6 problems with the cable lobby's "net neutrality" bill

Posted on January 22, 2015

Thumbnail for net neutrality campaign

Last week, Senator John Thune and allies proposed new telecommunications rules known as Title X. But taking a closer look, this bill falls far short of what we need to protect the Open Internet. Considering how hard the cable industry is pushing Title X, maybe that's the point.

1. Fast lane friendly

Rep. Shimkus, one of the bill’s supporters, stated "I'm a paid prioritization guy" -- referring to the proposed “fast lanes for the few” that have so many Americans outraged. He gets points for honesty, but 4 million Americans disagree, and have told the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) not to let it happen.

2. Leaves loopholes open

The draft bill leaves open a loophole that would, for example, let an ISP like Comcast give its own Xfinity on Demand service special priority. That "specialized services" loophole would give ISP’s a huge backdoor to shut out the competition.

3. Too vague to do the job

The bill aims to achieve the core net neutrality goals of treating all traffic equally, but does it ban fast lanes? Fix interconnection? Who knows? The bill is written so vaguely that there’s no way to tell if it could stop companies like Comcast from slowing Netflix down - as happened last year.

4. Big Cable loves it

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association and CTIA: The Wireless Association both strongly support this legislation, and are lobbying to pass it as we speak. ‘Nuff said.

5. Defangs the FCC

Title X  lists a handful of ways that ISPs can break net neutrality, and bans them. But what about the next trick up Big Telecom's sleeve? What happens when Comcast "innovates" a new way to harm the Open Internet? This bill would shackle the FCC's ability to craft new rules to address consumers’ changing needs.

6. Timing is too convenient

The FCC is finally on the verge of writing the strong net neutrality protections we’ve been demanding. That’s why it’s so curious that, after a year of sitting on their hands, Congress has sprung into action. We don’t need to settle and wait for this cable-sponsored half measure to get through congressional gridlock when the FCC can settle the issue once and for all next month.

Office: Common Cause National

Issues: Media and Democracy

Tags: Broadband for All

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