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Hiya friends!

I know many people are confused and irritated about all of the stuff on Tumblr today regarding “internet slowlanes” and net neutrality. What is it? Why do I have to look at that spinning circle of death?  

Above is probably the best breakdown of the issue I’ve seen. 

Take a second and watch. Take another second and contact your representatives. This shit is very real and very scary. 

Knowledge is power.

The internet is power.

Don’t let them take your power away.

President Obama is urging the Federal Communications Commission to protect net neutrality. Read his statement on keeping the internet open and free:

An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life. By lowering the cost of launching a new idea, igniting new political movements, and bringing communities closer together, it has been one of the most significant democratizing influences the world has ever known.

“Net neutrality” has been built into the fabric of the Internet since its creation — but it is also a principle that we cannot take for granted. We cannot allow Internet service providers (ISPs) to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. That is why today, I am asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to answer the call of almost 4 million public comments, and implement the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality.

When I was a candidate for this office, I made clear my commitment to a free and open Internet, and my commitment remains as strong as ever. Four years ago, the FCC tried to implement rules that would protect net neutrality with little to no impact on the telecommunications companies that make important investments in our economy. After the rules were challenged, the court reviewing the rules agreed with the FCC that net neutrality was essential for preserving an environment that encourages new investment in the network, new online services and content, and everything else that makes up the Internet as we now know it. Unfortunately, the court ultimately struck down the rules — not because it disagreed with the need to protect net neutrality, but because it believed the FCC had taken the wrong legal approach.

The FCC is an independent agency, and ultimately this decision is theirs alone. I believe the FCC should create a new set of rules protecting net neutrality and ensuring that neither the cable company nor the phone company will be able to act as a gatekeeper, restricting what you can do or see online. The rules I am asking for are simple, common-sense steps that reflect the Internet you and I use every day, and that some ISPs already observe. These bright-line rules include:

  • No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it. That way, every player — not just those commercially affiliated with an ISP — gets a fair shot at your business.
  • No throttling. Nor should ISPs be able to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others — through a process often called “throttling” — based on the type of service or your ISP’s preferences.
  • Increased transparency. The connection between consumers and ISPs — the so-called “last mile” — is not the only place some sites might get special treatment. So, I am also asking the FCC to make full use of the transparency authorities the court recently upheld, and if necessary to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.
  • No paid prioritization. Simply put: No service should be stuck in a “slow lane” because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth. So, as I have before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.

If carefully designed, these rules should not create any undue burden for ISPs, and can have clear, monitored exceptions for reasonable network management and for specialized services such as dedicated, mission-critical networks serving a hospital. But combined, these rules mean everything for preserving the Internet’s openness.

The rules also have to reflect the way people use the Internet today, which increasingly means on a mobile device. I believe the FCC should make these rules fully applicable to mobile broadband as well, while recognizing the special challenges that come with managing wireless networks.

To be current, these rules must also build on the lessons of the past. For almost a century, our law has recognized that companies who connect you to the world have special obligations not to exploit the monopoly they enjoy over access in and out of your home or business. That is why a phone call from a customer of one phone company can reliably reach a customer of a different one, and why you will not be penalized solely for calling someone who is using another provider. It is common sense that the same philosophy should guide any service that is based on the transmission of information — whether a phone call, or a packet of data.

So the time has come for the FCC to recognize that broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do. To do that, I believe the FCC should reclassify consumer broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act — while at the same time forbearing from rate regulation and other provisions less relevant to broadband services. This is a basic acknowledgment of the services ISPs provide to American homes and businesses, and the straightforward obligations necessary to ensure the network works for everyone — not just one or two companies.

Investment in wired and wireless networks has supported jobs and made America the center of a vibrant ecosystem of digital devices, apps, and platforms that fuel growth and expand opportunity. Importantly, network investment remained strong under the previous net neutrality regime, before it was struck down by the court; in fact, the court agreed that protecting net neutrality helps foster more investment and innovation. If the FCC appropriately forbears from the Title II regulations that are not needed to implement the principles above — principles that most ISPs have followed for years — it will help ensure new rules are consistent with incentives for further investment in the infrastructure of the Internet.

