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The Issue of Net Neutrality

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I am posting this as I feel it is an important issue. You may not have heard of it or simply not really know what it is about. Briefly, the Net Neutrality rules state that High-speed Internet is a utility that all Americans have equal right too. My Internet has to be the same speed as yours. If this is removed, it will mean, for example, that my ISP could charge services for speed. You may watch Netflix at high-speed because they paid for it and Hulu did not so it keeps buffering and snagging etc. Another form of this is poor people get slow speed internet (remember that from the 80's?) while rich people can afford high-speed Internet. The claim is that it will make new jobs, but how often is that the fact? The truth is the ISP and others stand to make lots of money serving the richer and the poorer will get a poorer internet experience.

This is coming to a vote soon. Trump wants it gone and it is an Obama legacy. Whether it is to wipe away another Obama legacy, or to increase the wealth of his big business buddies or if Trump really believes it will make new jobs, I do not believe it to be a win for the people and most people do not seem to believe so either. The Internet is now a human right and all should have equal access to it in my opinion. I cannot support ending Net Neutrality anymore than I could support censorship like the Great Firewall of China.

If you are an American, read these and do your own investigation and then if you agree, sign a petition or call/write your congressional and house representatives and let them know you do not agree. The vote is before the Holidays.

Investigate it yourself and make an informed decision as to if you think it will benefit the people. Just please do it soon.

Edited by LSW
Added Burger King
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This is a keynote speech sponsored by "New America" and makes some very good points. He goes into the history of why these rules were created. How ISPs blocked start-up companies like Facebook and google and the like because the ISP were working on their own services or were partnered with others who were creating services and so all competition was blocked.

For those of you not in the US, this is still important, because you may have such issues in your countries or such laws to stop such actions. If we lose our rights, that could be used by your ISPs to argue for changes in other countries.

Total Eclipse of the Net: The End of Net Neutrality? - New America

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released a draft of its controversial Order that would repeal the 2015 Open Internet Order. These rules prohibit internet service providers from blocking or throttling websites, and from using their gatekeeper power to extort payments from online companies for faster connections to their customers, a practice known as “paid prioritization.” The rules ensure the internet remains an open platform to enable Americans to engage in online commerce, access services crucial to their work, education, entertainment, healthcare, and organize and engage politically.

 

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Well, as I feared, it is official. Net Neutrality has been repealed in the US.

ISPs are now free to play Netflix fast and Hulu slow if one pays more. They can block new technologies from wide usage if they feel they or a partner is working on another competing technology. They can block you from accessing any sites they may not agree with so no more planned Parenthood info if the ISP is owned by Pro-life businessmen or maybe or pro-drugwar ISPs can block web access to marijuana shops in states where it is legal. Of course you can always vote with your wallet, drop your ISP and access a new one you trust or offers what you want... if you are lucky. But those of you in Rural areas may not have another choice. Our Internet access came down to two companies, so we went with the one that we did not hate, but the one we hated bought the smaller one so now they are the only choice in town and they can now control what I have access too.

If you think it is not a big deal, remember there was a time when Facebook was a startup and we had no neutrality law and a certain major player ISP banned Facebook from their services as it was competing with some idea of their own. Facebook may never have come into existence without the neutrality laws. So what new technology or service will we never have now because of the whims of big business?

But more than a few groups are swearing the fight is not over yet.

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Good news on the Net Neutrality Issue, the Senate has voted to repeal Pi's decision. But it is not over yet, although the Senate voted to repeal it, the House of Representatives has not yet and the timer to do so is ticking down.

For those of you who really care, pop off another letter or phone call to your representative and let them know a vote must take place and what you expect that vote to be, they are supposed to represent us and not big business.

As for the Senate... the vote was 52 to 47, we won the vote, but only be 5 votes which I find to be a sorry margin indeed. But hey, horse shoes and hand grenades...

