Net Neutrality Now Sliding Down Tubes

After the clusterf*ck circus, near-“deal”-breaking, and back-channel discussions sparked by a judicial ruling stripping the FCC from preventing data discrimination online, and nothing (substantive) doing from the agency itself as a result, the ball has been tossed to Congress. Where it landed with a thud.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) was poised to introduce a bill that would have effectively been a “compromise” – on an issue in which “compromise” would have meant throttling the FCC’s regulatory authority and leaving lots of loopholes for data discrimination. Bad, bad news. Read More


A week ago, media reformistas were supposedly “celebrating” the near-avoidance of the death of network neutrality when the FCC declared discussions between it, Google, and Verizon had fallen through.

After a weekend of deep breaths, guess what? Google and Verizon announce a “policy framework” for network neutrality going forward. So much for salvation.

The plan would place the FCC in an “oversight” role to make sure content is not discriminated against online simply for the sake of what it is. Notable, however, is the FCC’s secondary position in the regulation of network neutrality; companies will work out their own deals, and then hand them over to the FCC for rubber-stampage. Read More

The Slow Death of Network Neutrality

Many people soiled their suits this week when it was revealed that Google and Verizon – with the apparent oversight of the Federal Communications Commission – began negotiations about how to implement a tiered Internet. If solidified, and officially endorsed, it would have marked the beginning of the end of the principle of network neutrality on the Internet.

The parties involved have denied this activity, to their chagrin. Read More

Net Neutrality: Thanks For The Memories?

The heads of policy peeps just about exploded last month after the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the FCC’s authority to stop internet service providers from conducting data discrimination (violating the informal principle popularly known as “network neutrality“). A couple of weeks of hand-wringing later, and FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski releases a statement outlining his plans to re-empower the agency to regulate the way by which ISPs manage their network traffic.

It’s a somewhat arcane policy principle, but in plain English it breaks down like this: the FCC classifies network service providers in one of two ways – telecommunications providers and information service providers. Telecommunications providers (like old-skool telephony) are subject to “common carriage” rules – this means the networks must not refuse interconnection, cannot discriminate against other carriers and customers, and cannot refuse the use of non-destructive applications on their networks. Information service providers, on the other hand, do not fall under the common carriage paradigm. Read More