Don’t Let Net Neutrality Become Another Broken Promise

  • submit to reddit

Update: Due to server outages yesterday on its website because of too much traffic, the Federal Communications Commission has extended the deadline for the first round of public comments on its proposed rulemaking for the Open Internet through Friday, July 18. In other words, Net neutrality – equal access to the Internet for all. According to Brian Fung at The Washington Post, as of Tuesday afternoon, 780,000 comments had been received so far, reflecting, as the commission noted last week, “widespread public engagement. Consumers care about protecting and promoting Internet openness and we welcome their views on how to do so.”

A decision will be made later this year. How the commission will act depends in part on how they respond to continuing public pressure. So keep your messages coming. Email the FCC at: openinternet [AT] fcc.gov. Tell them why you think an Open Internet is essential and while you’re at it, ask the FCC to hold official open hearings on Net neutrality around the country so they can hear what real people have to say outside the Washington bubble.

Read this essay first published in May by Bill Moyers and Michael Winship and note the box at the end which describes other ways you can participate in the fight to keep the Internet open, equal and available to all. And don’t worry – if you don’t get to contact the FCC this week, there’s still plenty of time to let them know what you think, loud and clear.

Two women hold up a sign that says 'FCC, Do your Job!' at a rally at Google headquarters.

Net Neutrality protest at Google HQ (Photo: Flickr / Steve Rhodes / CC 2.0)

Barack Obama told us there would be no compromise on Net neutrality. We heard him say it back in 2007, when he first was running for president.

“We have to ensure [a] free and full exchange of information and that starts with an open Internet,” he said in a speech at Google headquarters, the presidium of cyberspace. “I will take a backseat to no one in my commitment to network neutrality, because once providers start to privilege some applications or websites over others, then the smaller voices get squeezed out and we all lose. The Internet is perhaps the most open network in history and we have to keep it that way.”

He said it many more times. And defenders of Net neutrality believed him, that he would preserve Internet access for all, without selling out to providers like Verizon and Comcast who want to charge higher fees for speedier access – hustling more cash from those who can afford to buy a place at the front of the line. On this issue so important to democracy, they believed he would keep his word, would see to it that when private interests set upon the Internet like sharks to blood in the water, its fate would be in the hands of honest brokers who would listen politely to the pleas of the greedy, and then show them the door.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be Washington’s infamous revolving door. Last May, President Obama named Tom Wheeler to be FCC chairman. He had other choices, men or women whose loyalty was to the public, not to rich and powerful corporations. But Tom Wheeler had been one of Obama’s top bundlers of campaign cash – both in 2008 and again in 2012, when he raised at least half a million dollars for the president’s re-election. Like his proposed new rules for the Web, that put him at the front of the line.

What’s more, Wheeler had been the top gun for both the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA), lobbyists for the cable and wireless industries. However we might try to imagine that he could quickly abandon old habits of service to his employers, that’s not how Washington works. Business and government are now so intertwined that public officials and corporate retainers are interchangeable parts of what Chief Justice John Roberts might call “the gratitude machine.”

Remember the FCC chairman under George W. Bush? Michael Powell was no champion of Net neutrality then, and now he works for its evisceration as CEO of the NCTA, the cable industry’s trade association, the same job Chairman Wheeler held three decades ago. Round and round they go, and where they stop – actually they never stop. They just flash their EZ Pass as they keep shuttling through that revolving door.

Consider: Daniel Alvarez was a long-time member of a law firm that has advised Comcast. He once wrote to the FCC on behalf of that giant, arguing against Net neutrality rules. He’s been hired by Tom Wheeler.

Former Ambassador Phillip Verveer also worked for Comcast and the wireless and cable trade associations, both of which have opposed Net neutrality. He’s now Tom Wheeler’s senior counselor.

Attorney Brendan Carr worked for Verizon and the telecom industry’s trade association, which lobbied against Net neutrality. Now Brendan Carr is an adviser to FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai, who once described open Internet rules as a “solution in search of a problem” and used to be a top lawyer for Verizon.

To be fair, Tom Wheeler has brought media reformers into the FCC, too, and has been telling us all that we don’t understand – that we’re the victims of “misinformation” about the new rules – that he is still for Net neutrality. Possibly. But the public’s no chump, and as you can see from just those few examples from the reporting of intrepid young journalist Lee Fang, those new rules are not the product of an immaculate conception. They were hatched in a place where industry midwives huddle around the cradle, waiting to privatize — sorry, baptize — the new arrival, and claim him for their own. Everyone else — nonprofit groups, startups, the smaller, independent content creators and everyday users – move to the rear. The Net will be neutral no more.

President Obama could stiffen Tom Wheeler’s spine with one phone call. That’s not likely, given the broken promises that litter the White House grounds. You can send an e-mail to make your opinion known at openinternet [AT] fcc.gov. Or direct a tweet to Wheeler @TomWheelerFCC.

Speak up. You have a chance to tell both Obama and Wheeler what you think, so that the will of the people, not the power of money and predatory interests, is heard.

