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FCC About To Cave On Net Neutrality

Reported by Ellen - December 21, 2010 -

Although the Obama administration is probably going to declare "Mission Accomplished" over today's FCC's Net Neutrality vote, the reality is that the new rule, as Tim Karr of Free Press put it, "is so riddled with loopholes that it's become clear that this FCC chairman crafted it with the sole purpose of winning the endorsement of AT&T and cable lobbyists, and not defending the interests of the tens of millions of Internet users."

In his Huffington Post column, Karr said,

Instead of a rule to protect Internet users' freedom to choose, the Commission has opened the door for broadband payola - letting phone and cable companies charge steep tolls to favor the content and services of a select group of corporate partners, relegating everyone else to the cyber-equivalent of a winding dirt road.

Instead of protecting openness on wireless Internet devices like the iPhone and Droid, the Commission has exempted the mobile Internet from Net Neutrality protections. This move enshrines Verizon and AT&T as gatekeepers to the expanding world of mobile Internet access, allowing them to favor their own applications while blocking, degrading or de-prioritizing others.

Instead of re-establishing the FCC's authority to act as a consumer watchdog over the Internet, it places the agency's authority on a shaky and indefensible legal footing -- giving ultimate control over the Internet to a small handful of carriers.

The reality is that reform is just a rhetorical front for industry compromises that reward the biggest players and K-Street lobbyists while giving the public nothing.