Letter questions FCC independence from Obama administration
The Republican-run US House Judiciary Committee has sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission head Tom Wheeler, claiming that the new net neutrality ruling is the "most oppressive and backward regulatory option possible," despite a failure to cite any specific evidence of harm. The committee is claiming it will instigate a Congressional Review Act to refute the net neutrality regulations as voted on by the FCC, and also to strip the FCC of its ability to impose Title II regulation on US Internet Service Providers.
The MacNN Podcast for March 2, 2015
The MacNN Podcast hits its fourth airing and touches on the hot button issues in the tech world! Join this week's hosts, MacNN Editor Charles Martin, alongside staff writer Michelle Elbert, and Managing Editor Mike Wuerthele as they discuss the events that got our attention, needed further discussion, or just plain tickled our fancy.
Jasper joins most small ISPs in welcoming rule enforcement
[Updated with comments from Republican ex-FCC head Michael Powell] While the debate about this week's Federal Communications Commission Title II regulation and net neutrality vote rages on publicly and privately. Sonic.net CEO Dane Jasper welcomes Title II, and has said so publicly, joining a chorus of ISPs that welcome the enforcement. Additionally, the FCC has clarified in no uncertain terms what it will do if claims that fees to use existing telephone poles will rise turn out to be true. A former FCC chair, however, remains opposed to the measure.
Comments come in as expected, with threats of lawsuit and more work needed
As expected, the Federal Communication Commission's votes today have not gone unnoticed by the telecommunications and Internet industry. There are no surprises in the commentary generated by the vote, with posturing and veiled threats being delivered by those impacted negatively by the vote.
Fight likely to continue in House, Senate over depth of FCC power
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has approved the net neutrality rules, including Title II regulation of Internet Service Providers as proposed by FCC Chair Tom Wheeler, with minor modifications. The vote wasn't unanimous, nor was it expected to be, and predictably split across party lines. The two Democratic members and the Chair voted to approve the contentious policy, and the two Republican members voted against it.
Revisions come at Google, advocacy group request for language clarification
On the eve of the net neutrality vote at the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), chairman Tom Wheeler has reportedly made some changes to the proposal. Reportedly extracted by request of Google and some other public interest groups is a clause that could allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to charge websites for delivered content.
New proposals may weaken 'paid prioritization' ban, throttling restrictions
One of the three Federal Communications Commission board members previously expected to vote in favor of Chair Tom Wheeler's Title II net neutrality proposal has thrown a spanner in the works by suggesting some changes that could possibly dilute the effectiveness of the proposal. Commissioner Mignon Clyburn has asked Wheeler for some changes that wouldn't challenge the overall concept of the proposal, but could weaken FCC enforcement of some key aspects.
Republican commissioners ask for special treatment, delay on historic vote
Following the lead of Republicans in Congress, the two GOP commissioners of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are doing their bit to try to stop or at least slow down a planned vote this week on FCC Chair Tom Wheeler's net neutrality proposal, which fixes the current hodge-podge of neutrality exceptions and violations by removing the power to "gatekeep" the Internet from big Internet Service Providers (ISPs) through Title II "public utility" regulation.
Press conference by Pai met with angry protestors seeking Title II
Current US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) member Ajit Pai (R) and ex-FCC chairman Michael Powell (R) have come out in opposition to current chairman Tom Wheeler's net neutrality and Title II regulation plan for broadband and cellular data carriers. Both men, aligned with the Republican party and seemingly operating in parallel with efforts in the House and Senate to stop the measure, are calling the chairman's proposal unnecessary given the current climate, and injurious to investment in US broadband.
Senate DHS chief's committee calling for FCC reasoning, communications
Following a similar move by the House, the Senate has launched its own investigation on the US Federal Communications Commission's upcoming call for Title II legislation of ISPs. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) is giving the FCC two weeks to provide documents related to, and reasoning for, the call for "what new factors" after President Obama's remarks induced the FCC to apply Title II reclassification.
