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Net Neutrality

Chairman Pai Circulates Draft Order To Restore Internet Freedom And Eliminate Heavy-Handed Internet Regulations

Today, I have shared with my colleagues a draft order that would abandon this failed approach and return to the longstanding consensus that served consumers well for decades. Under my proposal, the federal government will stop micromanaging the Internet. Instead, the FCC would simply require Internet service providers to be transparent about their practices so that consumers can buy the service plan that’s best for them and entrepreneurs and other small businesses can have the technical information they need to innovate. Additionally, as a result of my proposal, the Federal Trade Commission will once again be able to police ISPs, protect consumers, and promote competition, just as it did before 2015. Notably, my proposal will put the federal government’s most experienced privacy cop, the FTC, back on the beat to protect consumers’ online privacy.

FCC to preempt state broadband laws

In addition to ditching its own network neutrality rules, the Federal Communications Commission also plans to tell state and local governments that they cannot impose local laws regulating broadband service. This detail was revealed by senior FCC officials in a phone briefing with reporters, and is a victory for broadband providers that asked for widespread preemption of state laws. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s proposed order finds that state and local laws must be preempted if they conflict with the US government’s policy of deregulating broadband Internet service, FCC officials said. The FCC will vote on the order at its December 14 meeting.

NY AG Open Letter to the FCC

[Commentary] For six months my office has been investigating who perpetrated a massive scheme to corrupt the FCC’s notice and comment process through the misuse of enormous numbers of real New Yorkers’ and other Americans’ identities. Such conduct likely violates state law — yet the FCC has refused multiple requests for crucial evidence in its sole possession that is vital to permit that law enforcement investigation to proceed.

via Medium

Chairmen Walden, Blackburn on the FCC’s Net Neutrality Announcement

Today’s announcement demonstrates that the FCC, under the leadership of Ajit Pai, understands the importance of making sure the internet continues to flourish under a light-touch regulatory regime. The past two years of heavy-handed regulation will be only a blip on the screen of a decades-long bipartisan equilibrium that successfully supported innovation and growth. We also remain committed to ensuring clear, permanent net neutrality rules through the legislative process, encouraging investment in broadband buildout, and closing the digital divide across America.

Rep Eshoo Statement on FCC Evisceration of Net Neutrality

Today, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai confirmed his long-term goal to unravel net neutrality protections, demonstrating that he is on the wrong side of history, startups, consumers and the public interest. As millions of Americans voice their support for a free and open internet, Chairman Pai’s proposal hands the internet over to the largest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who can throttle, assess a toll or block content. The net neutrality protections have advanced competition and innovation, created more startups and entrepreneurs, and have been judicially approved. Repealing these protections is an assault on what has made the internet what it is… an open and dynamic platform. This is not the end of a battle but the beginning of a new one that I will engage in to protect the open internet for my constituents and all Americans.

Statement of FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn on the Pre-Holiday News Dump

In just two days, many of us will join friends and family in celebrating the spirit of Thanksgiving. But as we learned today the Federal Communications Commission majority is about to deliver a cornucopia full of rotten fruit, stale grains, and wilted flowers topped off with a plate full of burnt turkey. Their Destroying Internet Freedom Order would dismantle net neutrality as we know it by giving the green light to our nation’s largest broadband providers to engage in anti-consumer practices, including blocking, slowing down traffic, and paid prioritization of online applications and services. Tucked away in this ‘Pre-Holiday News Dump’ is yet another proposal that reportedly seeks to allow even greater media consolidation. Ignoring federal law, it could open the doors to a single company reaching in excess of the 39% national broadcast audience cap set by Congress more than a decade ago.

Statement of Commissioner Carr on the Circulation of a Draft Order on Restoring Internet Freedom

Today, the Chairman circulated a draft order that would restore Internet freedom by reversing the Obama-era Federal Communications Commission’s regulatory overreach. Prior to the FCC’s 2015 decision, consumers and innovators alike benefited from a free and open Internet because the FCC abided by a 20-year, bipartisan consensus that the government should not control or heavily regulate Internet access. The Internet flourished under this framework. So I fully support returning to this approach, which will promote innovation and investment for the benefit of all Americans. I look forward to casting my vote in support of Internet freedom.

Statement of Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel on FCC Leadership’s Plan to Roll Back Internet Rights

Today the Federal Communications Commission circulated its sweeping roll back of our network neutrality rules. Following actions earlier in 2017 to erase consumer privacy protections, the Commission now wants to wipe out court-tested rules and a decade’s work in order to favor cable and telephone companies. This is ridiculous and offensive to the millions of Americans who use the Internet every day. Our Internet economy is the envy of the world because it is open to all. This proposal tears at the foundation of that openness. It hands broadband providers the power to decide what voices to amplify, which sites we can visit, what connections we can make, and what communities we create. It throttles access, stalls opportunity, and censors content. It would be a big blunder for a slim majority of the FCC to approve these rules and saddle every Internet user with the cruel consequences.