The Internet has been one of the greatest gifts our economy — and our society — has ever known. The FCC was chartered to promote competition, innovation, and investment in our networks. In service of that mission, there is no higher calling than protecting an open, accessible, and free Internet. I thank the Commissioners for having served this cause with distinction and integrity, and I respectfully ask them to adopt the policies I have outlined here, to preserve this technology’s promise for today, and future generations to come.

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The White House is backing the internet in a major way. Here’s why President Obama’s statement on net neutrality is a big deal.

Related:

3.7 Million Comments Later, Here’s Where Net Neutrality Stands

A Fascinating Look Inside Those 1.1 Million Open-Internet Comments

On Net Neutrality, California Cares; Texas? Not So Much

What killed Saturday morning cartoons? Cable, streaming, and the FCC. In the 1990s, the FCC began more strictly enforcing its rule requiring broadcast networks to provide a minimum of three hours of “educational” programming every week. Networks afraid of messing with their prime-time slots found it easiest to cram this required programming in the weekend morning slot. The actual educational content of this live-action programming is sometimes debatable, but it meets the letter of the law.

But more importantly, with hundreds of cable and satellite channels to choose from that don’t have to abide the FCC’s guidelines, whippersnappers kids these days can get their animation fix any day of the week. With the rise of cable and satellite, advertisers no longer had to cram all their kid-aimed commercials into the four-hour Saturday morning block. When the money left Saturday mornings, so did the cartoons.

Source: http://gizmodo.com/this-is-the-first-weekend-in-america-with-no-saturday-m-1642441646

In an action that follows on to a speech back in August and other Administration positions before and since, President Obama today threw the administration’s support behind Net Neutrality. Commentators like Tim Wu, commonly seen as the person who created the definition for Net Neutrality, have noted that the president’s perspective is “bold, courageous and just obvious” while critics like Ted Cruz somehow seem to think that Net Neutrality can be compared in any way to Obamacare. 

Net Neutrality is the concept of reclassifying broadband service under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, which expressly forbids “unjust or unreasonable discrimination in charges, practices, classifications, regulations, facilities, or services.” For a solid overview, check out John Oliver’s Net Neutrality explainer, or look over the summary at VOX. The large telecoms are not fans, and the FCC’s proposed hybrid plan, which we posted about this weekend, pleases nobody, and likely won’t be out before 2015 anyway. 

What did Obama say today? First, they updated the Net Neutrality page on the official WH website. 

Second, they spoke for many of us who were high school or college/grad school students with blogs, thoughts, art and stories to share: 

More than any other invention of our time, the Internet has unlocked possibilities we could just barely imagine a generation ago. And here’s a big reason we’ve seen such incredible growth and innovation: Most Internet providers have treated Internet traffic equally. That’s a principle known as “net neutrality” — and it says that an entrepreneur’s fledgling company should have the same chance to succeed as established corporations, and that access to a high school student’s blog shouldn’t be unfairly slowed down to make way for advertisers with more money.

Third, they listed these rules that they would like to see in the FCC’s rulemaking: 

  • No blocking. If a consumer requests access to a website or service, and the content is legal, your ISP should not be permitted to block it. That way, every player — not just those commercially affiliated with an ISP — gets a fair shot at your business.

  • No throttling. Nor should ISPs be able to intentionally slow down some content or speed up others — through a process often called “throttling” — based on the type of service or your ISP’s preferences.

  • Increased transparency. The connection between consumers and ISPs — the so-called “last mile” — is not the only place some sites might get special treatment. So, I am also asking the FCC to make full use of the transparency authorities the court recently upheld, and if necessary to apply net neutrality rules to points of interconnection between the ISP and the rest of the Internet.