Additional Resources

» File your public comment using this handy form from Common Cause.

» Save the Internet has a sample script, an email petition and instructions on how to call Wheeler and request that the chairman abandon his proposal.

» Using WhiteHouse.gov’s We the People site, critics of the new proposal have also launched a petition, calling for “nothing less than complete neutrality in our communication channels.” It already has over 40,000 signatures.

» A second petition asks the FCC to reclassify broadband as a regulated common-carrier service, which means it would have to be open to all, and serve all customers without discrimination. Currently broadband is classified as an information service, a category that gives the FCC a fairly limited set of regulatory options.

» There are a number of other organizations that are working on maintaining Net neutrality, including: AccessCREDO ActionDemand ProgressFight for the FutureFree PressOpen Technology InstitutePublic KnowledgeVoices for Internet Freedom

Bill Moyers is the managing editor of Moyers & Company and BillMoyers.com.
Michael Winship is the Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Moyers & Company and BillMoyers.com, and a senior writing fellow at the policy and advocacy group Demos.
  • submit to reddit
  • JonThomas

    Thank you. This is an excellent delineation of how how business and government work hand in hand through such customary practices as the ‘revolving door’.

    We would like to think (and really it would be reasonable to expect) that in a government “for The People,” appointees and those they bring in to help accomplish their goals, are there to help protect and ensure the will of said People.

    However, by bringing in persons so enmeshed in the industry for which they are being asked to regulate, their integrity is compromised. In fact, the problem is that they have never had express interest in doing anything but protect their business interests.

    A further problem exposed by this piece, is that leaders who aren’t fully informed in the details of the subjects, nor have the time to micro-manage, reasonably look for and delegate to experts in the field. Unfortunately, there is little the public can do to make sure that appointees are knowledgeable of the occupation, yet unaffiliated with business or business agendas.

    These appointment practices amount to cronyism of the worst sort. While we all know that it’s a glaring form of nepotism and partiality carried out to the injury of The People’s interests, it’s an entrenched system with little redress.

  • Anonymous

    Net neutrality deserves the support of everyone that favors individual liberty and equal right under law — creating yet another opportunity to divide Americans by wealth vs. poverty is not an option:

    … the massive head start the economically privileged already have in the economic rat race of life already grows exponentially with each generation and the resulting ever widening wealth/income gap is nothing less than a defect in the very fabric of our society with very real potential to rend it asunder.

    In the wake of the Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions, net neutrality may well be the last best hope for the individual voices of “we, the people” who are human to be heard over the $uper $tereo $urround $ound $ystem powered by cash that the greediest of the wealthiest have aimed at our political system and elected representatives and government officials.

  • Anonymous

    The President

    The White House

    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

    Washington, DC 20500

    Mr. President:

    It would be a major problem if this Comcast / Time
    Warner merger were to go through. The current internet and cable service, by
    far, are the worst, the slowest and the most expensive in the industrialized
    world. By a lot of $. It is outrageous the price difference let alone the speed
    and quality difference.

    “The public airways belong to the People”
    but in addition, the People paid through their taxes to develop the internet
    with the department of defense in the late 40s and 50s. The American People own
    the Internet. That is law and the FCC administers the airways and the internet.
    In addition, they allot licenses to the Radio, TV and Internet Companies.

    The American People are the landlords and the
    Radio, TV and Internet stations are Tenants. But for some magical reason, that
    I don’t understand, “they pay no rent to the American People.”
    “Can you imagine this?” They get it free 24 hours a day 7 days a
    week. More than that, these poachers decide who says what and who does not 24
    hours a day.

    They can decide to highlight a political candidate
    like Paul Ryan, Mitch Daniels or Rush Limbaugh and bring on other fevered
    right-wingers to address viewers. In addition, there is no requirement by the
    stations to have a reply by the candidate’s opponents. These candidates can
    highlight all types or right wing ideology and these hosts are paid millions of
    $ a month and they are not required to have anyone else on their program who
    would conflict with their right wing message. And to boot, these guys are
    “tenants of the American People” but they can make all the offensive
    noise they want without any worry of offending “the landlord.”

    Has the ACLU taken a position on this? I do not
    know. The “public property ” that is “owned by very rich
    companies” who use it free, collect Billions for all types of
    advertisements can decide who gets on and who doesn’t and do they ever do that.
    And this is not considered unconstitutional?

    “The Land Lords” do not get paid one dime
    for rent but are instead forced unwillingly to have to pay for the most
    expensive and inferior internet and cable service in the industrialized world.
    An additional sad part is that 40 to 50% of Americans cannot afford to buy the
    service for something that they own. The Wall Street Journal states that Telecoms
    make 90 percent profit from Internet fees that they bill to you….. And, the
    American People don’t get one dime for airwaves that they own. Where is the fairness?

    Thank you.