Statement of Commissioner Michael O’Rielly on the Commission’s Extensive December Agenda

I thank the Chairman for circulating the items for the December meeting and look forward to reading each one.The time has come to overturn the market disrupting net neutrality and common carrier regulations that sacrificed decades of precedent and the independence of the agency for political ends while doing nothing to protect actual consumers. The Internet was a vibrant place of commerce and public discourse before the rules ever took effect and will continue to flourish after we discard this unnecessary and harmful regulatory overhang. I look forward to reviewing the Chairman’s proposal and working together to ensure that the order contains the necessary legal and analytical foundations, including preemption, to implement sound policy and withstand the challenges that are certain to ensue. The National Television Ownership Cap item rightly recognizes what I have consistently stated: that the 39 percent cap and UHF discount are intricately linked.

Statement of Acting FTC Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen on Restoring Internet Freedom and Returning FTC Competition and Consumer Protections to Broadband Subscribers

I am pleased to see progress on this important matter. The Federal Trade Commission has long applied its competition and consumer protection expertise to network neutrality issues. The FTC also participated in the Federal Communications Commission’s proceeding, and I am gratified that my comments and those of FTC staff appear to have been taken into consideration in the development of this order. I look forward to reading the full draft order. The FTC stands ready to protect broadband subscribers from anticompetitive, unfair, or deceptive acts and practices just as we protect consumers in the rest of the Internet ecosystem.

President Trump’s FCC Is About to Destroy Net Neutrality, and Commissioner Rosenworcel Is Calling Foul

Network neutrality is on its deathbed, and Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, appointed by President Donald Trump, is about to pull the plug. But not everyone on the FCC is gunning to undo the hard-won net neutrality protections. The FCC started soliciting comments from the public on Chairman Pai’s proposal to end network neutrality in May. More than 22 million comments came in, but there have been so many serious irregularities with the process that FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel thinks the FCC needs to slam on the brakes. “I’ve got concerns,” said Commissioner Rosenworcel, who also served on FCC under President Barack Obama and originally voted to instate the open internet order in 2015. “There were some procedural problems with the way this all came together.” For instance, she said, there have been allegations that most of the comments came from bots, or some even from dead people.

via Slate

The End of Net Neutrality Isn’t the End of the World

[Commentary] Eliminating net neutrality is, in the best and worst case scenarios, either necessary to keep the internet up and running, or will lead to a dystopian future where a few major corporations control our thoughts. The more prosaic reality, however, is that a world without net neutrality will work just fine. I am therefore not incensed (or very excited) about the Federal Communications Commission proposal. Proponents of net neutrality are typically worried about the monopoly and pricing power held by cable companies and other internet service providers. Options for access, however, are improving. Cellphone service is falling in price, smartphones are growing in size and quality, and Wi-Fi connections are all over the place. That said, a lot of monopoly power remains. But look at it this way: Those monopolists don’t want to distort the consumer experience too much, so they can keep charging high prices.

Net Neutrality Protests to Hit Verizon Stores Across the US During Busy Holiday-Shopping Season

Internet users outraged by Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to gut Network Neutrality are planning to protest at Verizon retail stores across the country on Thursday, Dec. 7, one week before an expected vote at the FCC. In some cities, protesters will march from Verizon stores to lawmakers’ offices. The protests will highlight the company’s role lobbying to kill rules that prevent telecom giants from charging extra fees, engaging in censorship, or controlling what internet users see and do through discriminatory throttling. Protesters will carry signs calling on their members of Congress to speak out against Verizon’s attacks on Net Neutrality and publicly oppose the FCC’s plan, which is expected to be released this week.

What an FCC rollback of net neutrality may mean for you

With Net Neutrality on the Chopping Block, Communities Are Taking Matters Into their Own Hands—and Scaring the Hell out of Comcast

Will Congress Bless Internet Fast Lanes?

[Commentary]  As the Federal Communications Commission gets ready to abandon a decade of progress on net neutrality, some in Congress are considering how new legislation could fill the gap and protect users from unfair ISP practices. Unfortunately, too many lawmakers seem to be embracing the idea that they should allow ISPs to create Internet “fast lanes” — also known as “paid prioritization,” one of the harmful practices that violates net neutrality. They are also looking to re-assign the job of protecting customers from ISP abuses to the Federal Trade Commission. These are both bad ideas. If the FCC abandons its commitment to net neutrality, Congress can and should step in to put it back on course.  That means enacting real, forward-looking legislation that embraces all of the bright-line rules, not just the ones ISPs don’t mind. And it means forcing the FCC to its job, rather than handing it off to another agency that’s not well-positioned to do the w ork.

