Franken: New FCC Rules Would ‘Destroy’ Open Internet

Senator blasts FCC chair for “fast lanes” in net-neutrality proposal.

Al Franken  at Senate Judiciary privacy subcommittee- top reps from Google and Apple as well as admin officials and industry leaders are set to testify on mobile-phone tracking on May 10, 2011.
National Journal
Laura Ryan
See more stories about...
Laura Ryan
April 29, 2014, 2:13 p.m.

The Fed­er­al Com­mu­nic­a­tions Com­mis­sion’s re­cent pro­pos­al to al­low In­ter­net ser­vice pro­viders to charge web­sites for faster ser­vice is an “af­front” to the open In­ter­net, Sen. Al Franken said Tues­day.

The Min­nesota Demo­crat sent FCC Chair­man Tom Wheel­er a let­ter blast­ing the net-neut­ral­ity reg­u­la­tions he in­tro­duced last week, say­ing the “fast lanes” un­der­mine the core prin­ciples of net neut­ral­ity: open­ness and com­pet­i­tion.

“Sanc­tion­ing pay-to-play ar­range­ments would not pre­serve the Open In­ter­net — it would des­troy it,” wrote Franken, who is an out­spoken sup­port­er of net neut­ral­ity.

Such an ar­range­ment would give “deep-pock­eted” com­pan­ies, such as Net­flix or Face­book, an un­fair ad­vant­age over small com­pan­ies that would not be able to pay for faster ser­vice, he wrote.

“This pro­pos­al would cre­ate an on­line ‘fast lane’ for the highest bid­der — shut­ting out small busi­nesses and in­creas­ing costs for con­sumers,” Franken wrote.

Franken’s words echo the sen­ti­ments of many con­sumer-ad­vocacy groups and lib­er­al law­makers, who have slammed the pro­posed reg­u­la­tions since they were in­tro­duced last week.

But Wheel­er denies that his pro­posed rules would “gut” net neut­ral­ity, and he has prom­ised to pur­sue stronger rules if these ones fall short.

“I be­lieve this pro­cess will put us on track to have tough, en­force­able Open In­ter­net rules on the books in an ex­ped­i­tious man­ner, end­ing a dec­ade of un­cer­tainty and lit­ig­a­tion,” Wheel­er wrote in a blog post Tues­day.

The FCC first ad­op­ted net-neut­ral­ity rules in 2010, but a fed­er­al court struck them down in Janu­ary. The ori­gin­al rules for­bade In­ter­net pro­viders from block­ing web­sites or dis­crim­in­at­ing against In­ter­net traffic. Wheel­er’s new pro­pos­al would still ban block­ing, but would per­mit In­ter­net pro­viders to charge for faster speeds, as long as the ar­range­ments are “com­mer­cially reas­on­able.”

The FCC’s five com­mis­sion­ers will vote to ad­vance the pro­pos­al at the next open com­mis­sion meet­ing on May 15. The com­mis­sion will ac­cept pub­lic com­ments on the new pro­pos­al be­fore it is fi­nal­ized. 

What We're Following See More »
TAKING A LONG VIEW TO SOUTHERN STATES
In Dropout Speech, Santorum Endorses Rubio
3 days ago
THE DETAILS

As expected after earlier reports on Wednesday, Rick Santorum ended his presidential bid. But less expected: he threw his support to Marco Rubio. After noting he spoke with Rubio the day before for an hour, he said, “Someone who has a real understanding of the threat of ISIS, real understanding of the threat of fundamentalist Islam, and has experience, one of the things I wanted was someone who has experience in this area, and that’s why we decided to support Marco Rubio.” It doesn’t figure to help Rubio much in New Hampshire, but the Santorum nod could pay dividends down the road in southern states.

Source:
‘PITTING PEOPLE AGAINST EACH OTHER’
Rubio, Trump Question Obama’s Mosque Visit
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

President Obama’s decision to visit a mosque in Baltimore today was never going to be completely uncontroversial. And Donald Trump and Marco Rubio proved it. “Maybe he feels comfortable there,” Trump told interviewer Greta van Susteren on Fox News. “There are a lot of places he can go, and he chose a mosque.” And in New Hampshire, Rubio said of Obama, “Always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today – he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims.”

Source:
THE TIME IS NOW, TED
Cruz Must Max Out on Evangelical Support through Early March
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

For Ted Cruz, a strong showing in New Hampshire would be nice, but not necessary. That’s because evangelical voters only make up 21% of the Granite State’s population. “But from the February 20 South Carolina primary through March 15, there are nine states (South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Kentucky, Mississippi, and North Carolina) with an estimated white-Evangelical percentage of the GOP electorate over 60 percent, and another four (Texas, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri) that come in over 50 percent.” But after that, he better be in the catbird’s seat, because only four smaller states remain with evangelical voter majorities.

Source:
CHRISTIE, BUSH TRYING TO TAKE HIM DOWN
Rubio Now Winning the ‘Endorsement Primary’
3 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Since his strong third-place finish in Iowa, Marco Rubio has won endorsement by two sitting senators and two congressmen, putting him in the lead for the first time of FiveThirtyEight‘s Endorsement Tracker. “Some politicians had put early support behind Jeb Bush — he had led [their] list since August — but since January the only new endorsement he has received was from former presidential candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that fueled by resentment, “members of the Bush and Christie campaigns have communicated about their mutual desire to halt … Rubio’s rise in the polls.”

Source:
7 REPUBLICANS ON STAGE
Carly Fiorina Will Not Be Allowed to Debate on Saturday
2 days ago
THE LATEST

ABC News has announced the criteria for Saturday’s Republican debate, and that means Carly Fiorina won’t be a part of it. The network is demanding candidates have “a top-three finish in Iowa, a top-six standing in an average of recent New Hampshire polls or a top-six placement in national polls in order for candidates to qualify.” And there will be no “happy hour” undercard debate this time. “So that means no Fiorina vs. Jim Gilmore showdown earlier in the evening for the most ardent of campaign 2016 junkies.

Source:
×