The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform sees red, charges
The House Committee on Oversight and Government reform has written to US Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler, and has demanded that the regulatory agency produce any and all communiation between the FCC and the White House. The Republicans on the committee claim to see "an improper influence" from President Obama at the core of the FCC commissioner's recent mandate of Title II regulation of ISPs, and are demanding the documentation to back up their claims, and potentially torpedo the effort.
Proposal to be submitted for FCC discussion before end of the week
Officially launching what will become a highly-contentious fight in Washington DC, US Federal Communications Commission commissioner Tom Wheeler has officially stated that he is submitting "the strongest open Internet protections ever proposed by the FCC," which calls for the banning of paid prioritization, and the blocking and throttling of lawful content and services. The move by the chairman was expected, with AT&T and Verizon both threatening lawsuits to block the regulation.
Argues that prioritization, throttling are 'information services'
Carrier AT&T has filed two notices with the Federal Communications Commission that argue against the planned introduction of a proposal by FCC Chair Tom Wheeler to reclassify broadband and mobile data providers as "common carriers" under Title II. The proposal, yet to be formally introduced, would get rid of paid-prioritization deals, ensure net neutrality, cease blocking and throttling users without cause, and require more transparency in dealings by ISPs.
Chen sees threat to net neutrality from app developers more than carriers
Blackberry CEO John Chen appears to be turning to the US government for help in broadening the app ecosystem for the struggling Canadian handset, as well as railing against a US-centric view of net neutrality and possible Title II regulation at the same time. In a blog post taken in part from a letter the CEO wrote to members of Congress, Chen defines not only what he sees as an ideal path for net neutrality, but also complaining about a "two-tiered wireless broadband ecosystem" where content providers like Apple and Netflix are free to not develop for all wireless platforms.
Republicans deny Internet providers have monopoly; Democrats reluctant to strip FCC of power
As reported last week, the US House of Representatives' Energy & Commerce Committee held a hearing titled "Protecting the Internet and Consumers through Congressional Action." The hearing was to discuss the unnamed draft bill introduced by Representative Fred Upton (R-Michigan), head of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota), head of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in the Senate, which purports to "draft a new law for this century" and ensure net neutrality, but strips the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of almost all enforcement authority.
Unnamed measure prohibits paid prioritization but also strips FCC of 706 authority
A draft bill intended to resolve the current threats to net neutrality was announced today in the US Congress, with plans to begin hearings on it as early as next Wednesday by the US Energy & Commerce Committees. The bill purports to ensure net neutrality by prohibiting blocking, throttling, paid prioritization, and a number of other desirable perks, but also specifically strips the FCC of its existing authority to protect consumers and encourage competition.
Increasing focus on FCC in ongoing struggle to codify access to broadband
February might not shape up to be such a great month if you're a large national Internet provider in the US. Not only will the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) be voting on the adoption of net neutrality rules FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, all but confirmed would be Title II-based in an interview at CES last week, but it's also possible the commission will be voting on petitions supported by President Obama to overturn laws in several states that are purported to block the build-out of broadband Internet access on the municipal level.
Group representing $30.6 billion in holdings want unequivocal statement
Telecommuncations carrier Verizon has often said that it supports the concept of net neutrality, but its actions undermining the concept have annoyed investors, who are now putting pressure on the firm to embrace the concpt. A group of shareholders represented by the Nathan Cummings Foundation and Trillium Asset Management, has re-submitted a proposal expressing support of net neutrality, lack of support for "paid prioritization," and calling for Verizon management to comply.
Carriers scared by thought of oversight, make dubious claims
Yesterday at CES FCC Chairman, Tom Wheeler, sat down for an interview with CEA Presedent Gary Shapiro in which he all but confirmed that the proposal to be submitted to the Commission on February 5 and voted on February 25 will adopt Title II of the Communications Act as a basis for securing net neutrality. Today, a number of the big carriers have released statements expressing displeasure.
