FCC Is Sorry, But OpenInternet.gov Cannot Be Found

from the what-open-internet? dept

Update: Well, look at that. A few hours after this post went live, OpenInternet.gov magically got redirected to some actual content…

Want to know what the current FCC thinks of an open internet? The FCC used to run a website at OpenInternet.gov, in which it talked up the importance of an open internet. Here’s what the page used to look like:

In that blank blue spot, I believe there was this video of former FCC chair Julius Genachowski highlighting the importance of an open internet.

Of course, as pointed out by Ryan Singel, if you visit OpenInternet.gov right now, it looks like this:
Yes, that’s right: the FCC is sorry, but OpenInternet.gov cannot be found. To be fair, it’s not as if Genachowski ever really did that much to preserve an open internet, preferring to work out a bogus “deal” on open internet principles with Verizon and AT&T, with loopholes large enough to drive much of the internet through — and which were put together so poorly that Verizon (yes, the same Verzion that helped create them in the first place) successfully sued to get the rules thrown out as the FCC going too far. Similarly, new FCC boss Tom Wheeler has a blog post insisting that he too is really committed to an open internet, but we’ve heard that song and dance before.

In the end, it’s more symbolic than anything else. The fact that the FCC has basically shuttered OpenInternet.gov with no forwarding address just kind of highlights how seriously the FCC really seems to take these issues.

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Comments on “FCC Is Sorry, But OpenInternet.gov Cannot Be Found”

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Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Funny how you don’t notice when:

1) it’s either too brief to notice
2) it’s not a service you rely on. Of course, it’s all fun and games until it’s a service YOU rely on.

Similarly, you would barely notice if I took a pint of blood from your body, or $100 from your bank account. But if I kept on doing it, the effects would become more obvious. I suppose you are someone that needs things to be obvious to understand that they matter.

Good for you. Don’t sweat the small stuff!

Ehud Gavron (profile) says:

No power to regulate

Previous poster Violynne correctly pointed out the FCC [currently] has no power to regulate the Internet.

A long time ago the FCC made the specious ruling that Internet service isn’t a common-carrier thing but rather an information service. [Ars covered this recently at http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/01/drop-regulatory-hammer-on-internet-providers-says-former-fcc-commish/ ]

HOWEVER people are now saying “Yes! FCC! Ho! Just reclassify ISPs as common carriers and look! You can then regulate them! Yo!” [stupid exclamatory words and marks all mine]

This will not happen and here’s why. Common carriers have a huge lobbying power and while they are indeed regulated by the FCC they’ve carved out enormous powers and freedoms for themselves. If every ISP was a common carrier, the current carriers would leave skidmarks in their shareholder-shorts.

They have worked long and hard so that the process to become a common carrier requires LENGTHY and EXPENSIVE regulatory and legal work in each and every state.

In case you’re wondering who the current common carriers, they are the BOCs, ILECs, CLECs, IXCs, and their owners. Think ILECs like AT&T, Verizon [Business not Wireless], Frontier, Windstream, CenturyLink, etc. A list of CLECs at
include Integra, TW Telecom, Level3, etc.

These companies would rather not that “anyone who wants to become a carrier can skip all that legal and regulatory work and just offer Inner-net.”

These companies reap tremendous benefits, such as under-priced real-estate in Central Offices, access to building common areas and governmental rights-of-way, and others. THEY DO NOT WANT TO GIVE THAT UP. They have lobbyists to ensure that the US Congress and the Administrations FCC arm know this.

Look to ISPs to remain NOT a common carrier going forward for another ten years.


Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re:

We don’t need net neutrality laws, we need more competition.

Look at Pittsburgh (where I live now). We have at last count 6 different ISPs to choose from all offering broadband (3 DSL, 1 coax, and 2 fiber). When Comcast started capping downloads, never happened here. When the six strikes thing started, never happened here. Bittorrent throttling never happened here. If our ISP pisses us off, we can just say screw them and pick a different one (three of them are confirmed dumb pipes).

Mr. Applegate says:

Re: Re: Re:

While I will agree that competition lessens the need for net neutrality laws at least at the consumer level, competition hardly means Net Netrality laws aren’t needed.

Level 3 is a Tier 1 provider, they sell services to many ISPs that consumers and small to medium businesses use. Should Level 3 decide to limit P2P traffic… the customers who have ISPs that pass traffic to Level 3 would be affected even though the consumer ISP is doing everything it can to be competitive.

This is true even in cases where a consumer ISP has multiple backbone connections to different Tier 1 or Tier 2 carriers. Your ISP may not clamp P2P traffic but if the ISP’s provider does the point is mute. Suppose your ISP uses two Tier 1 providers Company A does not clamp any traffic but Company B does clamp P2P. This could result in your P2P traffic sometimes being limited and other times not bases on which Tier 1 Provider ends up passing the traffic. If it goes out Company A you are fine, if it goes out Company B your throughput suffers.

Then there is the problem of ‘double dipping’. There is a certain well known provider who has been accused of limiting the bandwidth available to Youtube, because they feel Youtube should pay them to pass the traffic. So even though you have paid your provider for an internet connection your provider may choose to limit the traffic if the remote site doesn’t pay up too. Then you get into a situation where a content provider has to pay for the bandwidth twice. They have to pay their ISP for an outgoing connection, then they have to make deals with individual ISPs to prevent them from clamping their traffic. If the content provider doesn’t pay your ISP then their content delivery could suffer even though you already paid for your bandwidth.

So the bottom line is we need Net Neutrality laws to keep a level playing field for everyone. Then you need lots of competition to give the consumer adequate choice to keep consumer providers honest.

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