Legislation and Regulation

Why media and journalism scholars support network neutrality

Bill Herman, Save the Internet

Academic associations tend to be politically conservative.

I don't mean that they revere Ronald Reagan and Milton Friedman, though plenty of scholars do. Rather, each group – representing a field's professors and graduate students – tends to evade controversy, rarely taking a public stance on an issue that might divide the membership.

Thus, it is remarkable that the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) has declared its support for Network Neutrality.

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Rep. Edwards urges peers to sign net neutrality petition

Broadband Breakfast

Democratic Rep. Donna Edwards of Maryland sent a letter to her colleagues on Wednesday urging them to sign a petition supporting the principles of network neutrality.

“The rulemaking process is an unprecedented opportunity to protect and promote consumer choice, competition, and innovation on the Internet,” she wrote to her peers, adding that without the “open flow of information on the Internet much of the progress in the 20th and 21st centuries would never have taken place.”

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New FCC commish challenges minority groups on net neutrality

Matt Lasar, Ars Technica

The Federal Communications Commission's newest Democrat, Mignon Clyburn, had some interesting comments to make about net neutrality on Friday at the Minority Media and Telecommunications Council's Social Justice summit. They came as the rush to stop the FCC from implementing its proposed Internet non-discrimination rules is in full force. And leading the charge are groups that, ironically, say they're opposed to discrimination, among them the MMTC.

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Verizon's new role as copyright enforcer

Jon Healey, LA Times

CNet's News.com reported today that Verizon Communications, one of the country's largest providers of broadband Internet access, has started cutting off the accounts of people accused of repeatedly infringing copyrights. The company says it doesn't monitor what its customers are doing on their DSL or fiber-optic connections; it leaves the job of detecting infringements to the MPAA, RIAA and other copyright holders. Instead, when it receives a notice from a copyright holder about an alleged infringement linked to one of its lines, it sends a notice to the account holder identifying the work(s) at issue and warning, "You are legally responsible for all activity originating from your account."

A Verizon spokeswoman told News.com that few accounts have been terminated as a result of repeated accusations of infringement. A single warning letter has been enough to stop the complaints about the vast majority of lines, she said. And that's a good thing -- it's hard to defend garden-variety file-sharing, particularly when there's plenty of authorized content available free online. Verizon also insists that it doesn't tell copyright holders the names of the people it sends warning letters to, in keeping with its privacy policies.

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The Conservative case for net neutrality

Bill Snyder, InfoWorld

Hey there, conservatives: Net neutrality is your issue, too.

Innovation, economic growth, and the health of content providers are what's at stake as the FCC moves toward a new set of rules governing the Internet. Until now, much of the discussion about the future of the Internet has focused on issues like freedom of expression, fairness, and metered pricing -- real concerns, to be sure. But a pair of academic research papers circulated by the Open Internet Coalition puts the issue in economic perspective.

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FCC to study future of media

Katy Bachman, Media Week

In what could turn out to be a tall order, the Federal Communications Commission Thursday (Jan. 21) launched an initiative to examine the future of media and the information needs of communities in the digital age. Steven Waldman, who recently joined the FCC as a senior advisor to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, will lead the effort, which will culminate in a report later this year.

The FCC intends for the report to serve as the basis for policy recommendations for the commission and other government entities.

Topics under consideration for the report include the state of TV, radio, newspaper and Internet news and information services; the effectiveness and nature of public interest obligations in a digital era; and the role of public media and private sector foundations, among others.


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Low income, rural, Native American, African American and Latino communities call for an open Internet


In an historic day for the Federal Communications Commission and the Internet, the Media Action Grassroots Network, ColorofChange.org, Presente.org, Applied Research Center, Afro-Netizen, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Native Public Media and Rural Broadband Policy Group submitted a range of grassroots stories and comments from urban, rural and struggling sub-urban communities in response to the Commission's notice of proposed rule making "In the Matter of Preserving the Open Internet and Broadband Industry Practices."

The groups' comments speak to the urgent need for an open and free Internet for low to no income, rural, Native American, African American and Latino communities.

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Why the Kankakee County Farm Bureau hates net neutrality

Nate Anderson, Ars Technica

The Kankakee County Farm Bureau wants to stop net neutrality. So does the Erie Neighborhood House, along with Downtown Springfield Inc, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Will and Grundy Counties, and the mayor of North Chicago.

The organizations all share several things: they are located in Illinois, they want the FCC to focus on broadband adoption rather than net neutrality, and... they all have connections to AT&T.

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Federal agencies announce next round of broadband stimulus guidelines

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

The Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and USDA’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS) today announced availability of $4.8 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants and loans to expand broadband access and adoption in America. This is the second funding round for the agencies’ broadband programs. The investment will help bridge the technological divide, boost economic growth, and create jobs.

NTIA and RUS also announced the rules for applying in this funding round, which have been modified to make the application process easier for applicants and better target program resources.

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Hispanic groups take sides in net neutrality debate

Erick Galindo, Hispanic Link News Service

High-stakes political maneuvering is dragging Hispanic advocacy groups here deeper into battle over the future of the Internet.

As the Federal Communications Commission moves ahead with plans to create a set of rules designed to block online monopolies from forming, supportive consumer protection organizations are pressing ethnic advocacy and civil rights groups, including the Urban League, One Economy and National Council of La Raza, to speak out in support of network neutrality.

Some, such as the NAACP, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and the Hispanic Technology & Telecommunications Partnership, are following the lead of telecommunication giants Verizon, AT&T and Comcast. Others are avoiding taking a position opposing the trio. Still others, including the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and non-white media groups, are lining up with consumer protection groups and Web giant Google.

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