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