It's All But Assured That the FCC Will Vote in Favor of Worthless Net Neutrality Plan

Late last night, the fate was sealed for the completely toothless Net Neutrality proposal that's being batted around. With the announcement that FCC swing voter, commissioner Michael Copps, would vote in favor of the plan, it became a near certainty that the plan would pass when the commission votes on the matter later today.

The plan, proposed by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, is being widely criticized for being too weak. As Free Press campaign director Timothy Karr writes in the Huffington Post:

The rule is so riddled with loopholes that it's become clear that this FCC chairman crafted it with the sole purpose of winning the endorsement of AT&T and cable lobbyists, and not defending the interests of the tens of millions of Internet users.

For the first time in history of telecommunications law the FCC has given its stamp of approval to online discrimination.

Instead of a rule to protect Internet users' freedom to choose, the Commission has opened the door for broadband payola - letting phone and cable companies charge steep tolls to favor the content and services of a select group of corporate partners, relegating everyone else to the cyber-equivalent of a winding dirt road.

Furthermore, the plan exempts the mobile Internet from Net Neutrality protections, meaning that  no one will be able to stop mobile companies like AT&T and and Verizon from being the sole gatekeepers to mobile access.

Karr points out that this move represents yet another Obama promise not kept:

Internet users deserve far better, and we thought we were going to get it from a president who promised to "take a backseat to no one in my commitment to Net Neutrality." Watch now as he and his FCC chairman try to spin tomorrow's betrayal as another "mission accomplished."

Don't believe it. This bogus victory has become all too familiar to those watching the Obama administration and its appointees squander opportunities for real change. The reality is that reform is just a rhetorical front for industry compromises that reward the biggest players and K-Street lobbyists while giving the public nothing.

It's not the FCC chairman's job to seek consensus among the corporations that he was put into office to regulate. His duty is to protect Internet users.

AlterNet / By Lauren Kelley

Posted at December 21, 2010, 5:01am

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