    Most respectfully,

    Jack Murphy

  • Anonymous

    The President

    The White House

    1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

    Washington, DC 20500

    Dear Mr. President,

    I am writing to you because I am very concerned about
    the upcoming merger between Comcast and Time Warner. I want show to you, Mr.
    President, that as uncompetitive as we are as a country in this area , that we
    will be in a much worse position in America if this currently proposed merger
    between Comcast and Time Warner is allowed
    to happen. All competiveness will vanish and we will quickly become last in
    quality service in the world.

    The U.S. has fallen behind much of the Western
    world when it comes to phone, cable and Internet service. Americans actually
    pay much more for inferior service compared to their global counterparts. The
    following will outline where America’s telecommunication service and its fees
    being charged to America People are when compared to the rest of the Western
    World:

    • Americans pay four times as much as the French
    for an Internet triple-play package—phone, cable TV and Internet—at an average
    of $160 per month versus $38 per month and these companies still make money.

    • The French get global free calling and worldwide
    live television. Their Internet is also 10 times faster at downloading
    information and 20 times faster uploading it.

    • America has gone from #1 in Internet speed (when
    we invented it) to 29th in the world and falling. Hong Kong has internet speed
    of 1 gig and the charge is $25.00 per month. And, Government likes to talk
    about “American Exceptionalism?” Really! Maybe for Wall Street and
    CEOs but definitely not for Main Street. The American people paid for the
    development of the internet by the Department of Defense. The American People
    own the internet. But, someone gave the American People’s internet away to the
    gatekeepers. Now America has a cable industry that is the most expensive and
    least efficient and at the highest price compared to anyone in the
    industrialized world. Mr. President, this proposed merger would only reduce
    competiveness and increase prices.

    The American People also own the
    “Airwaves”. The American People are the ‘landlords’ and ‘property
    owners’ of these ‘airwaves.’ Many companies use these airwaves but I have not
    seen one dime in rent coming in to the People. Who allowed these gatekeepers to
    take America from #1 in telecommunications to #29th in the world?

    • Bulgaria is among the countries with faster
    Internet service.

    • Americans pay 38 times as much as the Japanese
    for Internet data. Since the mid-1970′s when Ma Bell was cited as holding a
    monopoly over phone service, Americans have been told more competition would
    lower their phone bill. But the promise of lower prices has actually led to
    higher prices. Yes, more than 29 other countries have better service.

    • Not only have prices increased, service providers
    now charge fees for everything, including options that used to be free. Bills
    have also become increasingly complicated. Virtually no one understands his or
    her phone bill in its entirety. I certainly do not nor the cable bill either.

    • Since 1995, average cable prices have been rising
    2.6 times faster than the cost of living, for basic no frill service in 2009.
    FCC reports shows.

    • According to SNL Kagan, a market research firm,
    the average cable bill in 2011 was $78, almost double the price of $40 in 2001
    and significantly higher than the FCC figure.

    • While we were not watching the phone and cable
    companies lobbied Washington to change laws and regulations to favor their
    business over their customers. In addition, they won. Just look at the service
    we get from these companies compared to the rest of the world.

    • Remember the so-called “Information
    Superhighway?!!!

    Over the course of the last 20 years, the
    “Telecom Superhighway” has collected 500 billion from the Government
    at Taxpayer expense. That works out to $3,000 per household to have access to
    high-speed Internet. However, didn’t the American People already pay for the
    development of the internet through the Department of Defense? Why are the
    American People paying to lay cable for the Gatekeepers to bill the American
    People for using those cables? There is no other country in the world that has
    done this to their people.

    • So where are all the Superhighway “Fiber
    Optic Lines” that everyone should have? The answer is that only the very
    few have these lines. America did not get what it was promised and that 500
    billion was a giveaway, at taxpayer expense. We are 29th in the world and the
    most inferior and expensive telecommunication service. In addition, this is
    “Exceptionalism?”

    • This is terrible for commerce for our economic
    future. Our global competitors are investing in the proper infrastructure while
    our country invests in Wall Street and the 1%. These American companies
    essentially have a business model that is antithetical to economic growth.
    Profits go up if they can provide slow Internet at super high prices along with
    overpriced and mediocre television and telephone.

    • The relationship between phone and cable
    providers has essentially become a price fixed cartel. Look at the
    relationships between Verizon and Comcast or AT&T. This is wrong and
    completely void of price competition.

    • In terms of phone service, what America really
    got was a duopoly. AT&T and Verizon control 60% of phone service in
    America.

    Mr. President, in contrast with the banks we have
    “Too Big to Fail and Too Big to Jail” if you allow this merger you
    will have “Too Big to Telecast Affordably to the American People.” To
    consider a merger between Comcast and Time Warner would be a catastrophe for
    the American People and a disaster to the economy. There is no competition for
    these companies any longer. Public policies have vanished. The Sherman Anti
    Trust Act is gone. I hope that you will prevent and stop this merger from
    happening.

    Mr. President, the American People need you on this issue.

    Most respectfully,

    Jack Murphy

  • Anonymous

    This attempt by Congress to sell the
    Airwaves to pay for benefits is a work-around to steal a property owned by the
    American People for the explicit purpose of privatization of cable and the
    internet. IF, this were to happen this would be a traitorous act against the American People.

