Friday, May 9, 2014

Tell the FCC to Secure Net Neutrality

Viharts extremely good explanation of net neutrality and how it is being gutted by proposed FCC regulations.

At I've talked a little bit about net neutrality and how important it is to the Internet as we know it. Currently there are two things happening that seriously threaten both net neutrality and the Internet in general. The are the proposed FCC rules to replace those struck down by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCotUS) earlier this year and the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner (or buyout of TW by CC, of you prefer). The merging of Comcast and Time Warner is important, but the most urgent of the two are the FCC's proposed net neutrality rules.

Why the Rules Are Changing

The SCotUS has decreed that the FCC cannot enforce common carrier rules on ISP's because the current definition of a common carrier doesn't clearly fit an Internet service provider. Thank you, Comcast and Verizon. The simple solution would be for the FCC to explicitly define ISP's as common carriers, but it could be hard to make this happen because the head of the FCC, Tom Wheeler, used to be a lobbyist for the cable companies. Several other FCC officials also used to fight net neutrality. 

What the Changes Mean

The proposed FCC rules would allow ISPs to charge different companies or groups different rates to use ISP networks, or even to refuse customers access to sites the ISP deems inappropriate. Each ISP can determine its own rules. So Comcast might charge Netflix one rate and Hulu a less, while Suddenlink charges Netflix more than Comcast does, but charge Hulu more than it charges Netflix. Both might decide you can't go to - or this blog. It's their choice.

What We Can Do

We can email, snail mail, and call FCC officials and let them know that true net neutrality is important to us. One enterprising (or foolish) fellow even throttled the FCC's access to his main page down to 28.8kbps - that's slow dial-up speeds by todays standards. Sign the petition at the White House web site supporting net neutrality. Contact your representatives. Raise a ruckus!

To contact FCC leadership:

To contact your senators:
In Texas:  

Cornyn, John - (R - TX) Class II
517 Hart Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-2934

Cruz, Ted - (R - TX) Class I
185 Dirksen Senate Office Building Washington DC 20510
(202) 224-5922

The rest of the U.S.:

Find your state in the pull menu in the top right of the senate home page,

To contact your representative:

Texas has 32 Representatives. for the Lubbock, Abilene and Big Spring area ours is:

Randy Neugebauer
611 University Ave. Suite #220
Lubbock, TX 79401
Phone: (806) 763-1611
Fax: (806) 767-9168

In other parts of Texas and the rest of the U.S. you can find your representatives by entering your zip code in the form at