. That gave them a cheap in to telecommunications--and they proceeded to compete with the incumbent carriers using the carriers' infrastructure. It was a very exciting time for their stocks, until most of them went bankrupt.
Any new technology gets about 20 years of untrammeled growth, before progressives and nanny-staters get their hands on it - and begin passing laws on licensing, taxes, access, content, etc.. The time frame is probably relatively shorter now because the Government is already so large and intrusive.
oil, electricity, autos, airplanes, television - and now the internet.
The Internet is conservative’s last stand. He tried to give it away now this.
If they ever get it we really are done.
The pubbies in the house need pass a bill real soon that prevents the FCC from doing this.
Then hope they win the Senate so it can be passed there. nobama would likely veto, but at least the intent would have been made.
I know why don’t they do obamanet...if you get food stamps and section 8 housing, then you get free internet.
Off shoot of Obama phones ya know...
Writing is on the wall...internet subsidies for the poor
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