  • No paid prioritization. Simply put: No service should be stuck in a “slow lane” because it does not pay a fee. That kind of gatekeeping would undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth. So, as I have before, I am asking for an explicit ban on paid prioritization and any other restriction that has a similar effect.

WHY can’t the Obama administration just make the rules themselves? It’s because the FCC is a quasi-independent administrative body. The five commissioners are appointed by the president when there’s an opening, but he cannot remove them at his will. While the five current commissioners were all appointed by Obama, only three can be from the same political party; two of the current commissioners are Republicans. None of them are obligated to vote in line with the requests of his administration. The Office of the President cannot set federal communications policy by fiat. 

However, their recommendations may be heard more loudly than those of the individuals, organizations and corporations who’ve submitted comments on Net Neutrality over the past year or so. 

We’ll see in the next few months how everything will turn. 

HOW can Net Neutrality rules impact fandomers, fashion bloggers, artists, indie film makers, YouTubers, etc.?

Net Neutrality is basically how things have been since the Internet started in its modern form in the 1990s. As the HP Alliance, via Video Creators For Net Neutrality with edwardspoonhands and fishingboatproceeds wrote this summer, “net neutrality would drastically reduce the freedom, openness, and possibility of the Internet as we know it.” If some corporations are able to purchase “fast lane” access, then the ISPs that provide you with access to websites, the telephone companies that serve bandwidth for your smartphone, the hosts and the telecoms and anyone else who manages your internet access, has the ability to charge for different internet speeds. If large companies can speed some things up, then over time if not initially, there’s a risk that anything else can be slowed down. 

As College Humor said in an NSFW post earlier this year, “whether you’re a bedroom music producer, a couple on an amateur porn site, or just someone with a start up idea - you get access to the same users as Netflix, Facebook or Amazon. On the Internet, anyone can succeed.”

It’s great to be able to watch shows on your computer, to stream music from major stars and to post your art, your fanfic, the photos you’ve taken that day, etc. But will it be as wonderful if the tv shows from the major companies come through in a blink while College Humor, an indie video game, the Dimetrodons, that vlog you love, Nerdy Nummies, the next StarKid show or the WIP fic you’ve really, really been waiting for download at speeds resembling a 9600 baud dial-up modem (without the horrible sound)? 

Comcast angrily calling the White House about net neutrality, told to be home between two and six next Thursday

— Jon Lovett (@jonlovett)

November 10, 2014

Did you know? Most Conservative Voters Support Net Neutrality.

While Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted that Net Neutrality is “Obamacare for the Internet,” a new poll shows that most conservatives support open Internet protections.

It’s no surprise that the poll found such strong support for Net Neutrality among conservatives. After all, open Internet protections benefit anyone — regardless of political beliefs — who cares about free expression online.

This week, President Obama came out in favor of a strong Net Neutrality rule, without loopholes, which will keep the internet open and free from restrictions. Verizon, Comcast and other internet service providers want to be able to block content, limit access to certain websites and services, and slow the connection unless they receive a cut from every website and extra money from you, the consumers.

A strong Net Neutrality rule, which I support, will prevent that from happening. The fight is not over though. The FCC, which is an independent agency, will make the final decision.

vimeo

Join us in the fight to save the Internet. Tell your Senator you want #netneutrality — equal tubes for all! https://vimeo.com/blog/post:650

FCC to consider petition to ban “Redskins”

The head of the Federal Communications Commission says the agency will consider a petition to ban the Washington Redskins nickname from the public airwaves.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says Tuesday that the commission “will be dealing with that issue on the merits, and we’ll be responding accordingly.”

A law professor has challenged the use of the name on broadcast television, saying it violates FCC rules against indecent content. Native American and other groups have demanded the name be changed, calling it a racial slur.

Wheeler did not offer a timetable for a ruling on the matter. He has previously said he finds the name “offensive and derogatory,” but that he hoped Redskins owner Dan Snyder would change it without any formal action.

Snyder has vowed never to change the name.