What a disappointment — did you ever think that the guillotine stroke for net neutrality would come from the left side of the Congressional aisle? Firedoglake discusses a clueless bill, proposed by California Democrat Henry Waxman — it’s a compromise which allows the FCC to dispense fines of up to $2 million to punish rule-breaking broadband providers. The problem is, that’s far too small a sum to actually matter:
Henry Waxman has been trying to enshrine the terrible compromise promulgated by Google and Verizon into law, by pushing a truly terrible bill on broadband that strips the FCC of rulemaking and classification ability, and gives wireless Internet providers carte blanche to discriminate in favor of their products.
The FCC would not be able to reclassify broadband under Title II of the Communications Act, which three commissioners on the five-member panel have publicly expressed a preference for in the past. The FCC would get to ask nicely to the House and Senate Commerce Committees for additional authority to implement the National Broadband Plan, also at risk under current broadband classification, which was put into place under the Bush Administration.
The Waxman bill again treats “wireline” and “wireless” broadband differently, even though the only difference is that the growth and the future of the Internet lies entirely in wireless. While wireline net neutrality would get enshrined into the law, no such restrictions would be bestowed upon wireless broadband.
This mirrors the Google-Verizon deal. It allows blocking over wireless broadband any peer-to-peer activity or even applications, and merely forces “transparency” rather than a ban on discrimination of lawful traffic. An unnamed source in the National Journal story gets this right: “This bill represents a giant retreat by some of those who claim to support net neutrality and sends the wrong signal to the FCC who will ultimately deal with this issue.”
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