FCC net-neutrality vote is GO, as GOP gives up (but beware friendly-fire)

21st-Century-democracy FTW! But what is FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn upto?

fcc vote

Things are looking up for FCC Chair Tom Wheeler's net-neutrality proposal. Tomorrow's vote is expected to be close, but at least Republican senators have given up fighting "Obamanet"—for now, at least.

Why? Democracy won. And it nicely illustrates how 21st-Century citizens can make their voices heard louder than any expensive lobbyist.

However, FCC commissioner Mignon Clyburn may drop a last-minute, dramatic insect in the topical medicine.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers leech broadchurch.s02e08.finale.1080p.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

Jonathan Wiseman waxes wise with Washington wonks: [Wow -Ed.]

Senior Republicans conceded...the grueling fight with President Obama...with the president and an army of Internet activists victorious. ... Republicans on Capitol Hill, who once criticized the plan as [Obamanet], now say they are unlikely to pass a legislative response.

Congress’s hands appear to be tied [as] an avalanche of support for Mr. Wheeler’s plan...swamped Washington.  MORE

And Kate "his" Knibbs is cautiously optimistic: [You're fired -Ed.]

Things are looking good. ... On Thursday, the...Commission will vote on whether to treat the internet more like a public utility. ... GOP opponents have accepted near-certain defeat.

GOP opponents like Senator Ted Cruz criticized Obama's plan as...bureaucracy that'd slow down innovation. ... But as [Thursday] looms, it looks likely that the new rules will get voted in.  MORE

Unsurprisingly, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) will sound tense:

Without crucial protections...instead of selling their customers access to the Internet, broadband providers can effectively sell privileged, fast access to their customers to the highest bidders. [ISPs] have the potential to thwart the Internet’s role as an engine of economic growth, democracy, and free speech.

[FCC] Chairman Wheeler’s plan represents meaningful action to ensure that the Internet remains a dynamic engine of economic growth, democracy, and free speech. ... There is now widespread and bipartisan agreement. ... The FCC received nearly 4 million comments on the issue from Americans, and they spoke almost unanimously. [It] highlights the transformative role that online access to policymakers can have on our democracy.

Congress should let the FCC do its work to fulfill this important mandate. ... This is a key moment in the history and the future of the open Internet.  MORE

But Pat Richardson and friends didn't sign up for this:

The Internet is not a telephone company. ... An open network requires new rules, but not the ones that apply to cable and phone companies.

The patchwork of rules applied to cable and telephone companies, and the arduous task of trying to update them for Internet service providers, seems like the least effective - and certainly least efficient - route.

The issue, naturally, has been demagogued by partisans...who acknowledge or understand few of the critical details or consequences. ... But the problems posed by reclassifying service providers as common carriers, and by applying a sprawling new regulatory scheme...present risks of a different, yet still damaging, sort.  MORE

Wait! What's this? A last-minute spoiler? Julian Hattem explains the "drama":

A Democrat on the...Commission wants to see changes that could narrow the scope of [the] rules. ... Mignon Clyburn, one of three Democrats on the FCC, has asked Chairman Tom Wheeler to roll back some of his provisions.

Clyburn’s objections complicate the highly anticipated vote and add an extra bit of drama. ... Wheeler will need the votes of both Clyburn and Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel to pass the rules.

[Clyburn] wants to eliminate a new legal category of “broadband subscriber access services,” [which] could make it trickier for the FCC to police...“interconnection” arrangements [and] would replace...a catchall rule for any future behavior that might abuse consumers...with potentially narrower language from 2010 rules. ... The requested changes come as FCC lawyers are spending hours poring over the text.  MORE

And Finally…
Oliver breaks the Internet [mildly NSFW]

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don't have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or itbw@richi.uk. Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

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