Why Title II Reclassification for Net Neutrality Is the Biggest Deal Ever
Why Title II Reclassification for Net Neutrality Is the Biggest Deal Ever
By Free Press / freepress.net

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has confirmed that he will base new Net Neutrality rules on Title II of the Communications Act. He described those rules as "the strongest open Internet protections ever proposed by the FCC."

Three weeks remain until the full Commission votes on the proposal at its Feb. 26 meeting. But if all goes well, it will be a watershed victory for activists who have fought for a decade to protect the open Internet.

Creating policy change is hard. It’s often incremental and marked with smaller victories that involve lots of tradeoffs and compromises. But if you can get all the way down to the root of a problem, real progress can occur.

There’s a reason the Net Neutrality fight has been all about Title II over the last year. Our communications networks have always worked thanks to the principle that carriers shouldn’t be allowed to discriminate unreasonably against users, and that everyone needs legal protections to transmit the information of their choosing between points of their choosing. Only Title II gives the FCC the legal foundation it needs to guarantee such protections and carry them over to broadband.

Even the most vitriolic opponents of Net Neutrality have recently tried to co-opt the language of open Internet activists, saying they oppose fast lanes (even while they push legislation that would strip the FCC of its ability to protect Internet users).

The key, as it always is for politicians and policymakers, is not what they say but what they do. If folks like Rep. Fred Upton and Sen. John Thune were really for Net Neutrality, they’d realize that Title II is the source for the principles we’ve always had — and still need today — for our communications networks.

The Internet has flourished because it’s built on a level playing field. But over the last decade, the FCC has made blunder after blunder in its attempts to protect that openness. The trouble began when industry lobbying pushed the agency to declare that broadband providers no longer provided “telecommunications services” but “information services” — pretty much the same as any website or application. In other words, the FCC erased the line between the network and the speech that travels over the network.

Our speech and the information we send to each other aren’t subject to the FCC rules that prevent carriers from discriminating online — but those broadband networks sure need to be. The FCC tried to have it both ways, keeping some protections in place for broadband users while ignoring the law and giving away its source of authority in Title II for those protections.

That’s why the FCC twice lost in court on its previous Net Neutrality rules — not because the rules were bad, but because the FCC offered the wrong justification for them. The last decade of debate and attempted policy fixes all stemmed from this FCC mistake.

As the saying goes, when one door closes another one opens. Last January, when the court struck down the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Order, it gave us the outcome we needed to go forward and do it right this time. No more shaky legal compromises rooted in industry agendas, with lies about the law and false promises of deregulation underpinning those patchwork-quilt attempts.

Within two weeks of the decision, over a million people (the first of several million to take action last year) urged the FCC to fix the problem. The message: Just do Title II.

Title II doesn’t just restore the principles of nondiscrimination that have served as the bedrock of two-way telecommunications policy in the U.S. It also gives the FCC the authority it needs to preserve universal and affordable access, competition and consumer protections for broadband users. Like Net Neutrality, these foundational principles are at the core of our communications needs for the next century and beyond.

With Title II we have the legal authority we need to win the battles that are coming around the bend. Congress will try to tear this victory down. ISPs will search for ways to skirt the law — and they’ll sue to overturn it. But we’ll stand on the strongest legal footing possible to win in Congress and in the courts.

If the FCC votes to reclassify under Title II, it will be one of the greatest public policy victories in decades — because it's not a defensive move. Title II is the law the FCC should have applied all along, and reclassification is a proactive push to protect the rights of Internet users at a time when companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon are trying to control the market and strengthen their monopoly status.

A Title II win will prove that organized people can trump organized dollars — and that industry’s half-assed attempts to co-opt grassroots language are no match for theinnovative tactics of true Net Neutrality activists.

As the details of the FCC’s rules emerge over the next three weeks, the push from the cable and phone industries will become even more aggressive. There will be enormous pressure on the FCC to weaken its proposal before the final vote on Feb. 26. And there’s plenty to watch out for as the details come to light. (The devil is always in the details.)

But no one should underestimate the significance of a victory on Title II. Everything else we want grows from this win.

