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While our local municipal boradband was sold off under questionable circumstances with hardly a whimper, the decision was made in part because of the weak hand local governments hold in bringing efficient, low cost services to residents. It was a decision we will come to regret.
by Jay Walljasper
“(W)ithout power and independence, a town may contain good subjects, but it can have no active citizens.” That was the conclusion of Alexis de Tocqueville after touring a youthful American Republic in the early 1830s, as recorded in his classic Democracy in America. Today we are engaged in a renewed debate about the authority of governments closest to the people.
On July 16, by a vote of 223-200 the House of Representatives voted to strip the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the authority to allow communities the right to determine their broadband futures. Republicans voted 221-4 in favor.
by April Glaser and Corynne McSherry
This weekend at the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting in Dallas, some mayors will take a strong stand in support of net neutrality. According to an op-ed by Mayors Ed Lee of San Francisco and Ed Murray of Seattle, the city leaders are unveiling a resolution calling on the FCC to preserve an open Internet.
by April Glaser
Last month the FCC released its proposal for America’s new network neutrality rules. Unfortunately, the agency’s proposal included rules that would permit Internet providers to prioritize certain websites, e.g., make deals with some services for a faster and better path to subscribers. While the FCC claims it is not endorsing such deals, the proposed rules will inevitably be read as exactly that.
by Peter Dreier and Dick Flacks
In the most recent Coen brothers film, Inside Llewyn Davis, the protagonist -- a struggling Greenwich Village folksinger in 1961 -- is based, very loosely, on Dave Van Ronk, a little-known (outside folk music circles) but influential folk-singer who helped define the folk music revival of the late fifties, and mentored the young Bob Dylan and others during the early 1960s when what Van Ronk called the "great folk scare" took off. To understand the atmosphere of that music scene, the Coens relied on Van Ronk's memoir (coauthored with Elijah Wald), The Mayor of McDougall Street. Van Ronk recounts his serious involvement with various left-wing factions of the period.
Despite national outcry and protests both outside and inside a packed hearing room in Washington, DC, the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted in favor of advancing a set of rules that threaten the heart of the "open internet" by allowing the creation of "paid priority fast lanes," supplanting the principle known as 'net neutrality' which says all online content must receive equal treatment by the nation's broadband networks.
Federal Communications Commission chair Tom Wheeler is backpedaling on his proposed rules that would threaten the democracy of the Internet, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday evening.
by Craig Aaron
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler wants you to calm down.
A firestorm of public outrage flared up after his latest plans to permit a pay-to-play Internet leaked. The Federal Communications Commission lit up with angry phone calls, irate emails, and a lot (I mean a lot) of bad press.
In a speech on Wednesday at the big "Cable Show" in Los Angeles, Wheeler had this to say to his former industry colleagues: "Reports that we are gutting the open Internet rules are incorrect. I am here to say wait a minute. Put away the party hats."
And in a blog post on the FCC website, Wheeler claimed that the many critics of his plan are "misinformed."
by David Morris
With the announcement by the FCC that cable and telephone companies will be allowed to prioritize access to their customers only one option remains that can guarantee an open internet: owning the means of distribution.
Thankfully an agency exists for this. Local government. Owning the means of distribution is a traditional function of local government. We call our roads and bridges and water and sewer pipe networks public infrastructure for a reason.
by Timothy Karr
When President Barack Obama pledged to appoint a Federal Communications Commission chair who was dedicated to protecting Net Neutrality, we had no reason to doubt he'd find the right person for the job.
by Michael Winship
The US Senate on Wednesday held its first hearing on the proposed Comcast-Time Warner deal — a $45 billion transaction that will affect millions of consumers and further pad some already well-lined pockets — so now seems a good time to look at how our elected officials have benefitted from the largesse of the two companies with an urge to merge.
Although the ultimate decision will be made by the Federal Communications Commission and the Justice Department, according to the Sunlight Foundation, a reliable, nonpartisan watchdog, “The number one and number two cable providers in the country are also big-time on the influence circuit, giving upwards of a combined $42.4 million to various politicians and groups since 1989.
The Sunlight Foundation’s Influence Explorer tool also shows that the two companies have spent a combined $143.5 million lobbying Congress since 1989 on issues including telecommunications, technology, taxes and copyright.