Senator John Thune and Representative Fred Upton are spearheading a new attempt to pass weak net neutrality rules before the FCC can vote to craft tougher, Title II based rules on February 26. The press is being incredibly polite about this effort, often painting it as an honest, bipartisan solution to net neutrality from two gentlemen that have changed their tune. It's simply not.
Terms like "reasonable network management" are left too vague, it actually reduces the FCC's ability and flexibility to protect consumers, and it's mired with language that leaves the door open to a litany of ongoing abuses. In short, the proposal sets the neutrality discussion back years, and it's an effort to effectively codify into law a total lack of net neutrality.
Still, ISPs, Thune, Upton, and the broadband industry's army of hired flacks are trying to put on a show to convince the press, public, and regulators this is an honest effort. As part of that effort Thune and Upton (a top Comcast donor recipient) held a series of hearings this week, where folks like former FCC boss Michael Powell (now the cable industry's top lobbyist) gushed about how rules his industry helped write will really help consumers:
quote:It's important to remember that AT&T and Comcast really
"I firmly believe that the proposed legislation under review today achieves the aims of every stakeholder in the Internet ecosystem. First, the proposal clearly identifies the foundational principles of the open Internet: no blocking, no throttling, no paid prioritization, and transparency. The cable industry has always supported these basic principles – from the Four Freedoms first annunciated in 2005 to the Open Internet Order that was approved in 2010. Cable companies did not appeal the 2010 order and still voluntarily abide by the rules it imposed.
liked the set of neutrality rules passed back in 2010 because they intentionally helped write them to make sure they did nothing. They were actually annoyed with Verizon for suing to overturn them, in the process opening the door to even tougher rules.
Of course broadband providers like rules they help write.
Powell and the cable industry's support was mirrored at the hearing this week by the wireless industry and most of the largest carriers' assortment of hired policy wonks. That paid support is only going to heat up in the coming weeks as the broadband industry fires up its think tanks, lawyers, lobbyists, PR friends, co-opted groups, fauxcademics and various media mouthpieces to take to editorial sections nationwide in the hopes of convincing the public up is down, and cold is hot.
ISPs and neutrality opponents clearly hope that if they introduce an awful neutrality bill, then make a few minor concessions to neutrality supporters here and there, they can essentially end up with rules just as flimsy as the original ones under the pretense of a "bipartisan solution."
One, as we've long argued, it's silly to believe net neutrality and the health of the Internet is a purely partisan issue as it benefits everyone, Democrats and Republicans alike. Two, a bill written by the broadband industry and rife with loopholes is indisputably
not in the public interest. Pretending that it is, then pretending the public is too stupid to notice, certainly doesn't help achieve the goal of consumer protections everyone can live with.
Source : http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Dont-Drink-the-Thune-Upton-Net-Neutrality-Kool-Aid-132370