    We already have the most inferior and most
    expensive cable and internet in the industrialized world. IF, Americans are
    forced to give up their rights of ownership of the airwaves to corporations
    than our fate would be sealed. We would forever be at their mercy on something
    that we own.

    I urge everyone to write to the President, Senators
    and everyone that you can think of about this.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/17/business/media/congress-to-sell-public-airwaves-to-pay-benefits.html?pagewanted=all

  • Anonymous

    Robert Reich

    Wednesday’s decision by the Federal Communications
    Commission (prompted by the federal court of appeals) to abandon net neutrality
    and allow companies like Amazon, Facebook, and Netflix to pay Internet service
    providers for special, faster lanes, means higher prices for you and me –
    because the extra costs will be passed on to us.

    But the underlying problem is there’s almost no
    competition among Internet service providers– and will be even less when
    Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time-Warner is approved. Americans already
    pay more for Internet service than the citizens of any other nation. Some
    nations regulate the prices of Internet service, treating it as a public
    utility; others require greater competition in order to bring prices down. But
    we let the corporate giants have their way – and sit on the sidelines as they
    duke it out with high-priced lobbyists (the biggest content providers have
    sought faster lanes but oppose the Comcast acquisition of Time-Warner).

    As I’ve said before, the real issue isn’t the size
    of government. It’s who government is for.

  • Anonymous

    This article went only half way. It cast blame, but failed to describe how we can get involved other than to say speak up during the 30-to-45-day public comment period after the initial rules are released. To whom do we write, and what do we say? I’m for net neutrality? I’m against people with more money going to the front of the line? That doesn’t seem too effective a strategy to me. If the people to whom we are to write are sold out, they won’t care how we little people feel. To individuals willing to sell out, only a few things matter: money and collective voting blocks. When I read this article, I was led to believe I would come away with a plan of action. Instead, I’m frustrated that I was mostly just informed of a problem of which I’m already keenly aware. I already wanted to fight for net neutrality. I was hoping to be informed of a plan. Instead, I’m left wondering if there is any unified plan to oppose the telecom lobby at all. Apparently not! Furthermore, the articled spent too much time laying the blame for the problem down at the feet of the Obama Administration. That really wasn’t helpful. The article was too focused on pointing fingers and barely mentioned what we can do about the problem. From my perspective, it seems that we need to form a lobby of our own. It would have only one focus: to preserve net neutrality. Let it raise cash and lobby a few of its own politicians. Then, we would have a voice. Otherwise, we might as well sit down and shut up.

  • NJHope

    I am always appreciative of the writing by Bill and Michael. Thank you! This is the kind of writing which holds the reader until the end, and leaves one with a desire to act. I hope and even pray that everyone reading it does ACT today. I did, but then I have almost always done so. Maybe others will realize that taking action, that speaking up does have a good impact on outcomes. Please everyone. Do take action.

  • NJHope

    re-posting so more will see the info
    Contact the FCC. EMAIL address specially created for your comments is: openinternet@fcc.gov

    Then go here and click on “Proceeding #14-28″ to get to an internet comment page.
    http://www.fcc.gov/comments

    It’s easy, it’s fast, and you go on the record. Speak up.

  • Anonymous

    (original comment disappeared when I tried to re-edit post….reposting)

    Here is the response I got from OpenInternet@fcc.gov on May 2.

    I am slightly dyslexic so there are a number typos, but I left them in as this is the note exactly as a sent it.

    Stay tuned – more to come

    Re: CIMS00003825149 – What the FCC and Business doesn’t understand
    Dear Consumer,

    Thank you very much for contacting us about the ongoing Open Internet proceeding. We’re hoping to hear from as many people as possible about this critical issue, and so I’m very glad that we can include your thoughts and opinions.

    I’m a strong supporter of the Open Internet, and I will fight to keep the internet open. Thanks again for sharing your views with me.

    Tom Wheeler
    Chairman
    Federal Communications Commission

    ——- Original Message ——-
    From: johnksellers@gmail.com
    Subject: What the FCC and Business doesn’t understand

    WE MUST talk about and deal with the FUNCTIONAL effects of the choices we make about the Internet, NOT about money. Because if we let money and profit guide our choices, we have subjugated the Internet to the purposes and short sighted limitations of Business and the People of the United States will not get the benefit that are systematically and functionally possible. Focusing on Business purposes as the fundamental criteria for the decisions would only be appropriate if it would be appropriate for Corporations to install their representatives in each front room of every home owner in the country WITHOUT the home owner’s consent.

    Business is the Tail wagging the Dog, because without People there is NO SUCH THING as Business. However, if Businesses go away THERE ARE STILL PEOPLE. So that the appropriate roll of Business is to fully support the reason that they can exist at all….that they provide products and services to People TO THE BENEFIT OF THE PEOPLE. Such a relationship is FUNDAMENTAL….ANY OTHER PURPOSE OF A BUSINESS SUCH AS HUGE PROFIT is contrived and a secondary concern unless the BENEFIT to the PEOPLE is HUGE as consequence.

