Net Neutrality Support

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Policy


There has been no shortage of outrage on the Internets about the FCC’s recent net neutrality proposal, which would allow broadband providers to offer fast-lane service to content companies. But do most people really care?

A recent study by the Pew Research Center suggested that most Americans have no idea what net neutrality is or what all the fuss is about, since network and cable news shows have mostly ignored the debate.

According to Pew researchers, of the 2,820 news programs that aired on eight network and cable news channels from January thru May 12, just 25 programs mentioned the term net neutrality. Six of those programs were on Al Jazeera America which is, shall we say, thinly viewed.

Pew net neutrality study

Pew Research Center

Net neutrality is the idea that broadband providers shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate against legal Internet traffic and block websites or apps. Debate around the issue has been confusing for many, since it involves both complicated network management issues and administrative law practices.

Major news organizations haven’t polled Americans on net neutrality so it’s hard to say how many people understand what it is or how much popular support new rules might have.

Net neutrality advocates have been waging successful online campaigns to flood the FCC and Congress with thousands of emails and phone calls to complain about the fast-lane net neutrality proposal.

There doesn’t seem to be much outrage directed at the White House, which has carefully tried to stay on the sidelines of the net neutrality debate, despite President Obama’s statements in the past that he supports it.

Five petitions have been filed with the White House so far that address the issue of net neutrality in some way. None has received enough signatures to warrant a White House response.

(White House officials only promise to respond to petitions that receive 100,000 signatures within 30 days. Even then, they may not respond very promptly.)

One petition, which asks the White House to “maintain true net neutrality to protect the freedom of information in the U.S.” had almost 76,000 signatures Thursday afternoon with two days to go.

White House NN Petition

WhiteHouse.gov

A separate petition (with 4,226 signatures) asked the Obama administration to “prevent the FCC from ruining the Internet” while another asked them to “reclassify Internet providers as common carriers.” (16,867 signatures).

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler will no doubt be happy to learn that two petitions asking the White House to remove him are nowhere close to getting enough signatures (8,091 and 6,860, respectively).

Earlier this year, before Wheeler announced his fast-lane proposal, the administration officials did respond to a net neutrality petition, which asked the White House to “Restore Net Neutrality by Directing the FCC to Classify Internet Providers as Common Carriers.”

“The petition asked that the President direct the FCC to reclassify Internet service providers as ‘common carriers’ which, if upheld, would give the FCC a distinct set of regulatory tools to promote net neutrality,” wrote Gene Sperling, then-director at the White House’s National Economic Council. ”The FCC is an independent agency. Chairman Wheeler has publicly pledged to use the full authority granted by Congress to maintain a robust, free and open Internet — a principle that this White House vigorously supports.”



5 comments
JMWJMW
JMWJMW

zero PUBLIC interest, regardless of the current definition.  Note the "consistent" comments in this forum.  Were the same people living more than 100 years ago, they would have been touting the insights they gain from phrenology (determining someone's psyche by feeling the shape of the head and the lumps thereon.)

Truthwhip
Truthwhip

Doing away with internet neutrality will make for far less effective activism overall, and far less ability to organize and mobilize people around the outrages our government means to perpetrate on the people. It means to thwarting people's ability to gather information, and thwart the ability of informed people to gain power through activism is exactly what the 1% wants. Apparently it seems, they're once again going to get exactly what they want.

Basically it gets back to the fact that most Americans are either not very bright, or have already been owned, or bought out.

fgoodwin
fgoodwin

There are many things that affect me (and maybe you, too) directly, but I can't be an expert in all of them: issues related to water quality, air quality, highway traffic congestion and pollution, automotive safety issues, the high cost of healthcare, how my taxes are being spent, what it takes to fix a pothole, why college costs so much, why is gas so high, food safety issues especially in restaurants, why is unemployment so high, etc.


We simply cannot be experts in EVERYTHING that affects us, even those things that impact our health and safety directly. There simply aren't enough hours in the day.

But, you say, people SHOULD be interested in NN because it's IMPORTANT! Well, your priorities are not my priorities. Maybe I focus on big pharma issues because I'm old and take a lot of meds. To me (hypothetically), prescription medication costs and issues related to that are far more important.

The fact is, everyone has a pet topic that they feel TV and the media don't cover well enough (or accurately enough when they do bother to cover it). Tech types live and die with this stuff, but the simple truth is, TV lives to deliver eyeballs to advertisers. Why would they focus on a story that barely a fraction of the population cares about? Just because WE care about it doesn't mean everyone does or even should.

sogoodnobody2014
sogoodnobody2014

So what would I say to the FCC. I would say regulate certain lines as utilities based on their context of use. Do write a set of rules that gets to the fine print on context, let's manage the context of Internet communications because it does matter.

sogoodnobody2014
sogoodnobody2014

You could make the case for Internet browsing as a utility because the telephone communication is thoroughly necessary for your day to day life.......You really can't argue downloading and Internet services as utilities because you can thoroughly survive without videos and services..........However you can take video conferencing and say that's telephone and essential...I don't think you can say Joe deserves a faster telephone than Bob because you might use it for emergency services. What you really have is a subset within a bigger set......it really isn't simple and multiple classes of communication need a uniform standard.... somebody clever is trying to intertwine  thoroughly different birds to further their own ends........to that end Net Neutrality has to get to the small print because too many people have missed the point and the first definition of Net Neutrality is only holding back Internet users from enjoying crisp,live video of a high standard from multiple parties at a price. We should be thankful we might expect free browsing. We could work out free TV on the Internet if we are willing to make it a matter of public policy and let taxpayers finance Internet line upgrades themselves. I don't think that happens, I do think you charge a fee for TV and make sure they don't run off with all the proceeds because we've been there before. I don't think you let people make quicker video conference calls than others for the same telephone argument. So maybe you certainly do regulate Internet TV. In the end you really do need rules for everything but you need to get to the small print and make it uniform unequivocally. We have to go a step further and get down to cause and effect because differing Internet speeds can actually serve as more of an equalizer than a separator. It's a paradox that people see it in exactly the opposite way. The technical details are frankly complicated, the public needs to work on trust. It is clear to me that Net Neutrality enables more winners and losers than a thorough policy based on end results equality tests.

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