Information Superhighway Toll Booth

Rumblings from the bandwidth watchdogs – and are that the FCC will capitulate in the fight over whether or not companies like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon will be allowed to control and censor the content you receive over their high speed connections. In spite of the promises from Obama and his FCC commissioner Julius Genachowski, they are claiming that money, in the form of campaign contributions, talks and consumers are asleep and not interested. In an article from the Washington Post we learn,

"FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski is expected to respond soon to the court ruling. Three sources at the agency said Genachowski has not made a final decision but has indicated in recent discussions that he is leaning toward keeping in place the current regulatory framework for broadband services but making some changes that would still bolster the FCC’s chances of overseeing some broadband policies."

The current policy essentially following the ruling on Comcast’s throttling of P2P connections, and lack of a penalty, has no teeth and the talk from D.C. is preoccupied. No kidding, but this is huge and the Internet and the people of this country deserve, hell require, a competitive bandwidth plan. Hell, after moving our business a couple of months back and hearing the blatant lies from AT&T, I doubt the government has the people in place to sort this all out. The president’s people and Congress ignore the potential for competitive losses due to the fact that our schools and businesses are screwed when it comes to getting a real access plan.

Nothing, not since electricity, has changed the business landscape like the Internet and the U.S. is shooting itself in the foot settling for the lax attitude and lame acts by Washington and the states. From DSLreports we hear,

"According to the sources (which of course could be wrong, or intentionally giving the Post the runaround) — Genachowski apparently believes that reclassifying carriers would "deter investment." That’s something that carriers repeatedly claim about all regulation — regardless of what said regulation accomplishes — though consumer advocates have argued (pdf) that regulation plays only a small role in network investment. What plays a much larger role? Competition, something the FCC’s broadband plan doesn’t really address."

One of my favorite posts from the article is from Rogue Wolf:

"The best government (corporate) money can buy. The only things that change these days are the names on the campaign contribution checks.

So many of this nation’s broadband woes would be solved with greater competition, which- given the nature of terrestrial broadband- often requires government intervention. But competition would "deter investment" (i.e. possibly reduce the ridiculous profit margins, stock prices and dividends that being a monopoly or oligopoly brings), and so the biggest carriers make sure that their bought-and-paid-for legislators quash any government attempts to level the playing field… and then tell us with a straight face that it’s "good for the consumer".

The first step towards reclaiming the government from corporate pockets would be to pass laws barring direct"

From’s Silver, we liked this quote:

"However, if he chooses to do so, the FCC chairman can reverse the rejected policies of the previous administration and reclassify broadband as a "telecommunications service" under Title II of the Communications Act. Such a move would protect Internet users and place the agency back on sound legal footing.

Free Press Executive Director Josh Silver made the following statement:

"We simply cannot believe that Julius Genachowski would consider going down this path. Failing to reclassify broadband means the FCC is abandoning the signature communications and technology issues of the Obama administration. Such a decision would destroy Net Neutrality. It would deeply undermine the FCC’s ability to ensure universal Internet access for rural, low-income and disabled Americans. It will undermine the FCC’s ability to protect consumers from price-gouging and invasions of privacy."

No doubt the prez has his hands full and doesn’t grasp how the Internet, or how a real world approach to access to the Internet, will affect the U.S. and our competitive edge. It’s time business folks let him know we can’t compete if we continue to get lied to by the big guys, and if broadband providers are treated like privileged characters. The privilege needs to go to the consumers and business folks who are trying to create jobs and get us out of this funk.


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