FCC’s Rollback of Net-Neutrality Rules Won’t Settle the Divisive Issue

Although the Federal Communications Commission is expected to adopt FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s new net neutrality proposal in December 2017, that won’t end a debate that’s roiled the tech world for years. Aggrieved parties will try to save the regulations in federal court, where judges will decide whether the agency is within its rights to reverse a regulation it adopted little more than two years ago. Legally, the agency can reverse its rules if it has a good reason.

Donald Trump’s FCC is a Clear and Present Danger to Democracy

[Commentary] President Donald Trump’s chair of the Federal Communications Commission, Ajit Pai, and the Trump-aligned majority on a commission is bent on clearing the way for precisely the sort of media monopoly that FDR and the small-“d” democrats of his time feared. Recently, the FCC voted 3-2 for a radical rewrite of media-ownership rules that will benefit corporate conglomerates, while diminishing the character and quality of the discourse in communities across the United States. In so doing, they strengthened the hand of at least one conglomerate that is closely aligned with Trump.  It is disgraceful. And it is dangerous. It threatens the discourse that sustains democracy at the local, state and national levels.

Stop the Next Internet Power Grab

[Commentary] The Constitution’s Commerce Clause provides Congress with the power to regulate interstate commerce. Given that the internet permits consumers and businesses to connect to others in different states (as well as countries), broadband services are inherently interstate services and must therefore be protected from state and local interference. As the Federal Communications Commission rolls back the Obama-era regulations on the internet, it should also take the opportunity to affirmatively recognize this. Allowing the Obama administration’s dangerous policy to infest the internet through state and local government mandates serves no purpose other than to stifle America’s entrepreneurial spirit, frustrate innovation, and block economic opportunity. Imposing public utility regulations — which have their roots in the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 — on the internet is not the right policy to keep America globally competitive.

The FCC’s net neutrality proposal: A shameful sham that sells out consumers

[Commentary] The day after the Trump Justice Department sues to block the vertical integration of AT&T and Time Warner, the Trump Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposes eliminating rules that could be used to prevent the same harms to consumers. Right hand…meet left hand. Fighting against monopolization in the internet era…meet ideologically-driven “do what the big guys want.” The Trump FCC’s proposal to eliminate the over-two-year-old Open Internet Rule is a shameful sham and sellout. The assertion that the FCC proposal is somehow pro-consumer is a sham that doesn’t pass the straight-face test. It is impossible to find anything pro-consumer in the expert telecommunications agency walking away from its responsibilities in favor of an agency with no telecommunications expertise or authority. Here is the secret why the big companies want this: the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has NO rule-making regulatory authority in this area. [Tom Wheeler]

Net Neutrality Is Fiction, No Matter What FCC Does

[Commentary] No matter what the Federal Communications Commission does, America’s internet is not an equal place and it’s only going to become less fair. The reality is big companies do have a privileged path into people’s digital lives. They have the money and the technical ability to make sure their websites and internet videos speed through internet pipes without delays or hiccups. Web services from big companies such as Netflix and Google account for the majority of internet use during peak evening hours in North America. And even though Google doesn’t need to pay AT&T or Verizon Communications, it sometimes does either directly or indirectly. Google, Netflix Inc. and other rich companies have long had agreements to connect their computer equipment directly into telecommunications companies’ networks. In some cases, those web companies pay fees for the privilege, known as paid peering.

To Save Net Neutrality, We Must Build Our Own Internet

Network neutrality as a principle of the federal government will soon be dead, but the protections are wildly popular among the American people and are integral to the internet as we know it. Rather than putting such a core tenet of the internet in the hands of politicians, whose whims and interests change with their donors, net neutrality must be protected by a populist revolution in the ownership of internet infrastructure and networks. In short, we must end our reliance on big telecom monopolies and build decentralized, affordable, locally owned internet infrastructure. The great news is this is currently possible in most parts of the United States.

via Vice

America is about to kill the open internet and towns like this will pay the price

Pai’s Tranparency: File This One Under “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”

[Commentary] The Federal Communications Commission is expected to release its draft Network Neutrality Order on Wednesday, November 22—just before Thanksgiving. This timing has created an uproar among some opponents of the Order, who claim that the timing is merely part of what is admittedly an unfortunately common strategy among governments to release unpopular news when it thinks the public is least likely to see it. In this case, however, the claim has several problems.

via Technology Policy Institute