FCC, Franken Hammer Away at Google-Verizon Proposals

FCC commissioner Michael Copps denounced the broadband regulatory proposals released by Google and Verizon last week at the Free Press-sponsored Future of the Internet forum in Minneapolis on Thursday. Copps said that those proposals were designed both companies’ interests and not to support net neutrality

Copps also took issue with the fact that the deal attempts to diminish the FCC’s authority to impose net neutrality rules and excludes wireless broadband services from any rules the FCC might make. He cited media consolidation and a decline in quality programming on broadcast channels as evidence that cable companies and content providers "can’t be trusted to place the public’s interests ahead of their own."

"These very big, very powerful, very wealthy companies pronounced to Capitol Hill, the FCC and the public that they have now agreed upon a policy framework that will work for the benefit of the American people," Copps said. "Of course it wasn’t developed with input from the American people, but it is, they assure us, for the American people. It’s ‘trust us,’ one more time."

Copps went on to say that it is the FCC’s job to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service because this will protect consumers against discrimination and consolidation in the broadband industry. He called out "managed services" provisions in the Google-Verizon deal as well, saying that they open the door to a tiered Internet where those with money can pay for faster access and a better quality of service.

"Here’s the real kicker. The Verizon-Google Gaggle wants to build a world of private Internets that would vastly diminish the centrality of the Internet that you and I know," Copps said. "They want a tiered Internet. ‘Managed services’ is what they call this. ‘Gated communities for the Affluent’ is what I call them."

According to Free Press, approximately 750 people attended the rally, along with Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and FCC Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Michael Copps. Clyburn focused on a discussion about expanding broadband Internet access to America, which she believes could bring "equality" to under-represented groups like women and minorities.

Franken also strongly condemned the Google-Verizon proposal at the rally, and urged the FCC to take action to enforce strict net neutrality rules. He also mentioned the Comcast – NBC Universal, saying that the deal would have a negative impact on the marketplace of ideas. Here’s more of what Franken said:

"We can’t let companies write the rules that we the people are supposed to follow," Franken said. "If that happens, those rules will be written only to protect corporations. I urge the FCC to oppose any efforts to undermine Net Neutrality and to impede the flow of information online."

Free Press president Josh Silver also spoke at the event:

"The number of people in the audience tonight, and watching online reminds us all that the debate over the future of the Internet is not just for techies, bloggers or geeks," said Free Press president Josh Silver. "It is about nothing less than the future of all communications and democracy itself…As goes the Internet goes journalism, education, entertainment, community engagement, innovation and our economy."

Source: The Hill

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