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OPLIN 4cast #540: About net neutrality

Posted in 4cast

So let’s talk about this net neutrality thing. What effects, if any, will new FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposed dismantling of former Chairman Tom Wheeler’s net neutrality rules have on libraries? In the past few years, communication between the Republican and the Democratic members of the Federal Communications Commission has broken down and acrimony has built to the point that almost every FCC decision has been taken along strict party lines, with the biggest being the Open Internet Order that was finally upheld by the courts last June. It’s no surprise, then, that Republican Pai is reversing Democrat Wheeler’s work. But again, what does that mean to us? As yet, there’s no clear answer.

  • FCC Chairman Ajit Pai on why he’s rejecting net neutrality rules (Reason | Nick Gillespie & Mark McDaniel)  “Long a critic of Title II regulations, which were invoked after the FCC lost two court battles to regulate the Internet, Pai describes them as ‘a panoply of heavy-handed economic regulations that were developed in the Great Depression to handle Ma Bell.’ Scrapping these rules, Pai told Reason’s Nick Gillespie, won’t harm consumers or the public interest because there was no reason for them in the first place. The rationales were mere ‘phantoms that were conjured up by people who wanted the FCC for political reasons to overregulate the internet,’ Pai told Gillespie.”
  • The ‘fix’ for net neutrality that consumers don’t need (The New York Times | Tim Wu)  “While killing net neutrality may be rolled out with specious promises of ‘free video,’ there is nothing here for ordinary people. Lowering prices is just not something that cable or phone companies will do except under pressure. Instead, the repeal of net neutrality will simply create ways for cable and phone companies to tax the web and increase your broadband bill.”
  • What killing net neutrality means for the internet (The Hill | Ali Breland)  “Data-free apps have been popular with consumers, but net neutrality supporters worry they allow broadband providers to give preference to content providers they have deals with. Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler also argued that free data arrangements make it harder for smaller content creators to get attention. If net neutrality goes, consumers could see more telecommunications companies offer such plans.”
  • Another debate about net neutrality in America (The Economist)  “Mr Pai does support general rules to protect net neutrality. Like other advocates of the principle, he credits these for the internet’s innovativeness. But he believes that light-touch regulation is enough. Once ISPs are no longer classed as telecommunications services he wants them to commit to net neutrality in their terms of service. This commitment would (in theory) be enforced by a different agency, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which has the authority to go after firms if they fail to live up to promises they make to customers.”

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