Often times we are willing to sit back and let special interest groups fight the battles that have an impact on our lives or livelihoods. However, every once in a while an issue comes to the surface that makes us stand up and say enough.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has proposed changes that will provide broadband internet to remote locations. While on the surface these changes appear to be positive ones, buried in these proposed changes is the very power the government has been seeking. The power to regulate the internet and the content that is on it. The regulation is being disguised as Telecom Policy.
With my several years at telecom companies like Cable and Wireless, once based outside of Washington DC, I immediately recognized this policy as anything but Telecom regulation. Since the FCC recently lost a major court case against Comcast regarding Internet traffic discrimination, the FCC Chairman has decided to move forward with a proposal that would, in essence, put the Internet under the control of telecommunications policy, or Title II, as Hill Insiders refer to it. The Chairman’s legal scholar, Austin Schlick, wrote a paper on the subject titled: “A Third-Way Legal Framework for Addressing the Comcast Dilemma” (find it on www.fcc.gov). In this “third” approach, instead of “heavy-handed Internet regulation,” as Genachowski puts it, only the “transmission component of broadband access service” – and only this component – “would be under telecommunications service.”
According to Schlick, only a handful of Title II provisions are needed. Dissenters include Republican Commissioners Robert McDowell and Meredith Attwell Baker, who called the action “disappointing” and “deeply concerning” in a joint statement. They wrote, “This is neither a light-touch approach nor a third way. Instead, it is a stark departure from the long-established bipartisan framework for addressing broadband regulation that has led to billions in investment and untold consumer opportunities. It also poses serious ramifications across the globe.” In all fairness to Chairman Genachowski, he has a very difficult job. However, some in D.C. consider this an AT&T vs. Google fight. Google wants the FCC to take a regulatory approach; AT&T does not.
I have never cared for the alarmist with a chicken little “the sky is falling” mentality. However, one thing is certain, if you are a broadcaster that streams on the internet, you will be directly impacted by these proposed changes and could have your content blocked by the FCC if it is considered by anyone as “questionable”. If you are not a broadcaster but use the internet for lets say Facebook, or MySpace, your accounts could be blocked if you have an opposing view.
The internet is the final frontier. We can take steps to prevent this from happening but we must act now. Call your Congressmen and tell them that you appose any FCC involvement with the internet. Unless action is taken now to stop yet more governmental control, the greatest this global medium will become just another of the administrations “changes” the drive us closer to socialism.
— David Palmer, co-founder of ChristianNetcast.com