Quote of the Day: FCC Chair Pretends to Change Course on Net Neutrality

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From an anonymous FCC official:

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 the road we’re on is to disaster.

The debacle in question is the proposal by FCC chair Tom Wheeler that would gut net neutrality by allowing big companies to pay ISPs for faster internet service. Wheeler’s proposal has provoked a massive backlash, and he’s now promising revisions:

The new language by FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to be circulated as early as Monday is an attempt to address criticism of his proposal….In the new draft, Mr. Wheeler is sticking to the same basic approach but will include language that would make clear that the FCC will scrutinize the deals to make sure that the broadband providers don’t unfairly put nonpaying companies’ content at a disadvantage, according to an agency official.

….[An agency] official said the draft would also seek comment on whether such agreements, called “paid prioritization,” should be banned outright, and look to prohibit the big broadband companies, such as Comcast Corp. and AT&T Inc., from doing deals with some content companies on terms that they aren’t offering to others.

Mr. Wheeler’s language will also invite comments on whether broadband Internet service should be considered a public utility, which would subject it to greater regulation. The FCC has so far not reclassified broadband as a utility, and providers have fiercely opposed such a move, saying it would cause innovation and investment to collapse.

Color me unimpressed. A promise that the FCC will “scrutinize” deals is basically worthless, and inviting comments on reclassifying broadband internet service will lead nowhere if Wheeler himself doesn’t support it—which he doesn’t. This looks mostly like smoke and mirrors to me.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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