Why Is The FCC Only Holding Net Neutrality Meetings In DC?

from the there's-a-big-country-out-there dept

On Friday, the FCC announced plans to host a bunch of "open internet roundtable discussions" as it continues to explore the rules that it will put in place. That's a good idea... until you realize that all of the meetings will be held in Washington DC. And, of course, by doing that, it more or less guarantees that the space will be filled by lobbyists and friends, rather than the actual public. EFF is asking the FCC to get out of Washington DC and to talk to real people, rather than just telco insiders -- pointing out that it's done so before and can easily do so again. While I'm sure the big broadband players would still seek out "friendly" seat-fillers at any location around the country, getting the debate outside the beltway would do a lot towards actually getting a more honest discussion going.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 11th, 2014 @ 3:47pm

    'Why?'

    Maybe because they already know who they're interested in listening to, and those people are already in DC?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2014 @ 3:52pm

    that wont happen! just as Obama has supposedly given his strongest desire to keep 'net neutrality', you have to ask 'why did he do that'? if he was sincere on keeping it, why did he put Wheeler into the top position? he either knew or told Wheeler what way to hang, so this is all red herrings!!

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2014 @ 4:57pm

    We care about as much as you can pay.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2014 @ 4:58pm

    Anybody heard of the internet?

    Duh, even if schedules are tight for the Very Serious People maybe they could use that internetty thingywob that they've probably (possibly, maybe?) heard of and have meetings via web presence.

    Unless their internet bills are too high for them to afford anything over 384kb of course. Maybe they could set up a Paypal donations button.

     

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  5.  
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    Paul Brinker, Aug 11th, 2014 @ 5:19pm

    Will everyone associated with a Telco please stand up

    Dear Members of the room, If you are associated with a Telco, please stand up.

    Entire room stands up.

    I think we're done here. Thank you all for coming.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2014 @ 5:54pm

    Re: Anybody heard of the internet?

    However, the big ISPs wouldn't give them fast lane access during that event anyway, and therefore the streaming audio/video would simply buffer the whole time.

    Pointless to even try.

     

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    Whatever (profile), Aug 11th, 2014 @ 6:18pm

    Damn them for holding meetings in the nations capital, in plain view of everyone. Clearly these meetings should have been held in a Holiday Inn express in Boise!

     

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    ECA (profile), Aug 11th, 2014 @ 6:18pm

    move

    Wash DC, was placed in a central location, CHEAP land and so forth...LONG ago..

    LETS MOVE IT..
    its no longer 13 States..

     

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    Zem, Aug 11th, 2014 @ 6:29pm

    In summary

    EFF OFF DC OK

     

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  10.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 11th, 2014 @ 7:05pm

    Re:

    Given the issue affects everyone, not just those few that can travel to DC, yeah, something like this needs to be done on a larger scale.

    Only having the 'discussions' in DC means the only people who will be able to attend, and give their opinions/arguments during the 'discussions', are those few who work there, or have the free time and money to travel there, meaning the public, those most affected by the ultimate outcome, are pretty much out of luck, and without a voice at the table.

    'In plain view' means little when the idea is to discuss things and get differing opinions and arguments. Doesn't do you much good to see what's going on, if you can't do anything to affect it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2014 @ 7:13pm

    Re: move

    LETS MOVE IT..

    To the bottom of the ocean.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2014 @ 7:53pm

    "Discussion" is code word for "corruption"

    There is nothing to discuss. The rules needed to make the Internet be accessible to all websites and protocols equally, and to put into place punishments for ISPs that don't deliver what they promise or that don't obey that neutrality, is all that is needed.

    You don't sit down with a murderer and ask them how they would like to be punished, or how the laws pertaining to murder should be written.

     

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    Coyne Tibbets (profile), Aug 11th, 2014 @ 8:19pm

    Who knew?

    "There's someplace besides D. C.? In the United States? Huh. Who knew?"

     

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    Whatever (profile), Aug 11th, 2014 @ 8:55pm

    Re: Re:

    Doesn't do you much good to see what's going on, if you can't do anything to affect it.

    They have these things called cars, planes, trains, and buses... all of them go to DC. Anyone who wants to go to that city can go, just like any other place in the US.

    No matter what they do (short of going door to door all over the US), the meetings will always be somewhat away from some people. Moreover, going on a nationwide fact finding type mission tends to end up killing the point and turning it into self-supporting and self-justifying process with little in the way of real end of the line results. You can literally consult stuff to death.

    Now, I would agree that they might want to have a session in Silicon Valley, as an example. Then again, most of those guys have the money and the time to go to Washington to whine, or are at least paying professional whiners (lawyers and lobbyists) to do it for them.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Aug 11th, 2014 @ 10:24pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    'Somewhat' is quite different than 'significantly'. By only hosting the meetings in one location, it will always be equally distant to people that might have otherwise been able to go, if there were meetings spread out over the country.

