Legislation and Regulation

New unity on community radio translator debate; LPFM still 'troubling' to NPR

Todd Urick, Common Frequency

In a rare instance of unity, religious broadcast network Educational Media Foundation (EMF) and grassroots radio advocate Prometheus Radio Project have found common ground regarding the future of Low Power FM (LPFM) and translators. Over the past decade, Prometheus and EMF, the owner of the nationwide KLOVE/AIR 1 FM network, have held opposing views regarding the remaining available radio spectrum. Now for the first time, the organizations have come together on a mutually beneficial policy proposal, submitted to the FCC as a Memorandum of Agreement.

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Democratic Reps lay out "true Open Internet principles"

Office of Rep. Jay Inslee

This morning, Rep. Jay Inslee (WA-01), Rep. Ed Markey (MA-07), Rep. Anna Eshoo (CA-14), and Rep. Mike Doyle (PA-14), all members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, laid out a set of open internet principles in a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski. The letter addresses directly the recent policy proposal from Google and Verizon by laying out principles that would keep the internet open, implement the FCC s broadband plan to increase broadband access, and deny broadband service providers the ability to control consumer choice.

"Americans online experience shouldn't be dictated by corporate CEO's," said Rep. Inslee. "Innovation and creativity online have given rise to millions of jobs and tremendous economic growth, in large part because individual consumers have been free to access what they want. The principles we have set forth in this letter coincide with that fact. Net neutrality is not about imposing a new set of rules, net neutrality is about preserving the open Internet and empowering consumers and small businesses to bring the next generation of entrepreneurial drive to the world wide web."

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Public interest groups to FCC chair: Google/Verizon proposal fails; FCC must act

Media and Democracy Coalition

In a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, MDC member groups highlighted how a policy proposal from Google and Verizon fails to protect the Open Internet. The groups call on the Commission to act swiftly to oversee broadband and adopt strong Open Internet rules. You can download a PDF of the letter here.

Julius Genachowski
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th St SW
Washington, D.C. 20554

cc: Commissioner Michael Copps
Commissioner Robert McDowell
Commission Mignon Clyburn
Commissioner Meredith Attwell Baker

August 12, 2010

Dear Chairman Genachowski:

We would like to thank you for meeting with representatives of the public interest community last week and providing us with the opportunity to articulate a framework for broadband oversight and open Internet policy to which the undersigned organizations remain committed.

In light of this week’s announcement from Google and Verizon, we wish to highlight the ways in which the companies’ proposed policy fails to meet the framework we discussed, thus does not protect an open Internet.

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Why the FCC's net neutrality negotiations failed - and the opportunity that presents

Gigi Sohn, Public Knowledge

This summer has been one of the most exhausting in recent memory.  First, there has been a constant barrage of record heat and humidity.  Second, there is the continuing battle over whether and how to preserve the FCC’s authority to protect broadband consumers and ensure universal broadband access.  While the former is somewhat predictable for Washington, the latter has been like a soap opera, with lots of plot twists, make-ups and break-ups and nearly a few tears (of utter frustration).

The latest wrinkle came on Thursday, when FCC Chief of Staff Eddie Lazarus declared the end of the two month negotiations between AT&T, Verizon and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association on one side, and Google, the Internet telephony provider Skype and the Open Internet Coalition (an industry-public interest coalition of which PK is a member) on the other.  Lazarus said the talks have “been productive on several fronts, but has not generated a robust framework to preserve the openness and freedom of the Internet - one that drives innovation, investment, free speech, and consumer choice.” 