    ULTIMATELY EVERY SINGLE dollar of profit that any business makes comes from PEOPLE. If traced back to the true and ultimate origin of the profit it will found to be the work that some person did and then when home and lived a life. Again, the proof is that if these People who worked and lived a life didn’t exist, the business could not have even the idea if existence.

    If all the success of People’s efforts give Business wealth, then for true balance all the benefits MUST FLOW BACK TO THE PEOPLE. That is the ONLY way there can be true equity between Business interest and the interest of the PEOPLE of this United States.

    So unless the the allowing of “toll charges” on any part of the Internet “road” has substantial and commensurate benefit for the people, THEN THE “CHARGES ARE NOT WARRANTED”.

    Now I will make a case for what I think will bring about the best results for everyone concerned.

    There MUST be a new focus of concerns. The profit of companies must not take higher priority then maximizing the benefit of the people in the World at large; In fact, I argue that the best real benefit to the companies is in fact the substantial and real benefit to the People.

    I believe following is the key to the whole situation and can reliably trusted as a first principle for what is best for People in the disposition of the Internet. And the FCC should use this Principle.

    STATEMENT OF FUNDAMENTAL FUNCTIONAL PRINCIPLE AND CONSEQUENCE

    Any systemic impediment to communication of useful Information on the Internet harms the Internet, and will almost always have negative unintended consequences that outweigh the benefits.

    If Internet use costs more than is absolutely necessary, the Internet will be harmed.

    Why? Lets do a thought experiment to get a grasp of this dynamic and why it is so.

    Imagine you have a car with a turbocharger on it. Is there ANY situation that it makes sense to stuff cotton into the turbocharger that impedes the air flow? The answer is no. Because soon as you do, you will not win any more races. What is more, the car with the turbocharger is more powerful than the car without a turbocharger EVEN IF BOTH CARS HAVE OTHERWISE IDENTICAL ENGINES!

    Fast and inexpensive Internet transport turbocharges any Internet link. All other things being equal, those who do not have the full “turbocharge” will always come out second best.

    Don’t you see, if we make sure that we allow all the traffic we can as cheaply as possible, then the Internet will continue to be more DYNAMIC? It is as simple as that!

    Putting a cost on Internet traffic is counter to maximizing traffic operations and utilization. In any case, setting up a “roadblock” certainly will not make things better.

    OTHER REASONS
    The rest of the note points out additional reasons this plan should be rejected.

    It is a common practice for companies to sell Internet service at different speeds for different prices ignoring the fact that the cost of the lines to the customer is not commensurate with the ability to deliver at different speeds. This requires throttling of lines to keep customers to get more traffic than they are contracted to pay, but the technology is far from perfect and the management of resources is often loose or non-existent. I get service from Sonic.net which doesn’t do any throttling at all, and my connect is so stable that the maximum speed doesn’t vary in any significant way more than a total of a percent or two all of the time. It is much more stable than any delivery that uses throttling.

    The contemplated money for speed idea will most likely affect the industry’s stability because of the multitude of complexities, unknowns, and many issues it adds to the system.

    What is more it makes the low end customers more vulnerable to the big Cable companies. I believe companies like AT&T don’t have much respect for the customers. You don’t have to look far to find it….just consider the kind of contracts they set up with customers. They are awful!

    Here is specific evidence of their behavior. In Arizona in the 70′s I had a utility complaint with AT&T and because I was wrongly directed by a secretary in Phoenix Arizona I accidentally walked into the pre-public meeting of all the 50 utilities lawyers and only one lawyer representing the public. The AT&T lawyer, not knowing a utility customer was present, was cracking a long string of jokes about how much better business would be if they didn’t have to deal with the consumers. Everyone was laughing at the jokes including the Utility Commission members. The one lawyer from Legal Aid that was the only representative of the Public sat in the corner like a mouse and didn’t say a word.

    There are even other considerations. Would it make sense to regulate movies on U.S. Highways by setting up Toll booths every so often? What does one really have to do with the other. Wouldn’t it be better to regulate these things on a different basis than speed. SPEED CONTROL BY ITS NATURE CAN ONLY DECREASE TRAFFIC. We want more of it so it will be cheaper! And the regulation of the commerce that travels over it should be done elsewhere, not by regulating price of delivery. The cost of the movies HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE DELIVERY COST, these things can be regulated WITHOUT TOUCHING THE COMMUNICATIONS which has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE MEANING OF THE INFORMATION. So far it has been an awkward convenience to regulate its delivery, but the day will soon come it can be regulated within its structure and meaning without even considering its transportation….IF WE MAKE THE RIGHT SYSTEMATIC CHOICES AND PUT THE REGULATIONS DIRECTLY ON THE COGENT FACTORS AND CHARACTERISTICS….what is being planned is simply systematically incorrect. It is as logical as blocking a blood vain to increase circulation.

