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Trump Administration Could Doom Net Neutrality

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Last Friday, the United States Senate was not able to reconfirm Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. This means that by the time Tom Wheeler, the incumbent head of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will step down (assuming he does step down), Republicans will hold a majority. And it is very likely that the first thing they will do is reverse the net neutrality rules that were put in place one year ago.

One of the responsibilities of the FCC is to make sure that competition among mobile operators, cable, radio and TV broadcast, and web infrastructure is being monitored. When Wheeler served as FCC Chairman, the agency proposed and passed federal net neutrality rules which essentially barred web service providers such as Verizon Wireless and Comcast from charging a fee to websites like Facebook and Netflix in order to reach end users at faster connection speeds. A staggering four million people had aired their support for the passing of the FCC’s net neutrality rules, which were designed in the first place to ensure that all web traffic are treated equally.

But now that Rosenworcel is on her way out and Wheeler expected to step down next month, the Republicans are set to hold a 2-1 majority at the FCC starting in 2017. Moreover, President-elect Donald Trump, who will officially become President this coming January, is also looking to appoint new FCC leadership in order to reverse the net neutrality rules.

So what happens if the net neutrality rules are reversed? Almost certainly, web service providers will be granted the ability to set up a two-way toll in which consumers will be charged for access to the Internet. Not only that, websites will also be charged for priority access to the worldwide web in order to reach users. Obviously, not all websites will be able to afford this type of priority access. What will likely happen is that these marginalized websites will relegated to slower connection speeds, basically making it even more difficult for them to compete with the big names.

Right now, the FCC leadership consists of a total of five commissioners. Three of those five commissioners usually represent the party of whoever is President. Now that Rosenworcel is out, the FCC leadership will be made up of four commissioners -- two Republicans and two Democrats. When Trump becomes President, he will move to appoint a new chairman of the FCC. Whenever a new administration comes along, the current chairman of the FCC typically steps down, but is not required to. This means that if he wants to, Wheeler can stay as a commissioner, but under the leadership of a new chairman appointed by Trump. Wheeler’s term is supposed to end in 2018, and when he leaves by then, the expectation is that Trump will nominated a new commissioner to replace Rosenworcel.

Trump has not picked anyone yet, but it is worth noting that the two advisers he appointed for his transition team, namely Mark Jamison and Jeff Eisenach, are both opposed to net neutrality. Still, even if an FCC under Trump will undoubtedly reverse net neutrality, the current rules will not vanish right there and then. The FCC will likely initiate a new process for reversing the rules, and that may take more than a year, at least.


Source: Recode

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31 comments:

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  1. Net Neutrality (as the FCC defines it: no throttling, no blocking, no paid prioritization) died when the commission failed to stop T-Mobile's Binge On and other "zero rated" derivatives.

    Can someone explain why CT goes to so much effort to create a sentence for sentence "paraphrase" of sourced articles? It's one thing to color an existing "outline" with your own experience / perspective, or to add context / elaboration to make the material easier to understand. In this case, we have something that is wholly derivative and would be certainly be found to violate copyright. Why not just copy the original text of the article in that case? Or why not use the "compositional labor" to write a new short headline / original "executive summary" of the article with the Source link if readers care to learn more about the topic?

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    1. write the article yourself and post it elsewhere if you are so nit picky about the article here.

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    2. really need to throttle this comment

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    3. "Binge On" is horribly anti-consumer, with its result being T-Mobile punishing customers for watching video form sources it didn't like.... which happened to be the vast majority of sources.

      The article is probably right. Look for the trend started with "Binge On" to continue and expand. with all carriers tightly controlling what you do with your data.

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    4. I agree. Seems like we have editorial reviewers here. Man, we just want phone news. Who cares how Christine wrote it or quoted it. Picky, picky....

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    5. TechnologyAndSocialSideEffectsDecember 15, 2016 at 2:40 AM

      Our next PrePaid News article will deal with:

      "The Internet Paradox...A Social Technology That Reduces Social Involvement And Psychological Well-Being."

      Binge-On my friends! ;-)

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  2. Not sure net neutrality is "prepaid phone news". Anyway, FWIW I read that even the dems didn't want Rosenworcel reconfirmed.

    https://morningconsult.com/2016/11/17/now-democrats-holding-fccs-rosenworcel-confirmation/

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    1. This is definitely prepaid phone news. Because prepaid phone users tend to use data. And this will likely have profound impact on what happens with the data and how you pay for it and what you pay for.

      There are some things I like about Donald Trump. Such as how he will probably tip the balance of power away from unions and toward workers. And how he will stop the overtaxation which forces companies like Carrier to leave the country. But I don't like this one bit. What the cell services will end up doing will be very anti-consumer and pretty bad. Do you like such things as being able to go to the Fox News website for free while you pay an extra fee to go to CNN? Then you will love net neutrality being abolished.

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    2. Maybe you are right, I am just sick of seeing political news on tech-related and other niche websites. The election is over a month past, and it is still impossible to avoid. I avoid sites like CNN, FOX, etc., but even sites like Arstechnica, DSL Reports, and now here are Trump this, Trump that... And even if the reporting is on the issue is "even" or unbiased, the comments section 9 times out of 10 turn into a heated political debate.

      Anyway, I agree, I hope net neutrality stays. Trump took over the repub party in this election cycle, but he is really more of a populist than a republican. I'm not convinced he will necessarily side against the people, but time will tell.

