Guest Post: Who Owns the Internet

On Dec. 14, Federal Communications Commission Chairman (former Verizon lawyer) Ajit Pai, and FCC Commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Brendan Carr voted to strip Internet Service Providers (ISP) of their ‘Common Carrier’ status, effectively handing the Internet to the largest Internet Service Providers in the country: Comcast, AT&T, Charter Spectrum, CenturyLink, Verizon (wireless); a few others.  These multi-billion dollar Corporations will become the ‘Gatekeepers’ of the internet.  They will determine who gets ‘fast-lane’ service, who doesn’t, and how much people and/or businesses pay for privileges the ISPs will now dispense with absolute autonomy.   

The Internet as we know it becomes ‘pay to play’, not on one level as before: (monthly access) but on several levels: (Access, Content, Upload/Download Speed, Prime-Time and other imaginable categories; each could be dispensed in ‘fee-for-services’ packages, much like Cable TV.  ISPs may even be allowed to determine which content will be allowed to pass thru the pipes at which times – or even whether specific content may pass at all.  

Thanks to Congressional pressure and our Department of Justice, Comcast was granted permission to merge (vertically integrate) with NBC Universal.  Comcast will now be able to prioritize NBC content over other content, say:  YouTube content.  If YouTube wants the fast lane, Google will have to pay a premium (they can afford it).  If I want the fast lane for my content… I can fish.   Remember:  ISP giants claim the FCC action will stimulate competition – In fact the FCC vote does the opposite.  The giants are already virtual monopolies.  People do not have a real choice among ISP providers because the ISPs have divided the country into territories, and each operates as a virtual monopoly within its own territory.  These business models make JD Rockefeller and JPMorgan look like amateurs. 

Expect to see ‘Content and Website’ packaging, much like Cable TV packages.  Bronze Package – Pay.  Silver Package – Pay more.  Content will be bundled.  For example:  Internet Search engines may be bundled and sold as a package.  Music and Video bundles.  Sports bundles.  Pay by subscription… every month… millions and millions of users and content distributors… Pay every month or go home.   The Ultimate Racket. 

In the United States, a common carrier is defined as a person or company that transports goods or people for any (other) person or company and who/which is responsible for any loss goods during transport.  Common Carriers by law must hold themselves out to provide services to the general public without discrimination.   In the United States, common carriers include  airlines, railroads, taxis, bus-lines, freight-companies, cruise-lines, phone companies, and internet service providers (ISP).  

Common Carriers are ‘Regulated’ for a reason.  There is a significant ‘public good’ at stake here and people understand that. 24 million complaints were filed with the FCC over this issue.  Congressional Representatives are receiving  ‘opposition’ comments at a rate “Several-Thousand” to “One”.  The President of the United States and the majority of FCC Commissioners say ‘Don’t Regulate The ISP’.   Senator Steve Daines and Congressman Greg Gianforte say ‘Don’t Regulate The ISP’.  Where is our Representative Democracy?  Who are they Representing? 

These government officials are acting opposite the best interests of the majority of people who elected them to office.  This is political corruption – in our faces – with impunity. 

-Jack OBrien, Butte MT

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37 Comments on "Guest Post: Who Owns the Internet"

  1. An open message to Gianforte, Daines, and Zinke. Who needs to be sppon fed your right wing malarky which will happened via a pro wingnut internet provider. The minute my connection is slowed down is the minute I cancel my service. I got along just fine for over 60 years without the internet, and I can get along just fine now without it. Go stick that in yourcTrump and sit on it.

  2. Just one more example of the MT GOP millionaires and the GOP in general selling out the people who vote for them. IF the world was honest…GOP voters would just get a punch in the balls or the Trump Grabbing part the moment they vote – instead of waiting month esfor the GOP to steal their health care, raise their taxes, cut their protections and make sure they can pay more for the internet to make their backers even richer.

  3. I agree with one point Abraham that there will be a right wingnut internet provider. It will be Rupert Murdoch with his new found mega wealth of 52 billion from selling 20th Century Fox to Disney. But he didn’t sell Fox News which nightly seems to think Hillary Clinton is actually president and wants her locked up. I am also in my 60’s and did get along without the internet but facing facts sir the world now runs on the internet. These big communication companies argument has been just because we can charge more doesn’t mean we will. Ask me how that has worked on my TV cable bill for last couple years.

  4. If you live close enough to town get on of those new antennas, you can always get addition channels besides local abc, nbc, cbs, I get 6 others and pbs. Who reall needs umpteen million channels anyway, if enough people pulled the plug seehow fast they would change their tune.

  5. If you live close enough to town get on of those new antennas, you can always get addition channels besides local abc, nbc, cbs, I get 6 others and pbs. Who reall needs umpteen million channels anyway, if enough people pulled the plug seehow fast they would change their tune.

    • ??
      the story is about the INTERNET, not cable TV vs broadcast.

      • Abraham’s point is valid when you consider Cable TV and Internet are carried on the same communication pipes owned by Spectrum or Comcast or other (mostly non-wireless) infrastructure. They own the pipelines: So a boycott of cable tv would be an appropriate response although I don’t expect people will cut their umbilical cords.

  6. If they seek to destroy the internets toobz, the ones who built it in the first place will just create another. We always find ways around the blockages. Verizon should loose any customer who cares about this since Ajit is their boy.

    • Alas, the ones who built it in the first place were academics funded by the feds (thru military research outfit). We can’t always find ways around blockages created by monopolies. I cut the cable cord years ago, why should I pay a fee to watch content soaked in advertising? Internet will go the same way if net neutrality is not restored.

  7. Net Neutrality=censorship of the right.

    As demonstrated by the first few comments here.