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If it does not get overturned at least there is the promise of 5G. If blockchain tech creates a new distributed internet, we won't need centralized ISPs, is this accurate? 

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Possibly a good example of the loss of Net Neutrality for those of you still not really following along with what it means.I think it is, but Verizon's claim is not without merrit, I just don't buy it myself.

Fire dept. rejects Verizon’s “customer support mistake” excuse for throttling

County disputes Verizon claim that throttling "has nothing to do with net neutrality."

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/08/fire-dept-rejects-verizons-customer-support-mistake-excuse-for-throttling/

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A fire department whose data was throttled by Verizon Wireless while it was fighting California's largest-ever wildfire has rejected Verizon's claim that the throttling was just a customer service error and "has nothing to do with net neutrality." The throttling "has everything to do with net neutrality," a Santa Clara County official said.

Verizon yesterday acknowledged that it shouldn't have continued throttling Santa Clara County Fire Department's "unlimited" data service while the department was battling the Mendocino Complex Fire. Verizon said the department had chosen an unlimited data plan that gets throttled to speeds of 200kbps or 600kbps after using 25GB a month but that Verizon failed to follow its policy of "remov[ing] data speed restrictions when contacted in emergency situations."

"This was a customer support mistake" and not a net neutrality issue, Verizon said.

 

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Vermont’s Net Neutrality Law Spurs Lawsuits

https://www.meritalk.com/articles/vermonts-net-neutrality-law-spurs-lawsuits/

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Five telecommunication industry groups–American Cable Association; CTIA – The Wireless Association; NCTA – The Internet & Television Association; USTelecom – The Broadband Association and the New England Cable & Telecommunications Association–filed suit against the state of Vermont on Thursday over the state’s net neutrality law. The law in question seeks to prevent companies that do not abide by the state’s net neutrality rules from receiving state contracts.

The industry groups allege that Vermont’s net neutrality law, which harkens back to Obama-era net neutrality policies, violates current Federal law and that companies cannot be expected to navigate competing state laws.

“Broadband providers are united in support of an open internet and committed to delivering the content and services consumers demand,” the groups said in a joint statement. “We oppose the actions in Vermont because states cannot use their spending and procurement authority to bypass federal laws they do not like.”

In May, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, signed a bill requiring all internet service providers doing business with Vermont to treat all web traffic equally. Earlier in the year, he signed a similar Executive Order.

 

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Supreme Court Won’t Hear Industry Challenge to Net Neutrality Rules

(November 5, 2018)
 The US Supreme Court has declined to hear a challenge of net neutrality rules brought by the broadband industry. The current federal Communications Commission (FCC) under Ajit Pai has already reversed net neutrality rules set by the FCC in 2015. The companies nevertheless sought to have the case heard, possibly to prevent future administrations from imposing similar rules. The issue of net neutrality could still potentially make it to the Supreme Court in another case. The FCC is defending its decision to repeal the rules in a case brought by 22 state attorneys general, tech companies, consumer advocacy groups and other litigants. In addition, California’s recently passed state-wide net neutrality law is being challenged by the current administration and the broadband industry.
 

Read more in:
- arstechnica.com
: Supreme Court rejects industry challenge of 2015 net neutrality rules

 

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SCOTUS Says Net Neutrality Won’t Get Its Day in Court

https://www.meritalk.com/articles/scotus-says-net-neutrality-wont-get-its-day-in-court/

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Though SCOTUS’ decision is a win for net neutrality proponents, the Obama-era rules were gutted by FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai in Dec. 2017. Regardless, net neutrality supporters were encouraged by the Court’s decision.

“We’re grateful that a majority of the justices saw through the flimsy arguments made by AT&T and Comcast lobbyists,” Matt Wood, the policy director at Free Press, said in a statement. “The ISPs went all out to push FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to repeal the agency’s Net Neutrality rules–and then ran to the Supreme Court looking for a do-over on earlier cases that rightly upheld those rules.”

 

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