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FCC Delays Net Neutrality Decision

FCC Delays Net Neutrality Decision

Despite months of prodding phone, cable and Internet companies to come to some kind of consensus over the issue of net neutrality, and in the face of a proposal volunteered by Google and Verizon that would have ended the Internet as we know it, the Federal Communications Commission delayed any decision on how to handle Internet regulation for now.  So in lieu of any action by the regulator, Chairman Julius Genachowski instead called for more public comments in hopes that public interests and the private sector can come together over to forge the rules together.

The move by Genachowski also avoids making any decisions before mid-term elections and thereby alienating parts of the democratic base or the influential telecommunications industry.  According to some reports, industry analysts believe it is unlikely that the FCC would adopt even draft proposals until after October as Genachowski treads lightly before the elections.

The FCC had originally proposed a set of open Internet rules last year but faced stiff opposition from the industry and Republicans.  And as come to represent the Democrats and the Obama administration in general, they appear afraid to stand up to the GOP’s message that advocating for a free and open Internet is akin to an attempt by the administration to “take over” the Internet.

But not all Democrats are cowering in fear of the GOP messaging machine.  Minnesota Senator Al Franken has shot back, calling net neutrality the First Amendment issue of our time.  Franken has come out in opposition to any efforts that would allow Internet providers to discriminate upload/download speeds based on content or to created tiered pricing systems similar to how cable is currently priced.

The Tea Party has also chimed in, this time coming down on the side of corporate power  over personal freedom. 

What’s unfolded is that net neutrality has come to symbolize the central argument facing this country today–that is, just what should the role of government and the private sector be?  Franken and proponents of net neutrality argue that government can be an agent of good, especially when it protects against corporate overreach and greed which always comes at the expense of consumers.  Net neutrality opponents, on the other hand, believe that corporations have constitutional rights as well and think any government action to regulate the private sector is a bad thing.

Genachowski’s actions certainly doesn’t resolve the debate, and it may by the Chairman and the administration a bit of time to deal with the November elections.  But ultimately this is a fight that needs to be fought.  Since net neutrality proponents have been granted a bit of time in this decision, let’s make sure our voices are heard.  Contact the administration and your representatives and let them know that you support a free and open internet and expect them to do so as well.

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photo courtesy of Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via Flickr

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52 comments

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5:47PM PDT on Sep 13, 2010

go to wbztv.com to the 'declare your curiosity' blog and comment on their google posting!

11:13AM PDT on Sep 10, 2010

Minnesota Senator Al Franken good on ya!

Net neutrality is very important. Many seniors, disabled and other persons with limited, fixed or low incomes rely on social networking and communication. Isolation is a terrible thing.

Increasing costs to any individuals and the discrimination of a tiered system is unthinkable! Of course except those who will profit by regulation, Republicans and other assorted scum bags.

9:13PM PDT on Sep 8, 2010

This is just like the notion that bribery is "free speech." They're both about corporate suits controlling what we know and what we say.

8:54PM PDT on Sep 8, 2010

If it weren't for capitalism, the internet wouldn't be publicly & widely accessible today. If it were left to private parties to create a system for the delivery of information & data---it wouldn't have happened. It takes 1) Money 2) Manpower w/o either-there is no 1) Cable 2) Internet. It's the drive to succeed & achieve the "American Dream" that motivates us to create products & services which become widely beneficial to the public. It takes one person-to motivate many people to follow their visions & dreams & it takes funding. When we regulate business (outside of regulations of public safety ex), you effectively cripple those that seek the & pursue the dream & paralyze our society. There's nothing wrong with Capitalism. Money is how we determine & establish value. If for example, you've found smoke signals & shadow puppets cheaper, more effective & less corrupt than big business-like Comcast, Verizon, "Bell Communications", MGM, etc. & so on- then, I would suggest you sell that as your business model, then market, advertise it & get people on board w/your vision & not expect to be paid for it- so as not to become a greedy capitalist. Intellectual property has value-whatever it's form: infrastructure, design, visionary thoughts & concepts it deserves to be rewarded in exchange of something w/value. I want to add-that more can be done by all business to provide service to elderly, handicapped, etc. Cable & in

1:06PM PDT on Sep 8, 2010

As usual, corps come before the people.

8:45AM PDT on Sep 8, 2010

Claiming "citizen's" rights for a corporation is bizarre - only a citizen has constitutional rights. Are we so far gone in this country that we would even CONSIDER this eventuality? Only people are citizens! What's going on here, people???

7:21AM PDT on Sep 8, 2010

I contacted my represenatives and got canned answers. Republican state. that buisnesses spend millions of dollars on the infrastructure and they should have the right to use it as they see fit. but isnt the money they spend actually ours? noney we spend having them as providers? It will come down to talking with our cash if this comes to pass and finding providers that do stay nutral and letting the others know thay are not providing what we want.

1:07AM PDT on Sep 8, 2010

When I hear cynics say all politicians are scumbags I point to folks like Franken. Yes, there are scumbags, they are the ones to get rid of, but there are good folks too fighting the Repubs and Corporate Dems. The majority of the Dem's voted for real progressive change - it was a minority of CorpDems and all the Repubs that held things back. Don't lump them all into the same category. It is destructive and plays right into the anti-gov TP hands.

8:26PM PDT on Sep 7, 2010

Thank you, Senator Franken, for working to keep the net free.

7:41PM PDT on Sep 7, 2010

THESE COMPANIES VERIZON/GOOGLE WILL ROB US OF FREEDOM TO USE THE NET. BY TAPERING FOR CORPORATE PROFIT THEY WILL STEAL YOUR RIGHT TO USE THE INTERNET. WE ALL MUST STOP THEIR PLAN PERMENANTLY. SIGN THE PETITION!

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Julie M. Rodriguez Julie M. Rodriguez is an arts, green living, and political writer based in San Mateo, CA. Her work... more
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