Items tagged with Net Neutrality

Any year in review that covers the major events of 2018 should include the repeal of net neutrality laws that were implemented during the Obama administration. Former Verizon attorney and current Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai led the charge in rolling back net neutrality regulations, and on Wednesday he patted Congress on the back for upholding the controversial vote. Image Source: Flickr via Gage Skidmore "I’m pleased that a strong bipartisan majority of the US House of Representatives declined to reinstate heavy-handed Internet regulation. They did the right thing—especially considering the positive results for American consumers since the adoption of the Restoring... Read more...
The debate surrounding net neutrality is going to court.The United States Justice Department is suing the state of California over their new net neutrality law. The lawsuit will decide whether federal or state governments can enact laws that affect national telecommunication companies.    The suit was filed on Sunday with the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California. Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a bill that prevents companies like Verizon and AT&T from slowing or blocking Internet traffic. Companies are also unable to allow unlimited access to certain sites while blocking others. The bill is intended to protect consumers and undo the laws enacted... Read more...
If you've noticed that your streaming media feeds seem a bit slower lately, you are not alone. Others have noticed that online videos suddenly seem to be buffering more often and arriving on devices looking a little blurry. Maybe websites appear to be taking longer to load. If so, it could be because your Internet service provider (ISP) is throttling traffic. It's not necessarily in your head, in other words. This was one of the fears that net neutrality advocates warned about when the Federal Communications Commission, led by chairman Ajit Pai, was determined to strip away regulations implemented under the previous administration when Tom Wheeler headed up the FCC. "Nearly every US cell provider... Read more...
Verizon Wireless is catching heat for throttling data services of the Santa Clara County Fire Department while wildfires ravaged California. The fire department's chief, Anthony Bowden, said the throttling impeded his department's ability to respond to emergencies, and that Verizon was informed of the "significant impact" its decision was having. Santa Clara Fire pays Verizon for what is supposed to be 'unlimited' data. However, it apparently reached the limit of unfettered data and had its services throttled, which primarily affected a fire department vehicle that is "deployed to large incidents as a command and control resource." This rolling command center tracks, organizes, and prioritizes... Read more...
Supporters of net neutrality will be thrilled to hear that the U.S. Senate has voted to restore the net neutrality rules that the FCC announced that it would kill off back in April. A Senate vote was held today, and the Senators came down 52-47 to restore the net neutrality rules. The Senate vote was very close with all 49 Democrats voting to restore net neutrality rules along with three Republicans senators -- Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK) and John Kennedy (LA) . Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana said that his vote came down to whether he and others should trust the local cable company where most Americans get their web access. "If you trust your cable company, you're... Read more...
In the eyes of the National Rifle Association (NRA), Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Ajit Pai "saved the Internet" by shooting down net neutrality rules that were implemented under the previous administration. Apparently the NRA was so pleased by this that it felt compelled to gift Pai a real life gun, a "Kentucky handmade long gun," as part of its Charlton Heston Courage Under Fire Award. The NRA presented the award at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland on Friday. American Conservative Union (ACU) executive director Dan Schneider was part of the ceremony, telling attendees that "Ajit Pai is the most courageous, heroic person that I know" for "liberat[ing]... Read more...
After blocking an app in the App Store that was designed to alert iOS users of net neutrality violations, Apple took a second look at the application, called Wehe, and decided it was acceptable after all. However, the developer of the app, Dave Choffnes, is still unclear on why exactly Apple chose to banish Wehe from the App Store, which underscores the mysteries of Apple's review process. There are guidelines that spell things out, of course, but even when all the check boxes appear to be ticked, Apple can still decide to refuse an app entrance into its lucrative App Store. That is what happened to Choffnes, who said he had a "very pleasant" conversation with Apple, but that the company "did... Read more...
