MAJOR UPDATE FROM SENATOR
This was posted on the net @ 11:36PM 12/23/2010
U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison
December 23, 2010 | Comment on this blog entry
The Internet has grown and flourished for more than 20 years without burdensome federal regulations. Absent government roadblocks that could hold up progress, the Internet has been able to evolve and rapidly advance as technology develops. Along with it, business development and job creation, spurred by web-based innovation, have been strengthened by a free market-oriented environment. Unfortunately, this could soon change because of new Internet regulations issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a three-to-two party line vote on December 21, 2010.
The new rules represent an unprecedented power-grab by the unelected members of the FCC, to whom Congress has delegated very limited authority to act in the area of broadband services. This unaccountable group of regulators is creating authority to intervene in an area that represents one-sixth of the nation's economy. The move installs a government arbiter to force their idea of how the Internet should be run on users and the companies that are trying to make broadband access available to Americans throughout the nation.
The public is largely happy with the way the Internet currently works â€“ as a private resource. The FCC action is a solution in search of a problem.
The FCCâ€™s proposed regulations are particularly concerning because they would impose new directives onto communications companies that will stifle the Internetâ€™s well-known and successful spirit of innovation. Heavy-handed regulations threaten investment in broadband Internet services, which could place valuable American jobs at risk. And any downturn in investment will limit the next evolution of this technology. Businesses would be less likely to build out advanced next generation wireless broadband networks or to bring high-speed Internet services to rural communities because they cannot be certain their investments would be successful.
Investment could further languish because businesses will constantly fear violating vague and fluctuating Internet regulations. One of those murky rules under the FCCâ€™s new regulations states that providers may not â€œunreasonably discriminateâ€ against lawful internet traffic.
On its face, that sounds like a laudable goal â€“ but, as with most government regulations, the devil is in the details. The term is ambiguously defined in the order, and how the FCC interprets and enforces what is â€œreasonableâ€ will determine how limiting this restriction is.
The â€œunreasonable discriminationâ€ order would in effect establish that the FCC would have an approval portal that companies must pass through just to manage their day-to-day operations. For instance, if a provider notices that a small number of users are sharing huge file dumps that are leading to congestion on the network, it should have the right to slow down those connections in order to relieve the congestion for the vast majority of users.
But under the FCCâ€™s new regulations, unelected government regulators could determine that such an action is â€œunreasonable.â€ By diminishing companiesâ€™ flexibility in managing their own networks, the regulation could also undermine Internet providersâ€™ ability to guarantee subscribers high quality service.
The FCCâ€™s primary argument for these new rules is to ensure that Internet customers are not blocked by service providers from viewing or sending lawful content of their choice. Again, on the surface, this seems perfectly reasonable. However, this is already the reality of todayâ€™s open Internet environment. Broadband providers currently support consumers accessing the content of their choice and using devices and applications they desire. This is because the free market system has worked. Burdensome government meddling is not needed.
The FCC has not provided any evidence to justify this regulatory overreach. In fact, the Internet has developed and thrived precisely because it has not been weighed down with oppressive government regulations. We must preserve the openness of the Internet as a platform for innovation and economic growth without a preemptive regulatory intervention by the government. Government regulation of the Internet is in not in anyoneâ€™s interest. Fighting this overreach will be one of my top priorities in the coming year. I will work to halt these regulatory burdens and explore other efforts to reform the FCC in the 112th Congress.
(i honestly cant believe they are moving this fast, people really better figure out whats going on..... A msg to the mods, you should post a sticky about this, as this will effect us all. They are talking about running traffic though portals?...... and slowing large file transfers on the web... to prevent congestion..... Why does congestion matter, the internet is 1000x better than it was on dial up.....
If people dont try to stop this iam going to really be pissed off at everyone.... not to mention the chair of the FCC is recommending ISPs to charge for extra data usage...
I wonder how they will handle oversees file transfers?
ENJOY YOUR NEW CHRISTMAS PRESENT!
This wont take long to implement either because it has no legislative process to go though.
12/23/2010 @ 12:36PM
The Comcast-NBC Universal (NYSE: GE) merger wonâ€™t close in 2010 but the regulatory process got a boost today from FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, when his draft order approving the deal was circulated to FCC commissioners. That should position the deal for an FCC vote early next year, with a possible closing by the end of January. The draft includes several conditions to ensure that the video market stays competitive.
In a news conference this morning, FCC officials wouldnâ€™t disclose exactly what those conditions are, but said they generally relate to making sure that Comcastâ€™s competitors can still get fair access to NBCU programming after this deal goes through. That may not assuage critics who are concerned about content access for Comcastâ€™s ISP customers, but the net neutrality rules the FCC just passed are intended to cover distribution.
By sending out the draft order with a conditional recommendation, Genachowski is also putting his weight behind the merger, which means working with his fellow commissioners and also supporting it with Congress. The FCCâ€™s next open meeting is Jan. 25.
The other key body when it comes to regulatory approval is the Justice Department, which is currently reviewing the merger. The DOJ generally looks at corporate mergers to make sure they comply with antitrust laws. Justice officials havenâ€™t commented on the status of their review. Usually, DOJ issues its verdict on a proposed deal before the FCC.
Public interest groups, competitors, and some politicians have been vocal critics of the proposed merger of the U.S.â€˜s largest cable operator with one of its top media companies from day one and are unlikely to be happy with any answer other than a firm â€œno.â€ They will continue to press hard for the most stringent conditions possible and to lobby publicly against the merger.
In a post on the companyâ€™s corporate blog, Comcast (NSDQ: CMCSA) Executive VP David Cohen wrote that the company is â€œgratifiedâ€ by Genachowskiâ€™s proposed order, and noted that the proposed merger has had â€œone of the longest public comment periods in transaction review history,â€ with the filing of thousands of public comments. â€œStarting on the day of the dealâ€™s announcement, we have emphasized that this transaction is pro-competitive, pro-consumer, and will deliver real public interest benefits.â€Edited by finalturismo - 12/23/10 at 12:12pm