Sen. Elizabeth Warren urged the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday to enact strong net-neutrality rules to ensure that all websites receive equal service.
“Reports that the FCC may gut net neutrality are disturbing, and would be just one more way the playing field is tilted for the rich and powerful who have already made it,” the Massachusetts Democrat wrote in a Facebook post.
“Our regulators already have all the tools they need to protect a free and open Internet — where a handful of companies cannot block or filter or charge access fees for what we do online. They should stand up and use them.”
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler plans to advance net-neutrality regulations that would allow Internet service providers to charge websites for faster service as long as the arrangements are “commercially reasonable.” The rules would bar ISPs from blocking any websites or degrading service.
Wheeler defended his proposal in a speech Wednesday before a conference of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, a lobbying group that includes Comcast, Charter, and other broadband providers.
“Reports that we are gutting the Open Internet rules are incorrect,” Wheeler said to the audience of cable and broadband executives. “I am here to say, ‘Wait a minute. Put away the party hats. The Open Internet rules will be tough, enforceable, and, with the concurrence of my colleagues, in place with dispatch.’ “
The FCC chairman is trying to rework the rules in a way that will survive legal challenges after a federal Appeals Court struck down the old, stronger rules in January.
In his speech, Wheeler said his goal is to “encourage broadband providers to continually upgrade service to all.”
“We will not allow some companies to force Internet users into a slow lane so that others with special privileges can have superior service,” Wheeler said.
He also warned that he will “not hesitate” to reclassify broadband Internet as a Title II “telecommunications service,” which would dramatically expand his agency’s power to regulate it. Liberal advocacy groups have been urging Wheeler to reclassify broadband and reinstate strong net-neutrality rules that ban Internet “fast lanes.”
“If someone acts to divide the Internet between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots,’ we will use every power at our disposal to stop it,” Wheeler said.
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Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.