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  3. I never bought into the Binge On violates net neutrality argument. Logically, zero rating content to benefit end users is the polar opposite of pay to play.

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  4. This article is pure speculation however I can see it sure is slanted liberal! How about we wait until we see who the Prez elect appoints before we start whining?

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    1. Yes of course it's speculation. But it's informed speculation based on the fact that the president elect and almost all of the Republican legislators who have expressed an opinion on the subject have opposed net neutrality.

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    2. Well put, Dennis.

      BTW, Metro's 2x6 for $60 is back: https://www.metropcs.com/2-for-60.html

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  5. I'm not a Trump supporter, but NN is a huge innovation killer. If you want to protect the web then push for more competition. NN tells companies HOW they're allowed to compete instead of letting consumers and market-forces make that choice. If you don't want choice then move to North Korea or Saudi Arabia where the government decides how the internet works.

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    1. The opposite is true. Net Neutrality kills no innovation. It does, however, kill censorship scams and double-charging.

      Without Net Neutrality, innovation really is killed. New efforts are stocked unless they pay carriers for permission to get to users.

      NN lets consumers and market forces make the choices.

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  6. I try and steer far away from politics, but the book hasnt yet been written completely regarding the internet and the law, and i feel compelled to speak up in favor of freedom of speach, and freedom of information. Allowing corporate interests to write this book will be a disaster for the People.

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  7. Could? could?? lol. more like all but guaranteed. He appointed an opponent of net neutrality to the fcc who argued against it. So... yeah. enjoy those anti-competitive practices for at least 4 more years =/

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  8. And enjoy more of John Legere punishing you for consuming content that is not in his tiny "personally approved" list.

    On the other hand, there are some telecommunications related regulations that need to go ( like the fine the FCC threatened the local cable company with if they carried the UPN network).

    And the racist FCC "affirmative action" policy on station licenses.

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    1. I will never understand how he is punishing me. He is not. He is charging the same way everybody else does for data. But then he does some for free. Under the FCC guidelines yes, you can make a great argument that it is illegal. BUT, he is not punishing customers by adding free content. It is a great benefit for those who take advantage of it. Toe the legal line?? Yes. Punishment?? Nope.

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    2. Nice semantic trick, but it is not working. He is charging you more to watch content he does not approve of. Clearly criminal activity under current law.

      "BUT, he is not punishing customers by adding free content"

      Rewording to get past the semantic tricks: he is punishing customers by charging more for content he does not approve of. No way is being fined for watching what you want a "benefit".

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    3. T-Mo is charging fair market value for all video, and then exempting their "approved" content. No fine. No extra charge. Actually a discount. Give me a scenario in which the fine you speak of costs me more to watch video on T-Mo than it would on Verizon.

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    4. "T-Mo is charging..."

      Correction: T-Mobile is charging more for content it does not like, and less for content it does like. I see right through the attempts at deception.

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  9. Trump will find his conservative constituency zealously supports net neutrality.

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  10. Nothing has changed, just the parade leaders. I would focus more on competition because at this point its almost a joke, so much money changing hands and nothings changed, and I am talking about a lot of money. All these promises for alternatives and after 20 years of pouring the GDP of a third world nation into the drunk steering committees we still only have 1 choice. It is so corrupt it makes people laugh. Oligarchy is the word for it. Look at history, what happened when they broke up ATT? The prices went up even more and they filed thousands of smaller incorps that then paid back to ATT so nothing changed really. The only time it was good for both was when there was real competition. Ingress Congress Progress

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  11. "Senior Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai – who is one of those likely to end up in the FCC driver’s seat – in a December 7 speech said Title II’s “days are numbered” and hinted at further changes, saying “We need to fire up the weed whacker and remove those rules that are holding back investment, innovation, and job creation.”

    “I’m also optimistic that the FCC will once again respect the limits that Congress has placed on our authority,” Paid said in a shot at Wheeler’s tactics. “We can’t simply enact whatever we think is good public policy. We also have to make sure that we have the power to do so. But the Commission hasn’t done a very good job of that recently.”

    -Wireless Week

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  12. Christine/Dennis, check out this intriguing new service from Ultra Mobile: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/ultra-mobile-throttling/

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  13. Amazing isn't it, Dennis? That you post a message that mentions Trump... the cause of some of the most ridiculous and over-the-top claims in America now (from both sides)

    ... and your commenters show relative restraint. There's a lot more posts with less hot-button subjects that have a lot more hot air.

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  14. Reported yesterday that Ajit Pai (current Commissioner) is expected be FCC Chair.
    Get ready to kiss NN goodbye. Good innovation to follow (e.g., more free stuff).

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    1. No NM means more of being charged again for stuff you already paid for.

      A total disaster.

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  15. New priorities for FCC under Ajit Pai:
    https://www.wirelessweek.com/news/2017/02/fccs-pai-talks-priorities-after-first-meeting-chairman?cmpid=horizontalcontent

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  16. FCC closes investigation into zero rating services. Last month Wheeler said Verizon and AT&T offerings were found to have violated Net Neutrality, but T-Mobile's Binge On had not.
    Now all these popular services are OK with the 'new' FCC, which believes they enhance competition.
    https://www.wirelessweek.com/news/2017/02/fcc-closes-investigation-zero-rated-programs-pai-pulls-back-midnight-regulations

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