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Obama on Net Nutrality

 
 
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 09:33 am
http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=g-mW1qccn8k&eurl=http://www.savetheinternet.com/
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Type: Discussion • Score: 8 • Views: 3,330 • Replies: 24
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Phoenix32890
 
  2  
Reply Sun 23 Nov, 2008 09:38 am
@edgarblythe,
Sounds good to me. I am becoming more and more impressed with Obama. His "take" on the internet, IMO is right on target.He seems to have exceptional executive ability. Let's see what happens when he is actually in office!
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 03:24 am
For anyone who isn't clear on what Net Neutrality is all about, here's an interview from MTV with Obama where he addresses the question in laymen's terms.



This is fairly detailed and technical interview with Obama from December, 2007 on Net Neutrality.

http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/11/26/qa-with-senator-barack-obama-on-key-technology-issues/

0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 09:22 am
Is there a specific bill on net neutrality that Obama has sponsored? Net neutrality regulations could be better than the monopoly problem they're designed to solved, or they could be worse. It depends on the details of what's regulated and how, and cannot be gaughed from high-level political slogans.
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 09:32 am
@Thomas,
Quote:
Is there a specific bill on net neutrality that Obama has sponsored?


Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 09:53 am
@maporsche,
I'm always happy to amuse you, maporsche, but hasn't Obama been a senator for the last four years? And isn't writing and sponsoring bills what senators do?
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 10:00 am
@Thomas,
That's why it's funny Thomas.

I was arguing during the 14 year primary process that we need to look at the Senator's records, not their promises, when trying to see how they'd govern.

A big part of the reason I don't trust Obama is that he really doesn't have a record. Especially where it counts.

Obama doesn't sponser bills, he gives speeches.

NOW, we see Obama saying that we're not going to leave Iraq any time too soon. He's backing off his promise to raise taxes on the rich. He's going to end up postponing tax breaks for the middle class. He's postponing the taxes he proposed on businesses. He ran a campaign on change, but he's installing 70% of Clinton's people into Sr level positions.

I think some of his decisions are the right ones now, it's just funny that the people who voted for him based on his promises aren't getting what they want from the guy. If he had a record, maybe they'd have had a better idea what they were in store for.
ebrown p
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 10:06 am
@maporsche,
You both do know the election is over, right?

The proof now is in how he governs.... let's give the guy a chance.
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 10:09 am
@ebrown p,
I'm ready to.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  2  
Reply Mon 24 Nov, 2008 11:35 am
@Thomas,
This is a 2006 article about the Snowe/Drogan bill that Obama was one of six co-sponsors of. From what I've been able to find, it looks like the bill did not make it out of committee.

http://news.cnet.com/Net-neutrality-field-in-Congress-gets-crowded/2100-1028_3-6074564.html

There is a link to the actual language of the bill in the article.

Excerpt:

Quote:
IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
MAY 19, 2006
Ms. SNOWE (for herself, Mr. DORGAN, Mr. INOUYE, Mr. WYDEN, Mr. LEAHY, Mrs. BOXER, Mr. OBAMA, and Mrs. CLINTON) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 08:02 am
@Butrflynet,
I'm not particularly impressed with this specific bill. It appears to be written by lawyers, and does not appear overly informed about the nuts and bolts of how the internet, and access to it, work. I hope Obama consults some network engineers before he implements his net neutrality policies.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 08:06 am
@Butrflynet,
maporsche wrote:
Obama doesn't sponser bills, he gives speeches.


Butrflynet wrote:
This is a 2006 article about the Snowe/Drogan bill that Obama was one of six co-sponsors of.


Thanks, Butrflynet.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 08:42 am
Has Obama articulated a position on common carrier regulations for broadband access? In my opinion, such regulations would eliminate the conditions under which broadband providers can discriminate against providers, users, and services. They would be much more effective than high-minded legal concepts in achieving what net neutrality activists want.

Background: Back in the days of the AT&T monopoly, common carrier regulations forced AT&T to let competitors use its cables on "the last mile" from the telephone switching station to the users' homes. The Telecommunication act of 1996 extended this principle to dial-up internet access. As a result, dial-up internet was a competitive business, where users could choose between dozens of providers. Although net neutrality wasn't the law then, it was (close enough to) the reality. That's because any attempt by one provider to discriminate would make customers switch to one of its eleven competitors. (Or whatever the actual number was.)

This changed when the Bush administration came in, and appointed Michael Powell to lead the FCC. (Yes, Michael Powell is the son of Powell. He left the FCC just a few months after his father left the State Department. But I digress.) As Paul Krugman put it in a 2002 Op-Ed, "the F.C.C. used linguistic trickery -- defining cable Internet access as an 'information service' rather than as telecommunications -- to exempt cable companies from the requirement to act as common carriers." As a result, when you want broadband access, you have to buy it either from your monopolist phone company or your monopolist cable provider. If you are very lucky (like me), the two will compete with each other, and you will face a duopoly instead of a monopoly. But you will never deal with a dozen competitors, as you used to in the days of dial-up access.

