May 2017 News

The fight for net neutrality is going badly. While this is a topic that doesn’t generate much interest in your average consumer, those with opinions hold them very firmly.

Take Craig Sillman. He’s a Verizon vice president in charge of what’s called “public policy” (ie lobbying), and he’s unhappy with groups that describe themselves as advocates. “public policy”, such as Free Press and Fight for the Future.

Sillman says many of these groups are just there to raise money from their supporters and will say whatever it takes to get their point across.

“You have to understand that there are many advocacy groups that fundraise on this issue,” Sillman said. “So how do you fundraise? You poke people up with outrageous claims. Unfortunately, we live in a time where people have discovered that no matter what is true, you just say things to annoy the grassroots.”

So, is this a trap incident? Something Sillman said behind closed doors? No, oddly enough, this is part of a video recently released by Verizon. It’s what you might call a “fake news” video in which an apparent Verizon employee identified only as “Jeremy” questions Sillman as if he were a reporter.

But despite Sillman’s rather selfish claim, nonprofit advocacy groups aren’t the only ones worrying about the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman’s plan to deepen six net neutrality rules – and not everyone is motivated by financial reasons.

“Open and equal access”

“The Internet must remain open and accessible to everyone,” Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said in a statement. recent statement. “Open and equal access to the Internet is crucial for information sharing and competition. The FCC’s proposal would allow Internet service providers to pick winners and losers from content providers and their customers. I urge the FCC commissioners to vote against this proposal.

Sillman might say Madigan is just saying what she thinks voters want to hear, but judging from the mail and reader stats which allow websites like ours to count how many people read a given story. , net neutrality is not exactly a hot topic. .

It’s true that conservative interests and Republicans tend to favor the deregulation of big telecom companies like Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast, while Liberals and Democrats generally want to treat them like utilities, regulating tariffs and demanding that all users get the level of service they pay for. for.

In the case of net neutrality, rules put in place by the Obama-era FCC require companies like Verizon to treat all traffic equally. Since Verizon owns AOL, Yahoo, and other content providers, critics say it might tend to favor its own traffic over its competition. This is the allegation that Sillman and new FCC chairman Ajit Pai say is strictly moot and should not be addressed until it becomes an issue.

Critics like Madigan disagree. “Existing net neutrality rules prohibit Internet service providers like AT&T or Comcast from discriminating between customers and content providers. They also ensure that when consumers buy Internet access, they can access the content of their choice without interference and that any website can reach customers without having to negotiate or pay for special access, ”she said. .

What could actually happen if the net neutrality rules were removed? Madigan lists these possibilities:

  • Consumers who are unable or required to pay to access certain websites;
  • Decreased competition as start-ups struggle to access large established companies; and
  • Telecommunications companies that also own media companies that give preferential treatment to the media content they own, put smaller content providers and their customers at a disadvantage.

“No evidence of systemic failure”

FCC Chairman Pai argued that it was not necessary to implement net neutrality rules in the first place.

“There was no evidence of systemic failure in the Internet marketplace. As I said at the time, ‘You could read the entire document … without finding anything more than a hypothesis of harm. . ‘ Or, in other words, regulating utilities was a solution that wouldn’t work for a problem that didn’t exist, ”he said in a speech late last year.

The FCC is expected to vote at its May 18 meeting to remove the new rules. Free Press, one of the groups that drew Sillman’s ire, attempted to raise $ 100,000 to fight the repeal.

“It’s official. Trump and Pai plan to destroy net neutrality,” says the site FreePress.net, insisting that it is not too late. “President Pai could back down further if he wants to leave the dark side.”

The fight for net neutrality is going badly. While this is a topic that doesn’t generate much interest in your average consumer, those with opinions remain …

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About Jennifer Amaro

Jennifer Amaro

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