FCC Lightfoot Two Steps To Public Pressure On Transparency Failure

Obama’s lip service on transparency apparently was just that, and it was also meant to exclude how his light-footed FCC champ Julius Genachowski danced a two step around Net Neutrality.  The current news is that Julius, "called off its closed-door meetings with big Internet companies aimed at reaching agreement on protecting consumer access to the Web, after drawing criticism for attempting to broker a deal with limited public input."


"The breakdown of the talks followed news of a separate agreement between Verizon and Google that would let Verizon give priority to certain Web content on its fixed-line networks. The deal between the two companies — which are partners in the Android wireless phone platform — does not apply to Verizon’s mobile networks."

I’m not sure the purpose of the meetings, and why they were organized behind closed doors, but according to, CNN, Wednesday of a separate peace accord between leading combatants Google and Verizon Communications the  the Federal Communications Commission "suddenly announced on Thursday that it was concluding meetings aimed at resolving the regulatory logjam it had been holding since June with major stakeholders."

Is this, as Josh Silver has called it, president of media reform group Free Press, "Google-Verizon deal: The end of the Internet as we know it."  Silver lamented what many of us have been waiting to hear, " For years, Internet advocates have warned of the doomsday scenario that will play out on Monday."  Referring to the now "over"  Google and Verizon deal.  The New York Times reports "could allow Verizon to speed some online content to Internet users more quickly if the content’s creators are willing to pay for the privilege."

Silver nails the state of this, "How did this happen? We have a Federal Communications Commission that has been denied authority by the courts to police the activities of Internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast. All because of a bad decision by the Bush-era FCC. We have a pro-industry FCC Chairman who is terrified of making a decision, conducting back room deal making, and willing to sit on his hands rather than reassert his agency’s authority. We have a president who promised to "take a back seat to no one on Net Neutrality" yet remains silent. We have a congress that is nearly completely captured by industry. Yes, more than half of the US congress will do pretty much whatever the phone and cable companies ask them to. Add the clout of Google, and you have near-complete control of Capitol Hill."

It has been labeled the "The Deal of the Titans" and "The FCC’s Dangerous Deal."  This is a deal killer issue for many of us.  Many of us believe if we turn this over to the Fox’s and old economy networks, the only thing you’ll get on the Internet at high speed will be reruns of the reruns they sell the public now on TV.  Our international competitors are laughing at us as we have sunk from the #4 fastest global bandwidth nation, below #40.  Other countries, especially Asian countries, are giving their entire citizenry all the hi-speed computer technology they want.

Others concerned about the cloak and dagger treatment Obama’s feature-of-the-month has given the consumer have added their two cents: Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn issued a statement on Wednesday, saying, "The deal between Verizon and Google about how to manage Internet traffic is deeply regrettable and should be considered meaningless."

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The most important piece here is that the public and business outrage over the secrecy guarantees any sort of deal will not work and may backfire.  What is Washington thinking and to whom is President Obama listening on this strategy?  Favoring the telcos and cable giants may bring in beaucoup de contributions for electing more ill-thought-of politicians, but it’s killing business, and jobs, and putting the wrong message out for the real entrepreneurs fighting to get funded.  We need more companies competing to make the markets work, not fewer companies.  And to give the telcos more leverage is blasphemous.  Those who are hoping for the success of the Internet and its business, ought to pay attention to where the power is shifting.  We are going to lose this if we don’t educate this Congress and every administration about how the future will work.  They haven’t a clue.


2 Responses to FCC Lightfoot Two Steps To Public Pressure On Transparency Failure

  1. Royal Scots Highlander
    Royal Scots Highlander August 9, 2010 at 9:23 am #

    Question: When has anyone —lately— expected anything of Constitutional substance to emanate from the United States government?
    You know the drill by now: Money talks, BS walks.
    Here, just to sharpen your perceptions just a bit:
    “Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people.

    “To destroy this invisible government, to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.”

    — Theodore Roosevelt, April 19, 1906
    Too bad he couldn’t follow his own advice …

  2. Tek-Tips August 9, 2010 at 9:31 am #

    Honestly, I can’t recall the last time I expected it. Well maybe, just prior to the decision to let Trickie Dick go, and let his henchmen off. For me, that was the last time I recall anyone expecting anyone to do the right thing far as our Constitution goes. Now, having said that, are there places where the rule of law is actually in play?

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