Confirms new proposed rules will be distributed on February 5, with vote to be taken 20 days later
Today at CES in Las Vegas, Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President Gary Shapiro sat down for a "Super Session" with FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, and asked what had changed in his world since they spoke at the conference in 2013. "Oh, nothing," deadpanned Wheeler, prompting laughter from the audience, "it's all exactly the same." As the discussion went on, Wheeler's responses to questions seem to be confirming earlier reports that the Commission is strongly leaning towards adopting some level of Communications Act Title II as a base for ensuring Net Neutrality, as urged by President Obama -- similar to how it was imposed on the wireless industry.
New rules are said to contain Title II regulation plans
US Federal Communications Chairman commissioner Tom Wheeler is reportedly planning on unveiling a new set of net neutrality rules in the beginning of February. The new rules, which are said to be more aggressive than originally proposed, which should incorporate feedback from the public comment process, should come to a vote at the February 26 meeting - and may finally include Title II regulation of broadband, which would apply oversight to ISPs similar to that of utilities, such as water and power.
Double-talk from industry supports notion that some regulation would benefit consumers
Since President Barack Obama voiced his support for reclassification of ISPs as utilities, there has been much debate back and forth, and back again on the topic of "Title II" regulation of carriers. Would it be the dystopian nightmare anti-government zealots and the carriers proclaim, or would it provide a golden utopia of progress for consumers and American businesses alike?
Letter From National Association of Manufacturers claims net neutrality 'slowing business'
The U.S. National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) has sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and leaders in Congress to oppose the possible, and much more strict, proposals for Internet regulation as put forth by the FCC. The letter, which claims that the current standard of net neutrality "severely threaten continuing growth," functions as a rebuttal to a similar letter from the opposite point of view sent last May by over 100 tech companies, who argued that net neutrality was the only option that would protect Internet growth and well-being.
Believes Internet should be split into two channels to secure quality for special services
While members of the European Union and the US fight net neutrality and Internet traffic equality battles, German Chancellor Angela Merkel waded in during a conference in Berlin to explain her outlook for the Internet. Instead of looking towards maintaining a neutral playing field for all, Merkel says that the Internet should be split into two tiers to accommodate special services.
Pai questions development of Open Connect, believes cache devices could lock others out
A commissioner from the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) is asking Netflix to answer allegations that it is touting net neutrality in one hand, while constructing Internet "fast lanes" with another, by December 16. Commissioner Ajit Pai issued a letter to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, asking that the company reply to allegations that its development of Open Connect and decision to forego membership in the Streaming Video Alliance is actually helping tip the scales in its favor.
Hearing to question FCC commissioners over proposed rules pushed back to 2015
The US House of Representative Communications and Technology subcommittee announced it is pushing back its hearing over the Federal Communications Commission's (FCC) proposed net neutrality rules. Initially, the hearing was set to take place on December 10, but the delay pushes the review into an undisclosed time in 2015.
AT&T claims it will adhere to fiber build, but freezing any new expansion plans
Following the US Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) demand for more information about a "frozen" fiber buildout, AT&T has responded to the call late yesterday. The company claims that the announced expansion of the gigabit network is not actually frozen -- only new, unannounced expansions have been halted in the wake of the FCC's net neutrality and Title II regulation discussion, though the announcement was seen a thinly-veiled threat against the FCC.
Wheeler believes lawsuits inevitable, regardless of result of discussion
US Federal Communications Commission head Tom Wheeler said that there is a specific reason why the regulatory group is taking its time with the net neutrality discussion. Speaking at a meeting on Friday, the chairman said that caution was prudent, and that the agency needs to "make sure that we understand what is going on here." Referring to Verizon, AT&T, and the other major Internet providers, he added that "the big dogs are going to sue regardless of what comes out."