    • Stupid is how stupid does. Care to explain how net netrality censors the right. Your comment ranks right up there Trumps attempt to nominate judges with absolutely no experience, you wouldn’t happen to be one would you.

      • To preview Net Neutrality go on the internet in China.

        To taste a future without net neutrality, try browsing the web in Beijing. China’s internet, provided through telecom giants aligned with the Communist Party, is a digital dystopia, filtered by the vast censorship apparatus known as China’s Great Firewall. Some sites load with soul-withering slowness, or not at all. Others appear instantly. Content vanishes without warning or explanation. The culprit is rarely knowable. A faulty Wi-Fi router? A neighborhood power failure? Commercial sabotage? A clampdown on political dissent? To most Chinese netizens, the reason matters little. They simply gravitate to the few sites that aren’t slowed or blocked entirely: the Chinese counterparts of Facebook, Google, and Twitter. But these Chinese platforms come with heavy government surveillance and censorship by corporate and party apparatchiks. For the Communist Party and its commercial allies, this is win-win, cementing respective monopolies on political markets and consumer power.

    • Everybody’s internet service suffers by ending net neutrality. Left, right and center. Only the wealthiest sites and wealthiest users will be able to afford access to what they want. What little of it that’s left standing, that is.

      Quit your sniveling, snowflake.

      • You are correct, politics of the right,middle,left and upside down is irrelevant to net neutrality. It is a question of access to information and who will be the gatekeepers of that information. It truly effects ALL sides. It is bad enough that Google owns the world of Searching the internet, now, even if you can find alternative information sources, with net neutrality gone, you can be restricted from even accessing it.
        Welcome to Corp Big Brother.

  8. Maybe now would be a good time to broach the subject of accohntibility. Can legislators or matter of fact a political party be held accountible where the evidence and facts overwhelmingly shows that there actions will cause public harm. And, in face of those facts and evidence, and in order to acheive strictly political aims, go ahead and delibertly pass legislation that causes public harm. Something to think off besides counting the silver once Trump and the wingnuts are out of office.

    • Daines is with Oracle (the source of his wealth) on net neutrality. I checked his financial disclosure and it looks like he sold all his Oracle stock. But he is still Oracle’s landlord in Bozeman. He pretzelizes himself trying to defend his opposition to net neutrality.

  9. I am taking note of my internet bill right now and I will check it again in 12and 36 months-any increase I will maths 2-1 as a donation to the Democratic Activist group oust effective fighting them at that time. Also not, this morning AT&T I think it was sent 4500 union workers their notice that their job was leaving. Sigh. A sign of things to come?

  10. Grr, typing on my iPad, forgive the spilling. I will MATCH 2-1 to group MOST effective and NOTE the layoffs.

    • Those layoffs are more signs of winning, believe me!

      • The old 3 biggest lies have been revised: The new ones are 1. The $ will trickle down, it’s on the way! 2. There was NO COLLUSION with Russia and finally the greatest lie of all times= 3. BELIEVE ME!

  11. The destruction of the America I knew going back to Truman,started with the Citizens United decision. Remember Mitt saying corporations are people? This action by the FCC coupled with what looks like the inevitable passage of the corporate welfare tax relief act next week signal the end of the process.

    • Not saying your are wrong about any of the other stuff but I think this is the beginning of the process.

      Pretty soon will need to cut spending because…….. Godamm!!!! The Deficit is out of control and sheeeeyit, the Debt just blew past 30 trillion.

      Better cut those entitlements. The ones we already paid for.

    • Destruction of America? Apparently you haven’t checked your IRA lately, talked to a small business owner or looked at the GDP (and the projected GDP of 4%!!). Good God, we wallowed around without direction or a real leader for 8 years dividing the country based on race and the haves versus have-nots, and now you’re bitching about the destruction of America? If this is the destruction of America, I might just have to vote for the Cheeto next time around.

      • The only reason this country was divided by race is because racists like you became much more vocally obvious once there was a black man in the White House.

        • Bwahahaha! Seriously, the race card is all you’ve got? What a troll. Yeah, I’m such a racist, I voted for the liar Obama the first time around.

          • You voted for Obama? Yeah, riiiight!!

          • Bwahahaha! “the race card” is all you’ve got as a riposte? Go fish.

            • Ahh. In other words, “I don’t have an IRA.” The fact you can’t recognize that the economy took off like a rocket at the mere changing of the dolt in the WH speaks volumes of your bias. Jesus fucking christ, consumer confidence and small business sentiment did a complete 180 when the cheeto came into office. So you guys sit around and bitch and call names– they got you right where they want you. Art OUT!

              • The economy did not take off like a rocket. The stock market got more amped, as Wall Street started salivating over tax cuts and pocketing more money, but the economy remains about the same as it did under Obama. The stock market did pretty good under Obama.

              • Yes, the job and investment markets have continued the recovery started during the Obama administration in spite of the incompetent-in-chief’s attempt to undo all the good things Obama accomplished for America.

  12. Old grouchy guy has it right….he said exactly how I feel. Thank you!

  13. Using human disease as an analogy , all the concerns mentioned above are symptoms of nontransparent corporate funding of our political system. The supreme court’s Citizens United decision finalized the 150 year process of defining corporations as people. Regardless of one’s personal political leanings I suggest everyone visit the site “Move to Amend.org”, become informed and join this effort. And encourage Senater Tester to amend his proposed corporate personhood bill to this format and immediately become a senate sponsor moving this issue to the forfront. This will be a long amendment battle but we have to start somewhere.

  14. Another step in T rump’s war against a free press and an informed public!

  15. Please change email address to al@alcm.us

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