What happened yesterday was outrageous. Officials at the FCC voted 3-2 to repeal net neutrality rules enacted during the previous administration, stripping away consumer protections against ISP abuse. The vote ignored a public outcry that had grown loud and clear leading up to the vote, one that included voices from many of the Internet's pioneers, along with 18 state attorney's general and tens of millions of people from all walks of life, both Republicans and Democrats. The process was a farce, though the fight for net neutrality is not over. Yes, net neutrality advocates lost a battle yesterday. And yes, when the ink dries and the red tape clears, ISPs and wireless carriers will be free to... Read more...
FCC chairman Ajit Pai was supposed to be receptive to public feedback on his proposal to repeal net neutrality rules that are currently in place, rules that prevent ISPs and wireless carriers from blocking or throttling Internet traffic based on content, among other things. Instead, he has repeatedly made it clear that the whole process is a farce. The latest example of that is a cheeky video featuring Pai in a Santa Claus suit telling us all the things we can do on the web once is no longer neutral. This would be fine, if someone else or some other agency put together the video, and it didn't star Pai. The gist of the argument is that net neutrality advocates are overreacting, and that once... Read more...
In case you've been living under the proverbial rock, then you know that December 14th is a big day for anyone in the United States that uses the internet on the daily basis (meaning, the vast majority of Americans). FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has made it clear that the current net neutrality rules that govern how internet traffic is regulated are unnecessary, anti-business, and a prime example of government overreach. As a result, the vote late this week will in effect kill net neutrality as we know it. In a last-ditch effort to save the internet, defenders of net neutrality are staging a "Break the Internet" campaign tomorrow, December 12th. The purpose of the campaign is to prompt Congress... Read more...
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), led by Chairman Ajit Pai, is set to vote on whether it should dismantle net neutrality rules that were put in place under the Obama administration. As this has become a political issue, the FCC is assuredly going to proceed with Pai's plan to withdraw the rules, after having voted 2-1 back in May of this year to advance the process. A final vote is scheduled for December 14.In case you are not aware, net neutrality rules were put in place to ensure that all Internet traffic is treated equally and fairly. Through government regulation, wireless carriers and Internet service providers (ISPs) are prohibited from throttling or blocking online content,... Read more...
You might think that an agency such as the Federal Communications Commission would exist for no other reason than to protect consumers, but that hasn't proven to be the case at all when it comes to our online rights. You might be tired of hearing about net neutrality - and we couldn't even blame you - but now more than ever, we can't let down our guard. To reiterate what net neutrality is supposed to do: it's to treat our internet access as a Title II utility, classifying it the same way our phones and power are. That is to say that companies can't charge whatever they want for whatever they want - there are guidelines. And for companies like Verizon and Comcast, they feel that those guidelines... Read more...
Silicon Valley is pushing back against Washington D.C., and for good reason. A lobbying group representing tech titans such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Microsoft recently released a document in favor of net neutrality. The Internet Association (IA) indicated that it supported the 2015 Open Internet Order. The IA’s report stated, “The internet industry is uniform in its belief that net neutrality preserves the consumer experience, competition, and innovation online. Consumers want and need their internet experience preserved and protected, regardless of the legal or regulatory mechanism.” Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai has argued that he would prefer for broadband... Read more...
While nothing is yet official, word inside Washington is that President Donald Trump will assign GOP commissioner Ajit Pai to serve as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Pai was nominated to the FCC by former President Barack Obama and was confirmed unanimously by the United States Senate in 2012. Since he has already been confirmed by the agency, he could step right into the role without approval by the Senate. Pai met with Trump on Monday and is widely viewed as the top contender for the job based in part on his experience as a telecom law expert and comfortable demeanor in front of the camera. However, choosing Pai to be Chairman of the FCC would not be without controversy,... Read more...
Telecommunications corporations are under fire again. The Federal Communications Commission has accused Verizon and AT&T of violating net neutrality rules with their “zero-ratings” promotions. Jon Wilkins, the chief of wireless telecommunication for the FCC, sent a letter of complaint to both corporations. First off, what is “zero-rating”? Zero-rating is when mobile network operators (MNOs) and ISPs do not charge customers for data used by specific applications or internet services through their network, in limited or metered data plans. Verizon and AT&T introduced their own zero-rating services at the beginning of 2016. T-Mobile has touted its Binge On service since 2015. Wilkins... Read more...
