One of the big fights of recent years has been around Internet access and the fact that internet architecture has been falling behind in many countries compared to the bandwidth used. Net Neutrality is the term for the belief that internet speeds should have no basis in paid ‘fast lanes’ or set up in speciality channels – everyone moving through the same traffic. Many companies, searching for ways to make money, and presumably to deal with raising costs would prefer to implement a split system that allows them to monetize it more.
President Barack Obama has been in the past a proponent of Net Neutrality, speaking out in support of it. That was questioned some when he announced the new FCC (Federal Communications Commission) Chairman to be Tom Wheeler a former cable lobbyist. Wheeler has spoken out in favour of allowing fastlanes in the past and introduced reports on it from the FCC. Wheeler does have a past connection to Obama, being one of his supporters, helping the campaign in Iowa for 6 weeks in 2008, and raising over $500 000 for his re-election bid in 2012.
Today, Fight For the Future, an internet group dedicated to Net Neutrality, presented a petition to President Obama. With over 75 000 signatures they requested Wheelers resignation and that Obama publicly support full Title II reclassification of internet infrastructure. The presentation came only hours after reports from the Wall Street Journal about the FCC being close to finalizing a hybrid model that would allow for fast and slow lanes.
Speaking on the matter Holmes Wilson, one of Fight for the Future’s co-founders said, “The Internet will never accept this sham proposal — it’s a middle finger to the American public and Internet users around the world. Four million people came out opposing fast lanes, and then the FCC proposes fastlanes. It’s an outrage.”
The other co-founder Tiffiniy Cheng spoke up as well, “President Obama risks becoming the poster child for modern corruption. He appointed a former cable industry lobbyist to chair the FCC who has been doing the Cable industry’s bidding. If the FCC goes with the proposal detailed in the Wall Street Journal and fails to protect the most basic principles of the open Internet, that failure rests with the Obama administration. ”
Title 2 Reclassification would place internet infrastructure under telecom communications much like phone lines in the United States. It would require carriers to act in the Common Interest and is widely interpreted to not be allowing of fast lanes because of that and prior interpretations of it. It would also grant the FCC pretty wide ranging powers on how to regulate the industry though the original version of the common carrier laws are over 80 years old and were last updated in 1996. That does mean of course, that there are plenty of arcane provisions that would need updating to bring them into the 21st century and to deal with the differences in internet vs telephone communications.
Fight For The Future is a non-profit organization that is best known for being out spoken on internet issues such as Net Neutrality and their Stop SOPA campaign. They are running a campaign currently based around calling the FCC with numerous users to get people at high levels to speak their piece. Currently their drive has driven more than 10,000 calls to the FCC and over 700 activists are committed to calling daily. Additionally they are planning an Emergency Protest at the White House on Thursday, November 6th.
TechRaptor is big proponent of Net Neutrality and we encourage you take part in helping Fight For The Future keep the fight for a free and open internet alive and spreading!