Despite the crushing defeat the Democrats took in the midterms, Barack Obama took aggressive measures Monday on the issue of net neutrality. The president called for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to increase its regulatory authority over the broadband industry by reclassifying internet service providers as utilities under Title II of the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Internet service providers would be controlled by the FCC just as other public utilities or common carriers, such as a landline phone network.
The idea that Obama wants a free and open internet and acts in our best interest is utter hypocrisy. Earlier this year he decided to give up control of the administration of the internet, handing over responsibility for the IP numbering network (ICANN) and domain name system (DNS) to the United Nations. The United States had controlled this since 1998.
The term “net neutrality” is Orwellian in nature and translates to price controls and dictating private contracts. It culminates in consumers paying higher prices for less quality. Additionally, if the internet becomes a public utility, the content can then be controlled. Net neutrality and this latest proposition is a classic example of big government vs. small government; make a choice. When the government takes over control of any entity, consumers ultimately suffer the consequences, even if the initial proposal is cloaked in a word like “neutrality”.
Obama said in a statement Monday: “To put these protections in place, I’m asking the FCC to reclassifying internet service under Title II of a law known as the Telecommunications Act. In plain English, I’m asking [the FCC] to recognize that for most Americans, the internet has become an essential part of everyday communication and everyday life.”
Cable and telecom companies have fought tirelessly to keep profitable internet business free from regulation, this maneuver by Obama will dramatically effect them if the FCC agrees to the terms. Net neutrality advocates who want to stop ISPs from blocking internet traffic or throttling bandwidth, slowing connection speeds.
Net neutrality supporters have argued that any rules that don’t include full reclassification are destined to fail in court, according to the Wall Street Journal. Both sides have said that litigation is very likely, regardless on what rules the FCC adopts.
Read the entire statement by Obama – HERE.
The NFL can’t seem to catch a break these days.
The Federal Communications Commission did away with the sports blackout rule Tuesday. That means cable and satellite TV providers can begin airing games regardless of how many tickets have been sold. The NFL says the blackout rule is necessary to ensure attendance at games remains high.
In a unanimous 5-0 vote, the commission eliminated the regulation that was implemented in 1975. Regulators and many lawmakers say it unfairly punishes football fans.
“It’s a simple fact, the federal government should not be party to sports teams keeping their fans from viewing the games — period,” Democratic FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said. “For 40 years these teams have hidden behind a rule of the FCC. No more. Everyone needs to be aware of who allows blackouts to exist, and it is not the Federal Communications Commission.”
With the NFL’s highly publicized problems with domestic violence among some of its star players, and a renewed focus on the leagues tax status and anti-trust exemption, the FCC ruling is the equivalent of a sack that sets up a 4th and long. But if the NFL’s statement immediately following the ruling is any indication, the league intends to stay on offense.
“NFL teams have made significant efforts in recent years to minimize blackouts,” the NFL responded in a statement Tuesday. “The NFL is the only sports league that televises every one of its games on free, over-the-air television. The FCC’s decision will not change that commitment for the foreseeable future.”