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Taking a closer look at the FCC's Net Neutrality Rules.
Yesterday, Michael wrote about the importance of net neutrality, and what's at stake in the court case that will be argued next Monday. Today, I'd like to take a closer look at the source of the court case that's going to be argued next Monday: the FCC's net neutrality rules that Verizon is suing to overturn.
In the wake of next week's oral argument about the FCC’s Open Internet rules, we revisit Net Neutrality and why is it important. We've also put together this timeline on the history of net neutrality.
Net neutrality is going to be back in the news for the next week or so. That’s because next week will feature an oral argument about the FCC’s Open Internet rules (that’s the FCC’s name for its net neutrality rules) before the DC Circuit Court. Since it has been a little while since the last big net neutrality news, we wanted to take a moment to bring everyone back up to speed. Today’s post will remind you what net neutrality is and why it is a good idea. Tomorrow we’ll discuss the FCC’s actual implementation of net neutrality through its Open Internet order. And on Thursday we will go over the issue actually being argued before the DC Circuit – if the FCC even has the authority to implement rules in the first place.
What is Net Neutrality Again?
Contrary to how it is sometimes used, net neutrality is not synonymous with “something bad happening on the internet.” It actually refers to something fairly specific. Simply put, net neutrality is the principle that the company that connects you to the internet does not get to control what you do on the internet. We’ve created a website – WhatIsNetNeutrality.org – to help people remember that. And if you prefer your explanations in video form, give this a spin.
After disasters, the FCC and the American people must decide not just whether to rebuild, but also how to rebuild.
August 29 will be the 8th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, a storm that left a level of devastation and death in the Gulf Coast that horrified our nation. Soon after the storm in 2005 there was an open debate about whether it was smart to rebuild in cities such as New Orleans, where the cost to build back the city’s defenses against future storms was great due to the natural terrain and the level of technology needed to do the job. Residents had to choose if they would return to their homes and invest in making their communities whole again, or simply start over in a new town where the prospects where better.
This decision is not unlike what communities faced following the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy along the New York and New Jersey coast in 2012. In both instances, residents decided that their community was “stronger than the storm” and that they would restore their communities back to a place that worked for all its people and businesses.
All of the innovation in the world does not change the fact that cable companies have the power to cap their online video rivals.
Time Warner Cable recently announced that it's cable TV subscribers can download an app onto their Xbox360 consoles. The app gives them access to a wide range of cable content through their Xbox360. But for the fact that Time Warner Cable also imposes data caps on its subscribers, this would be fantastic news.
It is great to see companies like Time Warner Cable (TWC) trying out new things. And we have pushed the FCC for years to update its rules to make it easier for all cable subscribers (and, for that matter, all other pay TV subscribers) to access the content they pay for on the devices of their choosing. So why can't we celebrate TWC's announcement? Because as the internet offers more ways for competitors to reach consumers, the way that cable companies treat the internet begins to matter more.
In the past Congress has granted certain organizations, such as the Boy Scouts of America and the Olympics special treatment when it comes to the use of names and logos. But with today's trademark laws, isn't it time to revisit the use of the law?
About a year ago, Samantha Matalong Cook and a number of her friends decided to start an organization that would teach their kids how to make, build, and hack various types of technology. They called the group "Hacker Scouts," and as they got underway, they started getting interest from thousands of parents around the country, all interested in joining or starting local chapters of their own. Soon, the Hacker Scouts applied for a trademark in their name. And since you've read the title of this post, you know where this is going.
Carriers proposing phone network transition pilot programs must explain to the Federal Communications Commission and the public how they'd like to run a trial in meaningful detail before we can even begin to consider their ideas.
Last week we talked about some key consumer protections that must be included in the FCC's pilot programs to test-run specific aspects of the phone network transition. In addition to proposing certain pilot programs itself, the FCC used its Public Notice to ask any carriers and other stakeholders that want to see other types of pilot programs submit detailed plans explaining exactly what those trials would entail.
In part, this seemed like a response to AT&T, which has been asking the FCC to let it run trials since last November but has yet to give any meaningful details about what these trials would actually look like, what information they would give us, and how they would be conducted.
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