FCC Chair Genachowski's "Fake Net Neutrality" Scheme Threatens Internet Freedom, Digital Democracy
Originally published: December 1, 2010
Last updated: December 2, 2010 - 11:18pm
[Commentary] Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski's latest proposal does not restore Net Neutrality as it existed before a Republican-dominated FCC took steps to undermine the principle, nor does it guarantee Internet freedom and flexibility.
An analysis being circulated by the Save the Internet Coalition asserts that Genachowski's "proposed rule is riddled with loopholes, and falls far short of what's necessary to prevent phone and cable companies from turning the Internet into cable TV: where they decide what moves fast, what moves slow, and whether they can price gouge you or not: a shiny jewel for companies like AT&T and Comcast." But if Chairman Genachowski wants to advance network neutrality rules, he will have to have fellow FCC Commissioner Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn on board. That leaves room for serious negotiation, and for serious improvement of the proposal put forward by the chairman.
The power rests to some extent with Commissioners Copps and Clyburn, but it rests to an even greater extent with the millions of Americans who want the free and open Internet that candidate Obama promised. That's going to require a lot of digital activism. This is where the Save the Internet Coalition comes in. It's a big-tent group that includes Free Press, the American Library Association, Common Cause, Consumers Union, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Media Access Project, the Consumer Project on Technology and Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility, among dozens of other professional, labor, community and consumer groups. If this coalition -- and all the Americans who want an Internet that serves not just the big telecommunications companies but the civic and democratic aspirations of citizens -- response to the Save the Internet call, America won't have to settle for fake net neutrality. We can have the real thing, and we can realize the full promise of the Internet.
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