Obama's FCC nixes net neutrality negotiations (and Fata Morgana)

By Richi Jennings. August 6, 2010.

The Federal Communications Commission has called off its closed-door talks with ISPs about proposals to regulate network neutrality. The FCC is trying to build, "A robust framework to preserve the openness and freedom of the Internet," and it's going to try a different tack. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers wonder if this will bring an open and non-discriminatory net, or a socialist fiefdom.

Your humble blogwatcher selected these bloggy morsels for your enjoyment. Not to mention Google Maps without the map...

(GOOG) (VZ) 


Grant Gross gets going:

The FCC has been hosting net neutrality negotiations ... since June, after [ISPs] and dozens of U.S. lawmakers objected to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski's plan to create formal rules ... prohibiting broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Web traffic.


Genachowski proposed that the FCC craft formal net neutrality rules in late 2009. In May, he called on the FCC to reclassify broadband as a regulated, common-carrier service. ... But several U.S. lawmakers have questioned whether the FCC should reclassify broadband, suggesting instead that Congress take up net neutrality.

Ben Parr says it has something to do with secret talks between Google and Verizon:

According insiders familiar with the details, talks were abruptly cut off ... [because] the FCC believes the Google-Verizon deal undermines [the talks]. ... The entire affair has blown up into a PR nightmare. Google and Verizon have both denied they are attempting to end net neutrality, but ... it seems as if the two are trying to define net neutrality ... and model their definition as a standard for the industry.


[They're] likely to find that others aren’t as willing to accept their agreement as they might have hoped.

 Confused? Darren Allan simplifies:

Net neutrality is ... the belief that the Internet should be kept a level playing field for all content. ... The news comes in the wake of ... [news] that Google and Verizon are close to brokering ... [a] deal whereby speedy premium traffic lanes could be purchased.


Out of the whole affair, there’s one word that ... springs to mind, and that’s “ominous”.

Thus spake The Oracle:

It does seem that the intellectual midgets always gravitate to the FCC. ... This is exactly the sort of behavior that I would expect ... from the cretins who are running the show at our FCC. ... It looks as though the entire working staff of the FCC have taken leave of their senses.


Left to their own devices, the large companies ... will completely obliterate any thought of freedom and fairness ... each of the big players will be establishing their own fiefdoms ... the electronic equivalent of feudal England.

But Anthony Kang has an opposing viewpoint:

Next on Team Obama's agenda is ... a plan allowing the federal government to take over the nation's telecommunication platform ... centralized control of the Internet. ... Naturally, like all phrases Orewellian ... there is nothing "neutral" about the irreparable damage it will do to one of the greatest modern innovations. The government may have invented the Internet, but the free-market made it glorious.


The populist rhetoric ... should come as no surprise -- there isn't a time in history authoritarian rulers haven't morally justified their actions without words like "public good". ... Every time the government touches something ... quality worsens, costs rise, and competition diminishes. ... Economic debacles from big government intervention are well-documented - but none compare to the dangers of state-controlled media.


And Finally...

Fata Morgana (Google maps without the map)
[hat tip: Andy Baio]

Don't miss out on IT Blogwatch:


Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itbw@richij.com.

You can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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