FCC’s Secret Meetings on Net Neutrality Anger Activists

According to PC Magazine the Federal Communications Commission held closed door meetings with lobbyists for the country’s top telecoms in Washington on Monday. According to the report lobbyists from AT&T, Verizon, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, and Internet companies like Google and Skype are meeting with the FCC to talk about Net Neutrality. This does not sit well with organizations pushing for Net Neutrality at all – mainly because of the lack of transparency the FCC is showing in holding the meetings in the first place.

The meetings come on the heels of the FCC opening a public comment period last week to figure out how it should proceed regarding broadband Internet regulation. Monday’s meeting included a discussion with lobbyists about how the FCC might avoid changes to Internet regulation rules, but still be able to enforce "net neutrality" rules. Another meeting was scheduled for today.

Consumer group Free Press was very unhappy with the FCC’s meetings:

"It is stunning that the FCC would convene meetings between industry giants to allow them determine how the agency should best protect the public interest," Free Press president and CEO Josh Silver said in a statement. "The Obama administration promised a new era of transparency, and to ‘take a backseat to no one’ on net neutrality, but these meetings seem to indicate that this FCC has no problem brokering backroom deals without any public input or scrutiny."

On the other side of the issue Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg said that his company is willing to find a compromise on federal rules that would prevent it and other broadband Internet service providers from blocking traffic on their networks. He also noted that Verizon does not support what the FCC is trying to do with the "third way." Here’s what he said at the Business Roundtable at the Economic Club of Washington recently:

"We are very concerned that, in attempting to address legitimate issues about access to the Internet, the FCC has proposed basically an unimaginative and overbearing set of rules that essentially tries to retrofit a new industry into an old framework and expand their regulatory reach well beyond what is necessary," Seidenberg said in his speech. "As we’ve said – and as we’ve demonstrated – communications companies will continue to work with the Commission and the other players in the Internet space to protect customers and ensure an open and robust broadband environment. The FCC’s current course of action will really do little to achieve those objectives."

Source: PC Magazine and Washington Post

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  1. 0
    foolkiller79 says:

    "but these meetings seem to indicate that this FCC has no problem brokering backroom deals without any public input or scrutiny."

    Why does this sound familiar?  Oh, because this is what I constantly said would happen if groups like the ECA pushed for the FCC to take on Net Neutrality.  At what cost were you willing to get your net neutrality?  Supporters of net neutrality were so blinded by the rainbows and unicorns idea that they didn’t care what cliff they drove their truck off of to get there.  Welcome to the real world, where trying to cram policy through without open public debate (why are you afraid of it?) via an agency that has zero responsibility to the citizens of this country winds up as a complete and total FUBAR plan. 

    The companies you claimed were the problem are now in closed-door meetings with the people you asked to bind them.  When do the supposed consumer advocacy groups get their closed-door meeting?  If you didn’t see this coming then you have no business trying to play this game.


    GameDrunk – Celebrating our two greatest passions.

  2. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    Its not really democracies fault the public wanting the government break the rule of law for X or Y reason that is petty and unfair because it dose not treat everyone equally allows officials to enrage the public and get them to further decay the foundation of the government thus resulting in a collapse. We have had our modern day depression via the finical collapse only there is noway out of it, sure things are good now as long as Americas debt holders keep extending the debt we will be fine.When they stop extending it we will become Mexico.

    I have a dream, break the chains of copy right oppression! http://zippydsmlee.wordpress.com/2010/05/21/cigital-disobedience/

  3. 0
    ecco6t9 says:

    In a way, yes,

    Corrupted politicians who never leave office until they die. It’s time for term limits and or age limits on both houses of congress. Why are people in their late 60’s to early 80’s making descions on something they themselves do not understand?

  4. 0
    Neeneko says:

    Democracy is how we got into this mess.  Democracy results in weak, easily influenced governments with fickle leaders who will do anything to keep their unstable positions of relative power.

  5. 0
    ecco6t9 says:

    Net Neutrality,Internet Kill Switches,and Metered Internet Access.

    Watch as democracy slowly dies more and more each day.(For the record anyone could be president and this would still be happening.)

  6. 0
    Neeneko says:

     I am getting tired of how weak the US government is.  Compromise?  Governments compromise with other governments, governments should broker compromises between private groups… governments should NOT need to compromise with private companies.

    It should also be pointed out, the ‘old framework’ was extremly succesful, and I see no reason why it should not be applied to these new systems just because they are moving digital information rather then analog.  We would not have the diverse marketplace nor the broad access we have today if telecoms had not been forced to play nice.

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