And now cable and phone companies want to use their chokehold on the consumer to establish preferred services, create express lanes on the information highway, and charge content providers extra for using them.

Internet neutrality laws may or may not curb this discrimination. But they don't even try to eliminate the chokehold that makes the discrimination possible in the first place. The problem with them isn't that they're wrong in their intentions, it's that they miss the point in practice. The way to eliminate discrimination by monopolists isn't anti-discrimination laws. It's competition. One way to create competition would be to make room for competing access technologies such as wireless, or whatever the whiz kids in Silicon Valley might come up with. Another would be to restore the FCC's pre-Bush, pre-Powell common carrier regulations.

But that's nuts-and-bolts talk, unappealing to lawyers. Waxing eloquently about "net neutrality" certainly sounds better.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 25 Nov, 2008 08:42 am
@Butrflynet,
Yes, thanks for the link, Butrflynet. I'm sorry if I sounded dismissive.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 11:26 am
In light of this court decision, should the purchase of NBC Universal by Comcast now be evaluated under existing anti-trust/monopoly regulations? How will this effect media plans to charge fees for access to their news sites? Will media giants like CNN/Time, NY Times, Fox, etc., now be able to pay Comcast and other broadband providers to block/slow down their competitor's?

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/07/technology/07net.html?hpw

April 6, 2010
Court Rules Against F.C.C. in ‘Net Neutrality’ Case
By EDWARD WYATT

WASHINGTON " A federal appeals court on Tuesday dealt a sharp blow to the efforts of the Federal Communications Commission to set the rules of the road for the Internet, ruling that the agency lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks.

The decision, by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, specifically concerned the efforts of Comcast, the nation’s largest cable provider, to slow down customers’ access to a service called BitTorrent, which is used to exchange large video files, most often pirated copies of movies.

After Comcast’s blocking was exposed, the F.C.C. told Comcast to stop discriminating against BitTorrent traffic and in 2008 issued broader rules for the industry regarding “net neutrality,” the principle that all Internet content should be treated equally by network providers. Comcast challenged the F.C.C.’s authority to issue such rules and argued that its throttling of BitTorrent was necessary to ensure that a few customers didn’t unfairly hog the capacity of the network, slowing down Internet access for all of its customers.

But Tuesday’s court ruling has far larger implications than just the Comcast case.

The ruling would allow Comcast and other Internet service providers to restrict consumers’ ability to access certain kinds of Internet content, such as video sites like Hulu.com or Google’s YouTube service, or charge certain heavy users of their networks more money for access.

Google, Microsoft and other big producers of Web content have argued that such controls or pricing policies would thwart innovation and customer choice.

Consumer advocates said the ruling, one of several that have challenged the F.C.C.’s regulatory reach, could also undermine all of the F.C.C.’s attempts to regulate Internet service providers and establish its authority over the Internet, including its recently released national broadband plan.

“This decision destroys the F.C.C.’s authority to build broadband policy on the legal theory established by the Bush Administration,” said Ben Scott, the policy director for Free Press, a nonprofit organization that advocates for broad media ownership and access.

The decision could reinvigorate dormant efforts in Congress to pass a federal law specifically governing net neutrality, a principle generally supported by the Obama Administration.

While the decision is a victory for Comcast, it also has the potential to affect the company’s pending acquisition of a majority stake in NBC Universal.

Members of Congress have expressed concern that the acquisition could give Comcast the power to favor the content of its own cable and broadcast channels over those of competitors, something that Comcast has said it does not intend to do. Now, members of Congress could also fret that Comcast will also block or slow down customers’ access to the Web sites of competing television and telecommunications companies.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 12:10 pm
@Butrflynet,
Butrflynet wrote:
In light of this court decision, should the purchase of NBC Universal by Comcast now be evaluated under existing anti-trust/monopoly regulations? How will this effect media plans to charge fees for access to their news sites?

It should be evaluated under these regulations regardless of the court decision: The merger establishes a horizontal monopoly whether the FCC enacts a net neutrality policy or not, so antitrust law applies either way.

Butrflynet wrote:
Will media giants like CNN/Time, NY Times, Fox, etc., now be able to pay Comcast and other broadband providers to block/slow down their competitor's?

In the short run, maybe, because federal law has not given the FCC jurisdiction to stop them. But the FCC never had that jurisdiction, so those content providers could have been doing this for as long as they'd had websites. Therefore I guess that other constraints are keeping them back, and that the providers are unlikely to start now.

In the long run, Congress can fix this by changing the Communications Act of 1934 to give the FCC primary jurisdiction over internet providers' network management practices. Notice that the DC Appeals Court's decision (PDF here) takes no position on the merits of net neutrality, or on policies enacting it. It merely says that there currently is no statute granting the FCC the power to enact such policies. Nothing is preventing Congress from enacting such a statute. So this would be a good time for president Obama to back up his intelligent rhetoric by introducing concrete legislation. The Snowe-Dorgan bill, to which you had linked earlier, would accomplish the goal.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 12:39 pm
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:
Butrflynet wrote:
Will media giants like CNN/Time, NY Times, Fox, etc., now be able to pay Comcast and other broadband providers to block/slow down their competitor's?

