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FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND SPEECH : INTERNET : ORGANIZATIONS: POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS : MEDIA: DEREGULATION : POLITICS: LOBBYING : UNITED STATES: POLITICS: POLITICAL PARTIES: REPUBLICAN PARTY, TEA PARTY : INDUSTRIES: PETROLEUM INDUSTRY: The End to Net Neutrality

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  • David P. Dillard
    . . FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND SPEECH : INTERNET : ORGANIZATIONS: POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS : MEDIA: DEREGULATION : POLITICS: LOBBYING : UNITED STATES: POLITICS:
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 10, 2013
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      FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND SPEECH :

      INTERNET :

      ORGANIZATIONS: POLITICAL ORGANIZATIONS :

      MEDIA: DEREGULATION :

      POLITICS: LOBBYING :

      UNITED STATES: POLITICS: POLITICAL PARTIES: REPUBLICAN PARTY, TEA PARTY
      :
      INDUSTRIES: PETROLEUM INDUSTRY:

      The End to Net Neutrality

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      WEEKEND EDITION FEBRUARY 8-10, 2013

      The Communications Trust's Plan to End Media Freedom

      The End to Net Neutrality

      by DAVID ROSEN

      Counterpunch

      http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/02/08/the-end-to-net-neutrality/

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      Verizon, AT&T and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are
      spearheading a three-pronged attack against net neutrality, the open
      Internet and other open forms of digital communications. If they succeed,
      telecommunications will be further "deregulated" and, thus, further
      privatized and monopolized. As a consequence, telecom services will get
      more expensive, local requirements subordinated to the whims of huge
      corporate monopolies, competition and innovation will suffer and U.S.
      world ranking in terms of broadband speed will further decline.

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      Last year, many within the broad tech, Internet and media communities - as
      well as ordinary citizens - organized to halt the Hollywood studios and
      record companies from pushing new "anti-piracy" laws through Congress.
      The battle against SOPA-PIPA is a model campaign for the next battle
      against the Communications Trust to preserve net neutrality, an open
      Internet and America's very communications future.

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      One front in the campaign to end net neutrality is being pushed by
      Verizon. In 2011, it initiated a federal suit against the FCC's authority
      to regulate digital communications. Currently, the FCC adheres to what is
      known as the "Open Internet rules," an extension of the analog-era 1934
      Communications Act. They require all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) -
      like Verizon - to maintain "net neutrality" standards, thus treating all
      data equally and barring them from slowing down or blocking websites.

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      Verizon argues that in the new world of digital communications, it is
      morphing from an old-fashioned "common carrier" or distribution pipe into
      a publisher, somehow analogous to CNN or the New York Times. It insists
      that FCC regulatory practices violate its 1st Amendment right to edit,
      prioritize or block its customers' access to Internet content. Many
      reject this contention.

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      snip

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      A second front is being pushed by AT&T and involves new Congressional
      legislation that would essentially end all regulatory obligations. AT&T
      insists, "this [traditional] regulatory experiment will show that
      conventional public-utility-style regulation is no longer necessary or
      appropriate in the emerging all-IP ecosystem." No accountability - problem
      with your bill, too bad; slow bandwidth speeds, good luck; rural
      customers, get f**ked; schools, hospitals, police stations, pay up or
      good-by.

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      To cover-up this campaign, AT&T's PR flacks recently promoted a new "$14
      Billion" investment plan to upgrade its network. The nation's leading
      media outlets - the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The
      Washington Post, Reuters, Fox News, Los Angeles Times, Forbes and
      Bloomberg - all gave it prominent coverage. None of the established media
      asked the most obvious question: What have the telecoms, telco and cable,
      been doing for the last 20 years?

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      Two decades ago the telecoms promised to build Al Gore's "Information
      Superhighway" and were deregulated to do so. Since then, they've pocketed
      an estimated $350 billion to build a post-modern digital telecom system.
      What do we have today? A 2nd-rate communications system! Further
      deregulations - toothless regulation - will likely only make things worse.

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      A third front is taking place outside the Washington beltway. ALEC "model
      legislation" ending traditional telephone company accountability
      requirements has been adopted by 23 states.

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      snip

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      Today, a new era of vertical integration is taking shape. Cable companies
      Comcast, TimeWarner and Cablevision have proven that integrating content
      and distribution fattens the bottom line. The capstone of this new
      business model is Comcast acquisition of GE's old content business,
      NBC-Universal. Similar efforts seem to part of the long-term development
      strategies of Apple and Google. One can only wonder if AT&T or Verizon
      will move into the "content" business by acquiring Sony Entertainment or
      Yahoo, both stumbling companies?

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      The telecom trust is moving to impose data caps to neutralize net
      neutrality requirements and to end the Public Switched Telephone Network
      (PSTN), the underlying telecom system. These efforts further the
      consolidation of communications by the monopolies.
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      Last year people successfully organized to fight SOPA-PIPA legislation.
      This year, public interest and other groups are organizing to fight effort
      by telecoms to further privatize telecom service and block all regulatory
      oversight. The AARP, Rural Strategies and others effectively resisted
      efforts by telcos in Kentucky and Ohio to raise rates and limit service.
      Groups in New York and Washington, DC, are organizing to take on the
      telecom trust at both the state and federal level.

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      The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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      Sincerely,
      David Dillard
      Temple University
      (215) 204 - 4584
      jwne@...
      http://workface.com/e/daviddillard

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