Cruz doesn't think government should pick 'winners and losers' from the 'big boys'
After President Barack Obama urged the Federal Communications Committee (FCC) to consider Title II regulation of Internet service providers in order to treat them like a utility, numerous individuals and companies spoke in opposition. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) was one such politician, equating net neutrality to "Obamacare" for the Internet. Though Cruz explained his reasoning during a talk in Austin, Texas late last week, his "don't mess with the Internet" sound bite seems confused. Does his stance on the way the Internet should be treated add up?
Roberts believes merger on track for completion in March, working on net neutrality
The merger between Comcast and Time Warner Cable is moving along, according to recent statements from Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. Roberts said that his company is moving "full steam ahead" with the $45 billion deal to acquire Time Warner Cable, an acquisition that would bring an additional 11 million customers to Comcast's Internet and television services.
CEO Stephenson says provider might hold investment on fiber builds in 100 areas
During an analyst conference on Wednesday, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said that the company is considering putting a hold on its build-out of gigabit fiber networks for select cities in the US until a decision is made on net neutrality rules. The company announced in April that it would be bringing high-speed fiber to 100 cities and municipalities.
Wheeler reminds critics that FCC is independent, not bound by White House
Speaking before a series of Silicon Valley company representatives, US Federal Communications Chairman Tom Wheeler has refuted President Obama's call for Title II regulation of cable companies and strict net neutrality. The chairman, when asked about the President's declaration, reminded attendees that the FCC doesn't answer to the President, with the statement that "I am an independent agency."
FCC should create net neutrality-protecting rules, insists Obama
President Barack Obama has voiced his support for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reclassify Internet services under Title II of the Telecommunications act. Wading into the net neutrality debate again, Obama has issued a statement asking for the FCC to "answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality."
Verizon general counsel wants 18-year-old pro-ISP law to dictate policy
The ISP that started the entire net neutrality debate with a court win, Verizon, is threatening legal action should the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) implement Title II oversight of the telecommunications industry. Following claims that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is considering a hybrid approach to net neutrality and ISP regulation, Verizon is threatening counter-suits, claiming that doing so "fairly guarantees litigation" by multiple ISPs.
Deal would apply Title II to content providers, less regulation to consumers
Reports are circulating that US Federal Communications Commission chief Tom Wheeler is evaluating a hybrid approach to Internet regulation and net neutrality proposals. One of the four proposals would apply Title II regulation to Internet Service Providers (ISPs), but would also allow them to sell "fast lane" access, breaking up applicable fees and regulations into wholesale and retail transactions.
Administration has made it clear to FCC that rules don't create tiered Internet
During a question-and-answer session at Cross Campus in Santa Monica last week, US President Barack Obama reaffirmed his stance on net neutrality, which he has held since first running for office. Holding that the concept of an open Internet is important to innovation, the President said that he expects that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will not end up creating a tiered Internet.
Suggested plan classifies broadband as Title II, Section 706 authority expanded
Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) has offered a new take on how to handle net neutrality, based on a 15-page letter he sent to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler. Where Wheeler's plan focuses on regulation through Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, and other voices want broadband reclassified as a utility under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, Waxman suggests the two be bridged for the best approach.
Dueling regulatory boards fight over future of ISP regulation
Allegedly concerned about protecting the American consumer, US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) head Maureen Ohlhausen has come out as strongly against Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler's net neutrality provision -- specifically, the possibility of Title II regulation of ISPs. The comment against the possibility of regulating Internet providers as a utility is the FTC's second in September.
Exec proposes bonuses for users, websites assisting with 'congestion'
BitTorrent's Chief Executive Officer Eric Klinker has made his response to the US Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality proposal, using the "fast lane" provisions, known. Klinker believes that a model similar to that of the electric distribution in the US can be used, where users and websites get lower rates for use in times of lower demand rather than the potential conflict of interest, and double-payment, that ISPs would get for having sponsored faster access under FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal.
Senator pushes for more citizen input days after FCC commenting period closes
There is still some fighting left to do for the United States Senate when it comes to net neutrality, as Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced that there would be hearing in the near future. The senator, who is also the chairman for the Senate Judiciary Committee, is calling the hearing for September 17 in order to take testimony on the importance of keeping the Internet free and open.