    What else I know is, that once we identify the right way to regulate correctly from its logic and structure THE PROBLEM OF REGULATING IT WILL BECOME MANY TIMES MORE SIMPLE. It is a technical issue, not a financial issue.

    Here is another consideration. Controlling commerce by imposing a cost on it IS A CONSTRAINT IN TRADE. It has been known for hundreds of years that inhibiting commerce hurts the economy.
    During the gas shortages of the 1970s and the reduction of driving speeds and increased cost of gasoline the economy suffered. Doesn’t it make sense that any increasing costs is going to reduce business?

    Also, shouldn’t we be more concerned with the rate and ease of delivery of products and services than the profit made from those services? The best products made in this country have done much more for the People when they were done right, and they managed to do this with small profit margins.. For example, Disk drives and memory chips have had very strong competition for a number of years because they are done in a very systematic way. (Note: in the early days of computers, Intel made a mistake and delayed computer graphics by many years because they segmented memory and each segment could not hold enough information for a complete graphic display.) Companies that made these products were killing each other, but the result was vastly superior, and the people who worked for those companies made a good living. Every company is better when it is lean and mean, not when it is so fat and sloppy that they can get away with continuously manipulating consumers with nasty contracts and the like. This ISP/Media thing is just such a fat and sloppy monster trying to get free to trash what it will.

    We should have our eye to making sure the Internet is systematic as possible. Such would bring many benefits. We don’t want one off rules and regulation like this “charging for the last mile”.

    The FCC should make it easy on itself and move regulation of particular products AWAY from the technical issues into other realms. Lets make sure the “roads” are broad and clean, with smooth sailing for all. Find some other way for the Businesses to sort out their problems. Make things smooth and easy for the PEOPLE so that they can have dynamic and vibrant Internet at their disposal. Put the costs where the costs are actual, real, and necessary. Eliminate all other costs as much as possible.

    Sincerely,
    http://sellers.com/Urlvj.jpg

  • Kerig Pope

    If you look in the Additional Resources block at the end of the article there are links to send an email or phone call directly to Tom Wheeler’s office, links to online petitions and links to other websites that have their own action plans. The main point (at this stage) is to make Mr. Wheeler know that we have a loud and united voice that demands to be heard and that we won’t be going away any time soon as long as he plans to bend to the wills of these large corporations.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you. I completely skipped that information.

  • https://www.facebook.com/rusty.wilson.1174 Rusty Wilson

    “Why is Net Neutrality important to you?”
    http://act.freepress.net/sign/internet_fcc_break/?source=front_slider

    The internet is my last bastion of freedom. I can find information and entertainment that I cannot get in the mass media so influenced by the “free speech” of money. I consider pay for priority schemes, which would discriminate against online content and applications, as nothing less than censorship. The internet would become just another mass media outlet promoting the pro corporate agenda and mind set while numbing and dumbing its users. Money is swearing at us from all directions please don’t let it take over the internet and drown out everything else.

  • Chewykernel Geo

    What’s happening these days at the FCC is about winner-take-all
    politics and gotta-have-it-all business interests. The open internet
    gives ordinary people power and freedom that frightens big business and
    government. So it’s easy to understand why people in power are nervous
    about the internet in its original, open form. Only this time they’re
    messing with freedom of speech (and press, and other liberties).
    Corporate and political cronyism is usually just the raw material of
    jokes and puns. This joke can’t be laughed away.

    Breaking up net neutrality involves prerequisites and the dots are easy
    to connect. ‘Money is speech’ and ‘corporations are people’ were
    mandated first in order for corporate control over lawmaking in general.
    This first phase was necessary before corporate internet control could
    even be imagined. Breaking up net neutrality is just one of many
    ambitions that require these two ridiculous principles and five Supreme Court Justices.

    Chairman Wheeler’s baby — the Comcast/TWC merger — is another
    prerequisite. Icing on the proverbial cake, so to speak. This is how
    Washington works and how insiders are rewarded. Corruption is the norm,
    cynicism is banal, civic protests are mocked. We live in an age where
    corporate and civic leaders are unable to distinguish between consumers
    and citizens.

    Let’s not lose sight of the fact that citizens — particularly as consumers — are
    the people with real, authentic power. We just need to be less squeamish about
    exercising these powers. Think “money is speech” over and over and
    eventually you’ll start believing it yourself. Citizens have the same
    right as AT&T or Verizon to tool such strange thinking to their advantage. Question is, do we fight fire with fire by lowering ourselves to these standards?

    The only meaningful protest will be to exercise our new-found ‘money is
    speech’ freedom by voting with feet and wallets. Protest by telling Verizon,
    AT&T, Comcast, et. al. their services are no longer wanted, and go
    on the record as to why (e.g., the stench). Our opinions and stances may
    fall on deaf ears in Washington but business people take notice any
    time their hoses are crimped. In my household TWC will be fired the same
    day Wheeler goes public with his Comcast/TWC merger decision. A protest
    against Comcast/TWC is a protest for keeping the internet open.