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Inslee hits Google/Verizon proposal, urges FCC action on open Internet

Office of Congressman Jay Inslee

This afternoon Congressman Jay Inslee (WA-01) released the following statement regarding the policy proposal released jointly by Google and Verizon on rules for access to the internet:

"This afternoon's announcement from Google and Verizon falls far short of the net neutrality principles necessary to protect consumers online. I m disappointed that such esteemed leaders would put forward a policy proposal that fails to protect the very foundation of the Internet s success open access for all. Many of us have been warning for a number of years that broadband service providers would begin to use a lack of net neutrality regulations to prioritize their increasingly diverse business offerings and content, thereby jeopardizing open internet access. Today's announcement is one more reason that the FCC must act to reclassify broadband and protect consumers online. The American people deserve nothing less than a free and open internet where ideas and innovation are allowed to flourish, and today s proposal has made it even clearer that we cannot rely on industry alone to do just that."

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Public interest groups want Genachowski to set deadline for clarifying broadband jurisdiction

New America Foundation

A coalition of public interest organizations presented their unified position to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and his senior staff on the Commission's Open Internet and Broadband Internet Service Framework proceedings. Amid reports of a deal between Verizon and Google to prioritize certain traffic on the Internet and the FCC announcing the end of closed-door meetings with the largest Internet companies and Internet Service Providers, the proposed framework comes at a critically important time. At the meeting the coalition stressed the importance of setting a firm deadline for the FCC to clarify its jurisdiction over broadband service as well a necessary framework for enforcing meaningful Open Internet rules.

The unified position public interest groups laid out to FCC Chairman Genachowski this week parallels strong support from Congressional leadership and the White House calling for immediate action to preserve an open Internet," stated Sascha Meinrath, Director of the New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative. "Non-discrimination and consumer protections are critically important for innovation and Chairman Genachowski has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to ensure that our 21st Century economy is built upon a sound foundation."

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The People prevail: FCC calls off closed-door meetings on net neutrality

Megan Tady, Save the Internet

You called, you emailed and you signaled your outrage as the Federal Communications Commission continued to meet behind closed doors with Internet companies, and Google and Verizon hatched a side plan on how to manage the Internet.

And then, you prevailed. Amidst a tidal wave of public pressure, FCC Chief of Staff Edward Lazarus called off closed-door negotiations with major ISPs and Internet companies, pledging “to seek broad input on this vital issue.”

Free Press, SavetheInternet.com and CREDO helped generate more than 2,000 phone calls to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s office over the last 24 hours. You called to complain about the FCC’s lack of transparency and urged the agency to put the public interest first in any negotiations over the fate of the Internet.

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Inslee to FCC: act fast to protect open Internet

Office of Congressman Jay Inslee

This week Congressman Jay Inslee (WA-01) released the following statement regarding recent reports of discussions between Google and Verizon to create a tiered system of access for users:

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Just say no to fake net neutrality

Derek Turner, CNet

The debate in Washington over Net neutrality--the fundamental principle that keeps the Internet open and free from discrimination--is coming to a head. That means that the wheeling and dealing is under way, and consumers need to watch out.

There are currently closed-door meetings taking place between phone and cable behemoths, and the biggest Internet companies, to craft a "compromise" deal that could carve up the Internet for them and leave consumers and smaller competitors behind. If the fix is in, it won't be long before they launch a PR campaign presenting this scheme as some kind of middle ground far from the "radical fringe." But buyer beware: This could be fake Net neutrality.

Real Net neutrality is when phone and cable companies cannot pick winners and losers on the Internet. Real Net neutrality is when new innovators with good ideas have an equal chance at competing against Google and Yahoo because they don't have to pay ISPs for preferential treatment.

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Media democracy advocates disappointed in FCC decision to defend discredited media ownership rule

Free Press

The Federal Communications Commission filed a brief today with a U.S. appeals court defending the agency s 2007 decision under former Chairman Kevin Martin to weaken the Newspaper-Broadcast Cross-Ownership (NBCO) Rule.

The Martin NBCO Rule, which was adopted as part of the FCC s 2006 media ownership review, is marred by procedural irregularities, ambiguous provisions and loopholes -- all of which run counter to the rule s purpose: to protect local communities from media monopolies and to increase diversity in the marketplace of ideas. The watered-down rule allows media outlets to merge based on promises that the FCC cannot monitor or enforce.

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The media's job is to interest the public in the public interest. -John Dewey