It’s rather difficult to find the actual text of the Save the Internet bill that our fuzzy-minded friends are complaining about as it’s not in Thomas yet. Not to worry, the Benton Foundation has posted the original text and the April Update on its web site. This is the section that they’re worried about:
II. Net Neutrality
The legislation gives the FCC authority to enforce its broadband policy statement and principles when it receives a complaint that the principles have been violated. On September 23, the FCC concluded that it has the jurisdiction necessary to ensure that providers of telecommunications for Internet access or Internet Protocol-enabled (IP-enabled) services are operated in a neutral manner. Moreover, to ensure that broadband networks are widely deployed, open, affordable, and accessible to all consumers, the Commission adopted the following principles:
* To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice.
* To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement.
* To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to connect their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network.
* To encourage broadband deployment and preserve and promote the open and interconnected nature of the public Internet, consumers are entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers.
After reviewing a complaint, the FCC would be able to issue an order that a violating entity comply with the above principles.
In addition, within 180 days of enactment of the legislation, the Commission is to submit a study to Congress regarding whether the objectives of the broadband policy statement and principles are being achieved.
I frankly don’t see what the fuss is about. The Coalition’s complaint, at the end of the day, is that the above language isn’t strong enough, and that certainly appears to be a load of crap.
The underlying issue is this: When a cable company or Telco has deployed a cable plant that allows it to accelerate voice services such that VOIP is as good as the existing telephone network, can service providers such as Google and Skype use these enhanced facilities for free? The bill says that’s the Telco’s call to make, not the government’s, and I’m all for that. The Telcos need to make money in order to have the incentive to upgrade the cable plant. They’re not charities and they shouldn’t be forced to act as if they were.
Google is looking for a free ride not on the ordinary Internet, but on a new cable system that performs better than the ordinary Internet. They want Fedex service for the price of bulk mail, and that would be a no-go even if Google weren’t a dangerous monopoly that cooperates with the Chinese government to stifle free speech.
Don’t believe the crap about Telcos blocking web sites, the plain language of the bill prevents that. Read the bill and decide for yourself if it’s progressive or regressive.