Last week, I told you about FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s disastrous proposal, which would’ve effectively put an end to net neutrality – and the internet – as we know it.
The FCC took a ton of well-deserved heat for its plan, as nearly everyone who wasn’t an internet service provider realized what a terrible deal they’d be getting if the proposal were accepted.
The outrage culminated in a letter from dozens of internet companies asking the FCC not to make the ill-advised move toward a more-or-less deregulated internet. At issue, primarily, was the fact that the FCC would allow for internet “fast lanes” that would benefit the privileged few companies that could afford such treatment.
Hopefully, you were one of the many readers who spoke your mind to Chairman Wheeler. If you told the FCC that you were opposed to a discriminatory internet, I congratulate you.
The good news is that, yesterday, the Chairman admitted that he’s taken notice of the nearly universal backlash sparked by his initial proposal.
And as a token of his condolence, Wheeler has submitted a revised proposal that he hopes will placate his many critics, while (presumably) also catering to the service providers that he’s in bed with.
The revision was distributed yesterday, so what can Americans expect from the Wheeler proposal version 2.0?
A Flimsy Correction
Not much, as it turns out. Remember: Wheeler is a corporate shill… and his “revisions” are incredibly insufficient. But don’t take my word for it. CNET, for example, says that the new proposal is “not a dramatic revision of Wheeler’s [original] proposal.”
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And The Wall Street Journal says that Mr. Wheeler is “sticking to the same basic approach” as he did in the first proposal – though the latest version will “seek comment” on whether paid prioritization should be banned outright.
Perhaps I should be pleased that the FCC Chair has (sort of) admitted to his first proposal’s shortcomings. At best, the new proposal bans some, but not all, internet fast lanes – even though the FCC would maintain its power to review any prioritization deals.
Frankly, though, this is an insulting response to the overwhelming criticism faced by the initial proposal. The revision appears to be nothing more than Wheeler pandering, with a vague assurance that the Commission will somehow, at some point, definitely (maybe) make sure that abuse (probably) won’t take place… I guess.
On top of that, Wheeler has refused to delay Thursday’s vote on the petition in question, despite pleas from two of the five FCC commissioners. A delay could’ve given the agency time to craft a more comprehensive solution that’s aligned with the demands of pretty much everyone who isn’t an internet service provider.
As one FCC official told The Wall Street Journal, “There is a wide feeling on the eighth floor that this is a debacle, and I think people would like to see a change of course. We may not agree on the course, but we agree [that] the road we’re on is a disaster.”
Here’s to hoping that Wheeler will soon see this situation in the same light as the rest of America. The power to make the right decision is in his hands.
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