0.0 ·
What's Next
Trending Today
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 17,087 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
No Moral Superpower: Arundhati Roy, Edward Snowden, and the Crimes of Empire
Jake Johnson · 9,563 views today · When Arundhati Roy was preparing, in 2014, for a trip to Moscow to meet Edward Snowden, she was troubled by two things. One of them was the fact that the meeting was arranged...
Dinosaur explains Trump policies better than Trump!
8 min · 9,400 views today · Donald Trump is actually the corporate triceratops, Mr. Richfield, from the 90's TV show sitcom, "Dinosaurs". 
Noam Chomsky Has 'Never Seen Anything Like This'
Chris Hedges · 5,659 views today · Noam Chomsky is America’s greatest intellectual. His massive body of work, which includes nearly 100 books, has for decades deflated and exposed the lies of the power elite...
And After the Election, The Reaction
Ret Marut · 4,156 views today · Could there be any better illustration of the shortcomings of representative democracy than this year’s Presidential campaign? For months upon tiresome months, the whole world...
Men Loving Men
Bianca Vivion · 3,373 views today · When my father was seven he and his best friend Phil cut their index fingers open and placed them together to create a “blood pact” that they would always be brothers. To this...
'The Climate of Fear Is Unacceptable' - Ken Loach on I, Daniel Blake
6 min · 3,104 views today · Ken Loach’s Palme d’Or-winning film I, Daniel Blake tells the story of a man who is denied disability benefit after a heart attack and who is then subsequently caught in a...
What Makes Call-Out Culture So Toxic
Asam Ahmad · 2,341 views today · Call-out culture refers to the tendency among progressives, radicals, activists, and community organizers to publicly name instances or patterns of oppressive behaviour and...
Writers Tom Hayden and Naomi Klein Talk About Journalism and Activism
27 min · 2,109 views today · Author, Activist and Former California State Senator Tom Hayden talks in depth with the author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein, about the state of the fourth...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,910 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Forget Shorter Showers: Why Personal Change Does Not Equal Political Change (2015)
11 min · 1,838 views today · Would any sane person think dumpster diving would have stopped Hitler, or that composting would have ended slavery or brought about the eight-hour workday; or that chopping...
Three Massive Mergers - Millions for One Bank and a Disaster for Food, Water, and Climate
Wenonah Hauter · 1,685 views today · In addition to advising on all three mega-mergers, Credit Suisse is playing a big role behind the scenes of the Dakota Access pipeline.
25 Mind-Twisting Optical Illusion Paintings by Rob Gonsalves
Dovas · 1,495 views today · The beautiful and mind-bending illusions in Canadian artist Robert Gonsalves’ paintings have a fun way of twisting your perception and causing you to question what in his...
Grow Heathrow: Residents Resisting Eviction Over 3rd Runway
4 min · 1,230 views today · On March 1st 2010 Transition Heathrow members swooped on an abandoned market garden site in Sipson; one of the villages to be completely tarmacked to make way for a third...
Social Geographer Shows How Much of You is Determined by Where You're From
3 min · 985 views today · The Professor of Geography examines social inequality and the geodemographics of the UK, using maps created by Oliver O'Brien (UCL, CASA) in 2012 and updated in 2015. You can...
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into a Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 736 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
A Beautiful Reflection on What It Means to Be Human
8 min · 660 views today · Hello! We are Oh Wonder, a musical duo from London. We believe that everyone is equal. We are all human. We all deserve the world. And we can build that equality by sharing...
Speaking Out Against Australia's Unforgiving Refugee Policy
42 min · 614 views today · The Forgotten Children: More than a hundred child refugees are stuck in asylum limbo on the island of Nauru as a result of Australia's harsh and unsympathetic border policies...
Heartbreaking Animation Reveals Plight of Animals Under Threat of Extinction
3 min · 599 views today · This stunning and heartbreaking animation gives voice to animals under threat from human activity. Made as part of the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, it features a...
The Top 100 Documentaries We Can Use to Change the World
Films For Action · 555 views today · A more beautiful, just and sustainable world is possible. Take this library and use it to inspire global change!
Load More
Like us on Facebook?
Why Title II Reclassification for Net Neutrality Is the Biggest Deal Ever