    My only thoughts on President Obama’s role in this mess is that I didn’t realize until Wheeler was crowned FCC chairman that Obama harbored that brand of cynicism. It would not have
    played out that way during his first term; second terms are secured for
    returning favors. I get that. Except this time the over-reaching is
    extraordinarily crass.

  • Anonymous

    - To Tom Wheeler FCC Chairman at openinternet@fcc.gov – In
    addition to net neutrality I am having lots of problems with AT&T as follows
    in my letters to President Obama, various Senators, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, 11
    newspapers, tens of thousands on Facebook,Twitter and Emails etc. As you can
    see I am beyond disturbed by these varied following problems.

    Mr. President:

    I have written to you about the
    following before. Yesterday, Bill Moyers had 2 topics regarding cable on his
    site. The following is my response to his posts:

    My total cable bill from AT&T went up 60% this month. My Internet bill alone went up 80% this month.
    We all know that we have the inferior cable and internet in the industrialized
    world. We rank at the bottom at 29th.
    But, it is also the most expensive compared to anyone in the
    industrialized world. These gatekeeper companies were handed the Internet and
    the Airwaves on a silver platter by the Government. Then the American People
    paid over $500 Billion in taxes to lay the cable lines that got handed over to
    these cable companies. Remember the “information highway” this money
    was for fiber optic cable lines that most people did not even get. This money
    ended up being a complete give away to these companies at taxpayer expense. The
    Government created these monopolies resulting in their supreme overcharging of
    their billing fees. Ma Bell was split up and now we have a duopoly where
    AT&T and Verizon own 60% of the business.

    In retaliation to my overpriced
    new monthly bill, I looked into changing carriers from AT&T to someone
    else. The only one available to me is Direct TV. AT&T has a special
    relationship with them and offers them to you if you don’t like your bill and
    want to switch. However, this is a duplicitous relationship since AT&T has
    recently offered to buy Direct TV as a move to offset the current merger
    proposal between Comcast and Time Warner. I also feel that there is a type of
    gerrymandering of cable companies at play here which results in more of a
    monopoly but for sure it is price fixing. If, President Obama lets these
    mergers happen then he will have a hand in creating even bigger monsters than
    we have now. In these recent years the American People have come to realize
    that the Government likes monopolies, it makes things easier for them to
    control including the people. This industry is already price fixed but any
    chance of competition will completely go out the window if this happens.

    This entire cable, phone and
    internet business is completely out of hand. It is an abomination. America
    ranks last in service and 1st in the highest price. What disturbs me enormously
    is that the American People own the Internet and they own the Airwaves. The
    American People are the “Land Lords” but they do not get one dime in
    rent from these “Poachers.” Not one dime!

    This Cable and Internet service
    and billing fees is completely out of hand. It is wrong, wrong, wrong and more
    wrong. A complete overhaul in fees and internet speeds is needed here
    immediately.

    I have done the research on
    service and fees from other Countries. Here are 2 examples.

    Americans pay four times as much
    as the French for an Internet triple-play package—phone, cable TV and
    Internet—at an average of $160 per month versus $38 per month and these
    companies still make money.

    The French get global free
    calling and worldwide live television. Their Internet is also 10 times faster
    at downloading information and 20 times faster uploading it.

    Hong Kong has internet speed of
    1 gig and the charge is $25.00 per month.

    90% of the Internet fees billed
    are profit and this fact is from the Wall Street Journal.

    Over 40% to 50% of Americans
    cannot afford cable. In addition, this % is even higher for Seniors. How sad is
    this?

    As an example, Americans do not
    own the oil business or the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry so we are at
    their mercy on pricing. However, we do own the Internet and the Airwaves. We
    have to figure out a way to stop these guys in their tracks and get this cable
    and internet problem righted once and fore all!!!!

    I wrote to the President of
    AT&T about my dissatisfaction about my bill. I received a call in response
    from what I call the faux “office of the president.” I ended up
    speaking with a person named Katie. I explained my dissatisfaction about my
    bill. In her response she had tone and attitude along with being aggressive,
    condescending and dismissive. She said to me that the price is the price and
    that is final and if I don’t like it I can leave AT&T and go elsewhere. And
    this is after being a customer for 52 years with this company. This company’s
    people never used to speak this way but a new breed has been installed. If,
    these people had competition they would not be talking this way to a customer.
    I don’t like it.

    Mr. President, as you know
    better than I do. Income levels in the middle have faced zero growth for years.
    The quality of life has stepped down for all too many. But, throw into the
    arena this outrageous cable pricing is like a new cancer being added to an
    already difficult living problem for so many Americans. It’s wrong.

    I have no power to fix this
    problem, Mr. President. But, I do write to you in the hopes that you can.

    Thank you.

    Respectfully,

    Jack Murphy

  • NoInfo ToShare

    Mr. Murphy — That is an incredible letter. If you don’t mind, I’m going to share it in the social media world (while giving you credit). Bravo.