Staff deluged by comments for and against the controversial plan
Under an onslaught of remarks, both slamming and supporting Federal Communication Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler's Net Neutrality proposal, the agency has extended the second public comment phase five days, now ending September 15. The alteration was made "to ensure that members of the public have as much time as was initially anticipated to reply to initial comments in these proceedings," according to the agency.
No comment given regarding possible Title II regulation of ISPs
President Obama, fielding a question at a press event, has decried part of US Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler's "net neutrality" proposal. Speaking before the US Africa Leaders Summit, the president claims that "you don't want to start getting a differentiation in how accessible the Internet is to different users" and that the proposal needs to "leave it open so the next Google and the next Facebook can succeed."
Groups unified, refute Verizon's net neutrality stance allegedly helping them
Verizon's claims that the US Federal Communications Commission's new net neutrality rules would hurt the disabled and blind have come under fire by those Verizon claims to be looking out for. In a filing with the FCC, several disability advocacy organizations clearly disagree that Verizon is looking out for the best interests of the disabled, and request that "in no case should accessibility considerations form a basis for permitting paid prioritization more broadly, and the Commission should reject any overture to the contrary."
Verizon congestion fix claimed to be cheap, simple, completed in five minutes
The ongoing feud between Netflix and Verizon has stepped up, with a transit provider weighing in over Verizon's connection congestion claims. Level 3 claims the high utilization of the connection between Verizon and itself is Verizon's fault, as the Internet service provider is actively refusing to upgrade its connections at the point of the apparent congestion.
New deadline gives public 72 more hours to comment on proposed changes
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has extended the first deadline for public comment on the controversial "fast lane" net neutrality proposal. The extension, following a major crash of the nearly two-decade old comment system, extends through midnight on June 18. A second "reply comment" period will start after this period ends, however.
Chairman takes to Twitter to 'keep your input coming, 'announce comment figures
Those looking to speak up about the potential changes to net neutrality still have some time to speak up before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) closes the commenting period on July 15. Those adding their voices on the direction of the Internet won't be alone, as FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler recently said on Twitter that 647,000 comments were received so far.
One group hired known false grassroots campaign generator to sink measure
Two groups have written letters to the US Federal Communications Commission, opposing the FCC's new net neutrality proposal -- the American Consumer Institute (ACI), and Broadband for America. Both groups claim to be pro-consumer, and purportedly advocate for more choice and lower costs for subscribers. However, both groups are in fact heavily funded by the telecom industry, and are likely "astroturfing" for the cable industries in their fight against FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's threat of Title II regulation by the FCC, embedded in the net neutrality discussion.
Warning message blaming Verizon for slow connection being tested by Netflix
Netflix is testing out messages warning users of Internet service providers with poor network connectivity, with the first target being Verizon. The video service has started to offer up an error page advising Verizon subscribers of high levels of congestion on the network, in what appears to be the latest in the net neturality-related spat between Internet services and telecommunications providers.
John Oliver rallies fans against Internet rules, FCC commenting undergoes load issues
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) experienced a heavy server load on Monday, possibly related to comments made by John Oliver during Sunday's episode of the HBO comedy Last Week Tonight. The comedian gave a report on net neutrality which called for commenters and Internet users to comment at the FCC's website. Oliver used what he considered to be less "boring" language to inspire people to speak up to the FCC about the open Internet.
Wheeler says commission will examine peering deals, believes in open Internet
During a House of Representatives hearing on Tuesday, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler said that the commission would be looking into peering deals between content providers and ISPs that have recently been made. The arrangements, such as some high-profile ones between Netflix and providers such as Comcast and Verizon, have been a part of the net neutrality debate since Wheeler's proposal was first speculated on, and are seen by some as legal blackmail even as proponents argue that players such as Netflix abuse existing infrastructure.