    They wouldn't even need to have too many, half a dozen would give them the ability to have meetings fairly spread out across the US, where if someone really wanted to go, odds are at least one of the meetings would be within a reasonable distance, such that people wouldn't need to take a week off of work, find a plane, and all the fun that goes with that, but could instead drive.

    Then again, most of those guys have the money and the time to go to Washington to whine, or are at least paying professional whiners (lawyers and lobbyists) to do it for them.

    Certainly hope that in the interest of fairness you think the same of the ISP/cable companies and their 'professional whiners'.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2014 @ 10:42pm

    Re: Re: Re:

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2014 @ 11:35pm

    Re: Anybody heard of the internet?

    Will my Paypal donation get a fast lane connection if it's economically reasonable?

     

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  18.  
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    TestPilotDummy, Aug 12th, 2014 @ 1:05am

    another catch 22; don't want to GO to DC cuz it's POLICE STATE

    The Stateless District
    Yeah, that will represent the public interest. Which State of people is being represented here?

    aside: As a kid growing up, I would have LOVED to visit DC.

    But today, I wouldn't ever want to visit DC until all this unconstitutional crap is gone anyway. I want blue skys, and police who don't look like STORM TROOPERS. Talking to congress right now is like finger painting with the enemy. Who knows when you might paint something wrong color and then they backstab ya with the NDAA or other crap.

    Perfect for them. They'll never have to waste their time listening to it.

     

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  19.  
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    Whatever (profile), Aug 12th, 2014 @ 2:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Certainly hope that in the interest of fairness you think the same of the ISP/cable companies and their 'professional whiners'.

    I consider all professional whiners the same, regardless of their bosses. I think that people on all sides generally whine, rather than working to get anything done. So yeah, they are all about the same.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2014 @ 4:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That would explain you.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2014 @ 6:02am

    So Occupy DC could muster enough people to make an impact but the net neutrality forces cannot? Maybe its the commitment, not the location which is the problem.

    The ACLU, CDT and Public Knowledge are all in DC. Of course, PK founder, Gigi Sohn now works for the FCC Commissioner (revolving door?) so perhaps PK has now changed sides.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2014 @ 7:39am

    For all due credit, Washington DC is a common place for government organizations like the FCC to hold meetings. The location is also close to Ashburn, VA which is a major network hub on the East Coast and has many companies from Telecom to Service providers, so it will hopefully have both major sides of the debate.
    Ideally, I would like to see them also hold a meeting or two on the West Coast, but as you stated it wouldn't stop lobbyists from having a presence either way.

     

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  23.  
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    Michael, Aug 12th, 2014 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re: Re:

    They have these things called cars, planes, trains, and buses... all of them go to DC. Anyone who wants to go to that city can go, just like any other place in the US.

    Unless, of course, you find yourself one of the large percentage of people on the terrorist watch list with no terrorist affiliations, then you can go f*** yourself.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2014 @ 8:08am

    Actually, it makes a lot of sense. There is no need for the government to waste millions of dollars (as you have often reminded us in the past) to travel all over the place to get public input, when the lobbyists and corporations will spend the travel costs willingly to get to DC if they're not already there. Plus, you are assuming those DC lobbyists would not attend if the conference were elsewhere, which is not even close to a valid assumption. You can be sure that Comcast will be there, no matter where it's held. I'm tired of hearing about government waste. Let the private sector fund the travel.

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 12th, 2014 @ 9:01am

    Re:

    "The location is also close to Ashburn, VA which is a major network hub on the East Coast and has many companies from Telecom to Service providers, so it will hopefully have both major sides of the debate."

    Sigh. You've overlooked the most important side of the debate: the people. There are more than two sides, you know.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2014 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re:

    How many comments were made to the FCC discussion? Now imagine trying to have a legitimate debate with over a million people, some of which would probably submit another Dishwasher manual. Not trying to sound critical, but it just seems almost impossible to include everyone with a vested interest. What is need is an educated debate on the limits of corporations and government and where the line is drawn. Perhaps a good webcast for the general public and allow public interest groups to participate (which I'm sure they are) would be a much more feasible answer.

     

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  27.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Aug 12th, 2014 @ 9:59am

    Re: Re: Re:

    " it just seems almost impossible to include everyone with a vested interest."

    This is true. However, the approach that is being taken is to pretty much exclude the most important stakeholder completely. That doesn't seem right, either.

    I agree that this is a large problem. It could be solved if our government were actually functioning properly (so our representatives actually, you know, represented the people).

    I have no short-term fix for this.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2014 @ 1:10pm

    .... but the public will just get in the way of real negotiations, since everything they want is counter to what the real negotiators are putting in place.

     

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