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Network Neutrality Is Dead
AT&T wins. Again.
by Karl Bode 11:42AM Thursday Sep 23 2010
You can almost smell the last hope of any tough network neutrality protections dying on the wind, as carrier lobbyists work tirelessly to derail such efforts, the principles of companies like Google begin to buckle under the promise of billions in wireless ad revenue, and the FCC and Congress get further mired in inaction and partisan bickering.

While having to remain valiantly optimistic by nature of their profession, you can tell consumer advocates can certainly feel this sea change, groups like Free Press this week accusing FCC boss Julius Genachowski of "dragging his feet," and waffling on bold promises he made in a speech just one year ago. Public Knowledge's Art Brodsky explains why in a nutshell:

The problem goes back to a month after that triumphant Brookings speech, when AT&T launched an all-out "shock and awe" campaign against Genachowski. Using its formidable grass roots organization and its more formidable financial stranglehold over members of Congress, AT&T convinced Genachowski and his team, most of whom had not been in Washington for long, that they would be crushed if they attempted Net Neutrality rules. The FCC has been nearly paralyzed ever since.
For his part, Genachowski tells the BBC at least the companies involved know he's dedicated to network neutrality:
"There is no question in the minds of the companies in this space that we are committed to preserving a free and open internet. . . "The internet is open now. The companies that are providing internet services understand that the internet is open, should be open and that there will be repercussions if they take steps to close the internet.
Except if the companies involved in neutrality violations are busy lobbying to craft the rules, there won't be repercussions -- because the rules either won't get passed, or they'll be chock full of the kind of giant loopholes we've already seen in the Verizon and Google proposal. Of course the sector wouldn't need network neutrality rules if there was adequate competition, but that's something the Genachowski-led FCC made the decision not to pursue in any substantive fashion -- again in part for fear of upsetting AT&T and other incumbent carriers.

Forgetting Comcast and Verizon for a moment, AT&T alone has one of the most powerful lobbying operations in any industry, in any country, and an ocean of fauxcademics, astroturfers, think tankers, and hired PR agents all waging war constantly against consumer protections of any kind. This is a company that was able to have the laws changed and gain immunity for their actions when it was found they were illegally wiretapping American citizens. That they were able to bully the FCC and derail neutrality protections should surprise no-one.

There is no question in the minds of the companies in this space that we are committed to preserving a free and open internet.
-FCC Boss Julius Genachowski
To be clear: we probably will still see some kind of neutrality rules passed, but with companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast dictating what's in them, companies like Google and Skype waffling on their principles to make a buck, and a timid regulatory authority -- the restrictions are going to be weak and meaningless with a cheap facade of consumer protection.

Genachowski obviously doesn't deserve all the blame; his inaction is only a symptom of a systemic disease that goes right to the bone of U.S. politics and telecom policy. As I've argued for years, we simply will not be able to fix the broadband sector (or any sector for that matter) until we collectively force government to address undue corporate influence on the political process - however chicken-and-egg such a scenario may be.

AT&T began the network neutrality debate in 2005 by insisting they were going to play Internet bridge troll and impose extra tolls on companies and consumers that already pay for bandwidth. Five years later they've successfully used their immense power in DC to ensure nobody can stop this from happening.

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Los Angeles, CA

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reply to roymustang

Re: Network Neutrality? Political change? Never happen!

yea, uh.. i'm not interested in "cutting spending" which bush did for illegal wars and then cutting taxes for the rich, if the taxes for the rich were a good thing, they'd help us in this current situation.

the tea party needs to stop fear mongering and lying, they're biggots, all they do is contradict themselves and they're religious FREAKS.

i'll gladly sit there and watch O'Donnell lead herself to her demise trying to "ban masturbation." the GOP and faux news have turned the american political system into a fucking reality show at the expense of everyone else. I'm still wondering where the tea party was when bush spent money he didn't hvae on wars that did nothing, against countries that did nothing to us. Whoever calls for the "terrorists to be killed in their sleep" needs to be killed in their sleep. Americans easily call out the death of "insurgents" oversea's, they give themselves way too much credit.

Look for the tea party to continue the destruction of America, repeal the health care bill MY ASS, we're mandated to buy car insurance, we should be mandated to buy health insurance, ESPECIALLY WHEN SOMETHING FINALLY HAPPENS TO YOU, I PAY FOR IT THROUGH MY F'N TAXES.

the tea party is just an excuse to capture the idiots of this country, to use them.. jesus christ, it's like they're fighting for the rich and not even knowing it.

Live with the understanding that to have a good society, you need taxes. I'm tired of listening to John Boehner talk about less taxes, all he does is take bribes from companies, take free trips and enjoy his life, while fucking everyone else in the country, you guys are all blind. This is a guy who was caught handing out bribes on the floor and said it wasn't the right place to do it.

Rather than be with your country in this absolute shitty time and support the president that has reformed things that should've been reformed, be against him and blame him for not turning around an entire credit associated economy in 3 years, pathetic. Whoever expects anyone to do so is dreaming, the banks are all against him, everyone is against him. Just remember, if the banks and wall street are against you, they'll hold you down.. and when some other idiot comes into power that gives them everything, then they will release the grip, start lending and take it back to the all credit economy it used to be, then it'll collapse again.

try paying as you go.



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The United States political system has become so hopelessly corrupt over the years that major corporations now literally own the politicians in Washington, and therefore own the American people. It simply doesn't matter who gets elected anymore.

The Network Neutrality concept only applies to corporations. The people will be told by the corporations what they can and can't get out of their "leased" Internet connection.

Corporations control the medium, and therefore control the message.
Watch my future television channel's public test broadcast!
»thecanadianpublic.com (click "Watch Live!")