[...]
The Snowe-Dorgan bill, to which you had linked earlier, would accomplish the goal [of preventing that].

On re-reading the bill, I have to correct myself on this point. Although the bill would prohibit the market-cornering maneuvers Butrflynet asks about, it doesn't give the FCC jurisdiction to police the providers' conduct. That's because it assumes the FCC already has jurisdiction, and jumps right ahead to the FCCs reporting requirements and so forth. But that's an easy amendment, not a deadly flaw in the bill.
0 Replies
 
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 01:41 pm
Here are responses from the FCC about the decision:

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-297363A1.pdf

Quote:
STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER MEREDITH A. BAKER ON D.C. CIRCUIT DECISION
VACATING THE COMMISSION’S ORDER ON COMCAST’S NETWORK MANAGEMENT
PRACTICES
I am pleased that the decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit emphasizes the limits of the Commission’s authority to regulate the Internet. The D.C. Circuit’s strong words today remind us that as an independent agency, we must always be constrained by the statute. We stray from it at our peril.

With regard to the substantive policy at issue in this case"net neutrality"I would oppose calls to use the court’s decision as a pretext to reclassify broadband Internet access services under monopolyera Title II regulation.


http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-297355A1.pdf

Quote:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: NEWS CONTACT:
April 6, 2010 Jen Howard, 202-418-0506
Email: [email protected]
FCC STATEMENT ON COMCAST V. FCC DECISION
Federal Communications Commission Spokesperson Jen Howard:
“The FCC is firmly committed to promoting an open Internet and to policies that will bring the enormous benefits of broadband to all Americans. It will rest these policies -- all of which will be designed to foster innovation and investment while protecting and empowering consumers -- on a solid legal foundation.

“Today’s court decision invalidated the prior Commission’s approach to preserving an open Internet. But the Court in no way disagreed with the importance of preserving a free and open Internet; nor did it close the door to other methods for achieving this important end.”
Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 01:52 pm
Some industry reactions:

http://www.pcworld.com/article/193574/court_rules_against_fccs_comcast_net_neutrality_decision.html

Excerpts:

Unless the FCC takes action to reclassify broadband service, the court's decision calls into question FCC authority in many areas, including protecting broadband consumer privacy and redirecting money from the Universal Service Fund (USF) into broadband deployment, said Gigi Sohn, president of Public Knowledge, a digital rights group that complained to the FCC about Comcast's traffic throttling.

"Today's appeals court decision means there are no protections in the law for consumers' broadband services," Sohn said in a statement. "Companies selling Internet access are free to play favorites with content on their networks, to throttle certain applications or simply to block others."

"As a result of this decision, the FCC has virtually no power to stop Comcast from blocking Web sites," added Derek Turner, research director for Free Press, a second digital rights group that complained about Comcast's traffic management. "The FCC has virtually no power to make policies to bring broadband to rural America, to promote competition, to protect consumer privacy or truth in billing. This cannot be an acceptable outcome for the American public and requires immediate FCC action to re-establish legal authority."

However, it's the wrong time to regulate broadband at the same time the FCC is trying to implement the national broadband plan, said Thomas Lenard, president of the Technology Policy Institute, a free-market think tank. Lenard praised the court's decision, saying net neutrality rules would ultimately hurt consumers.

The national broadband plan focuses on rolling out broadband to all corners of the U.S. and increasing broadband speeds.

"I am concerned ... that the Commission may now attempt to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, subjecting it to traditional public utility-type regulation," Lenard said in a statement. "In my opinion, this would be a grave mistake that would undermine the goals of the recently released national broadband plan.

Comcast, in a statement, said it was "gratified" by the court's decision. "Our primary goal was always to clear our name and reputation," the statement said. "We have always been focused on serving our customers and delivering the quality open-Internet experience consumers want. Comcast remains committed to the FCC's existing open Internet principles, and we will continue to work constructively with this FCC as it determines how best to increase broadband adoption and preserve an open and vibrant Internet."

Butrflynet
 
  1  
Reply Tue 6 Apr, 2010 01:54 pm
@Butrflynet,
Another FCC Commission response that also addresses one of my questions:

http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/DOC-297364A1.pdf

Quote:
STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER ROBERT M. McDOWELL
ON THE RECENT D.C. CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS DECISION
IN THE COMCAST/BITTORRENT CASE
The following statement should be attributed to FCC Commissioner Robert M. McDowell:
“I am pleased that today’s court order makes clear that Title I of the Communications Act provides the FCC with no authority to regulate the network management practices of an Internet
service provider. I hope this decision will provide certainty in the marketplace and will not lead to the unnecessary classification of broadband service as a monopoly phone service under Title II
of the Act.”
0 Replies
 
 

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