WEASELS RIPPED MY INTERNET: Cowardly House Dems Cave On Net Neutrality, Cut FCC Off At The Balls


TECH CRUNCH: The FCC will not have rulemaking authority under a network neutrality bill that key House Democrats plan to introduce soon, according to a recent draft obtained by Tech Daily Dose. Instead, the commission will deal with enforcement on a case-by-case basis. Broadband providers who violate the law will face a maximum penalty of $2 million by the FCC, under the bill. The absence of the rulemaking authority, along with other provisions of the bill, is consistent with information reported by Tech Daily Dose last week. The bill is a last-minute effort by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman to shepherd net neutrality legislation through the lower chamber before recess. Waxman hopes to advance the measure through the Senate during the lame-duck session after the November elections, according to an industry source. Under the proposed legislation, the FCC would be prohibited from reclassifying broadband under Title II of the Communications Act, a change FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has proposed in order to allow the government to impose rules designed to preserve the Internet’s openness. Although he has sought to protect broadband from more onerous regulatory requirements under Title II, such as price regulation, the industry regards the reclassification approach as the “nuclear option.” MORE


RELATED: If Net Neutrality is ended, the Internet as you know it is gone forever, split into a fast lane for companies with money and a slow lane for small businesses, individuals, clubs and societies – in fact, anyone who can’t afford to pay ISPs to have their site in the fast lane. ISPs may even completely block access to sites who aren’t able to pay them. MORE

SENATOR AL FRANKEN: “Net neutrality” sounds arcane, but it’s fundamental to free speech. The internet today is an open marketplace. If you have a product, you can sell it. If you have an opinion, you can blog about it. If you have an idea, you can share it with the world. And no matter who you are — a corporation selling a new widget, a senator making a political argument or just a Minnesotan sharing a funny cat video — you have equal access to that marketplace. An e-mail from your mom comes in just as fast as a bill notification from your bank. You’re reading this op-ed online; it’ll load just as fast as a blog post criticizing it. That’s what we mean by net neutrality. But telecommunications companies want to be able to set up a special high-speed lane just for the corporations that can pay for it. You won’t know why the internet retail behemoth loads faster than the mom-and-pop shop, but after a while you may get frustrated and do all of your shopping at the faster site. Maybe the gatekeepers will discriminate based on who pays them more. Maybe they will discriminate based on whose political point of view conforms to their bottom line. MORE

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