One of the most important and hotly debated topics of the Internet era has been net neutrality, the concept that all web traffic should be treated equally. Internet service providers and wireless carriers continue to fight against net neutrality rules and want the right to charge services like Netflix for faster access into homes, but the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has so far been able to keep them at bay. Perhaps one day the government agency won't have to intervene, as engineers at Stanford University have come up with a solution that would allow users to choose which traffic gets preferential treatment, and when. Professor Nick McKeown, Associate Professor Sachin Katti, and electrical... Read more...
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and the rest of the gang were all smiles on Tuesday when a federal appeals court completely upheld the agency's 400-page Open Internet Order, a set of net neutrality rules that wireless carriers and broadband service providers must abide by. The FCC emerged the victor as a result of a 2-1 ruling in its favor. The ruling reinforces the FCC's authority and power to regulate broadband Internet service as a utility, similar to phone service, and to lay out rules to prevent what it deems are unfair practices for consumers. One of the biggest net neutrality rules is that ISPs must treat all online traffic equally rather than implement so-called Internet fast lanes for services... Read more...
Since net neutrality rules went into effect last summer, some telecom companies have skirted the line of what's legal, but Verizon becomes the first to outright defy the rules, and now the world wonders whether this will be the straw that breaks the camel's (FCC's) back. When T-Mobile launched its Binge On service this past fall, some net neutrality backers claimed that it went against the spirit of the rules, given that select consumers would be given select content to be "zero-rated" - that is, data not counted towards the monthly limit. Where T-Mobile seems to be safe, though, is that this service is a major benefit to customers who have the right packages, so for many, having Binge On... Read more...
The Federal Communications Commission is looking into various wireless plans with so called zero-rating services to see if they run afoul of net neutrality legislation, including T-Mobile's popular Binge On program. In case the FCC is need of any advice on the matter, T-Mobile has a message for the agency—"tread lightly.""The commission has to tread lightly," said Kathleen Ham, Vice President of Federal Regulatory Affairs at T-Mobile. "And certainly more lightly than for the wired world in the wireless space — when there is so much experimentation happening, so much differentiation happening. And a lot of it customers responding to. We do have to be transparent about it. We have to make sure... Read more...
All the hoopla surrounding T-Mobile's controversial Binge On program has the company's outspoken boss, John Legere, in the limelight more than usual. Drawn to defend the benefits of Binge On, both in social media and to news outlets alike, Legere is prone to lose his cool at times, and he regrets recent comments he made to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a non-profit digital rights group. EFF stands as one of the critics of Binge On. Those who oppose to the program primarily take issue with T-Mobile's wholesale downgrading of video streams to 480P or greater, which they say is throttling. Legere has repeatedly stated reasons why he believes otherwise, and in part, it's become a war... Read more...
T-Mobile's been on a mission to disrupt the wireless market, hence why it calls itself the un-carrier. One of the more recent and controversial initiatives to come from T-Mobile is Binge On, a program that allows that allows customers to access certain streaming services without it counting against their data caps. On the surface, that sounds like a net neutrality violation, though Federal Communication Commission Tom Wheeler says there's nothing wrong with what T-Mobile's doing.Just the opposite, Mr. Wheeler praised the program as "innovative" when a reporter asked if it raises any net neutrality red flags."It's clear in the Open Internet Order that we said we are pro-competition and pro innovation.... Read more...
AT&T's loathing of the FCC's Open Internet Order isn't as strong as its desire to acquire satellite TV provider DirecTV. As such, the telecom is expected to put into writing a promise to abide by the FCC's net neutrality rules in order so that the government organization will be comfortable in green lighting the proposed $48.5 billion merger. This is a big deal for AT&T, a major telecom that's been vehemently opposed to the agency's net neutrality rules, or at least the way it went about implementing them. The FCC earlier this year was successful in reclassifying broadband Internet as a utility under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, thus giving itself the power it needed to... Read more...
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