  • GregoryC

    Who else to blame but President Obama who appointed every commissioner now serving at the FCC. They’re all corporate insiders, lobbyists, executives of the very corporations they’re entrusted to regulate (just like every other government agency co-opted by industry).

  • Susan Robertson

    Excellent point! The average citizens (the 99%) need a voice and if that voice needs to be money then we need our own Super Pac so we can take back government and change the rules of the game back so that we can rescue a very badly damaged democracy. If we get momentum we should eliminate gerrymandering, ban the revolving door policy in government that allows the corporate shills to become regulators of the industry from which they came, and amend the Constitution so that money will not equal speech and corporations are not people and Citizens United and the McCutcheon rulings can be overturned. In the meantime, I am writing letters, signing petitions and will call the appropriate legislators (even though I suspect the outcome may have already been decided. Thank goodness for Bill Moyers! And why was his show cut down from an hour to a half hour?

  • Susan Robertson

    Mr. Murphy, I also want to thank you for this great and informative letter from which I hope to quote excerpts (and credit you) when I write letters to legislators on this issue.

  • Anonymous

    Who else to blame? Are you kidding? Try the GOP.

  • Anonymous

    FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s so-called “fast-track” proposal is a naked attempt to hand control of the Internet in the United States to the Big Telecom corporations he used to work for — and apparently is still working for. If adopted, it would be a shameful abrogation of the Commission’s statutory obligation to protect the rights and interests of the American people.

    The Internet is the public square of the 21st century and beyond, the place the
    American people most often exercise their rights to free speech and free association. Net neutrality is the First Amendment of the Internet. The Commission needs to stop dithering and do what the Federal courts have TWICE told them they need to do: reclassify ISPs as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act, enact the necessary net neutrality rules, and then enforce them vigorously. The Commission needs to stop looking out for the profits of the Big Telecom corporations and start looking out for the rights and interests of the American people they were appointed to serve.

    If we don’t defend our First Amendment free speech and free association rights, we will surely lose them. Please help me reach 1,000 signatures in time for the May 15th FCC meeting! Please sign AND SHARE my petition.

    http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/fire-fcc-chairman-tom.fb77

  • Elissa Jury

    Mr. Murphy, if I could, I would like to share this letter on social media. Thank you so much for your comments and your thoughtful research.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you. I hope that it will help and benefit everyone.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you. I hope that it will help and benefit everyone.

  • Arthur Wilton

    This all seems so crazy. We could not possibly have a functioning democracy if electric utilities could deny or reduce service to people who argued against higher electricity rates. The Internet is a public utility by any reasonable definition of the word and should be classified as such.

  • Chewykernel Geo

    “90% of the Internet fees billed are profit” and they’re going for 99.

  • Anonymous

    Protecting Net Neutrality is ESSENTIAL to nation’s future.
    With members of the US Congress seemingly too corrupt or inept to act to save the USPS, email could very well soon be the only alternative to “snail mail”. How can anyone in their right mind not believe the internet is at least as an important utility as the telephone — when, in fact cell phones w/internet access may well eventually finsh replacing land lines.

    More importantly, the internet may well be the only means to counter the outrageous rules, regs, laws and court decisions, specifically including but not limited to “Citizens United”, that are handing control of our political system and, therefore, our government to the greediest of the wealthiest among us.

    Equal access to the internet may well be the only way the majority employee class segment of “we, the people” who are human can be heard in our nation’s political process and protect our consent for governance — government of, by and for “we, the people” who are human.

  • Net minion

    Sadly, indifference has killed the petitions (insufficient signatures) on WhiteHouse.gov
    Could it be that too few people care about preserving Net Neutrality?
    “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

  • Anonymous

    no 0NE has the right to remove , limit or restrict access to the internet!!!!. Its not all right to be a scofflaw !!

  • Shannon Mahoney

    Interesting…went to the gov page to put a comment. The comment page won’t load….no data received from the page!! Makes you wonder.

  • Dianna Kibbe Baldwin

    PEOPLE IF YOU CARE ABOUT HAVING AN OPEN INTERNET – MEANING IF THIS PASSES, US PEOPLE WHO ARE MIDDLE CLASS, POOR, DISABLED, ELDERLY, DISADVANTAGED WILL LOSE THE INTERNET; ONLY THE RICH AND PRIVILEGED WILL USE IT, PLEASE You have to send an email to ‘openinternet@fcc.gov’ to tell them why you think an Open Internet is essential and while you’re at it, ask the FCC to hold official open hearings on Net neutrality around the country so they can hear what real people have to say outside the Washington bubble.

  • Evan Sanders

    Don’t let the rich turn the Internet into their private playground! Act before it is too late.

  • Joe Mellem

    Everything posted publicly on the Internet in any manner belongs in the public domain. Then there would be no motivation for any group or corporation to try and monopolize it and individuals would enjoy the true nature of what the Internet is meant to be — a public forum for free exchange of ideas and commerce. Let freedom ring!

  • angryinnv

    can the poor masses not have one thing for free? the internet brings hours of learning and entertainment. please do not charge for it. i am broke enough as it is.