Live Updates: FCC on Net Neutrality



Fcc_net_neutrality_jason_abbruzzese-114
Protesters stand outside the FCC building hours before the net neutrality meeting on May 15, 2014.

One of the biggest meetings on net neutrality takes place today when the Federal Communications Commission publicly releases its proposed rules about the future of the "Open Internet." Mashable is on scene in Washington, D.C.
Follow here for live updates. Or to get up to speed, read our primer on net neutrality.

FCC proposal passes in 3-2 vote

11:30 a.m. ET / May 15, 2014 /  Jason Abbruzzese

The Federal Communications Commission revealed on Thursday its much-anticipated proposal that will dictate how broadband providers can treat Internet traffic, a crucial piece of regulation that has drawn the attention of the country's biggest broadband providers, the world's largest Internet companies and and a wide range of politicians including President Barack Obama.

The proposal passed in a 3-2 vote. 

The proposal includes two primary options. One is a scaled back version of the original rules that would allow for companies to strike pay-for-preference deals that are scrutinized by the FCC. The second would reclassify broadband as a public utility, making it eligible for stricter regulation including a ban on pay-for-preference deals.


'We moved too fast'

11:15 a.m. ET / May 15, 2014 / Jason Abbruzzese

The opening comments continue at the FCC hearing. While long, this portion of the hearing provides context that shows where each commissioner stands on the issue.

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn said, “It will signal the start of 120 unique days of opportunity each of you have in shaping and influence the direction of one of the world’s most incredible platforms.”

FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel, who called for the hearings to be delayed, said: “I support an open internet but I would have done this differently.”

“I think we moved too fast to prepare,” she added, noting that Wheeler has made changes to the original draft.

Screengrab via @guatemalia 

Commissioner Ajit Pai, who has come out against regulation seeking to ensure net neutrality notes “a bipartisan consensus in favor of a free and open Internet.”

"I'm skeptical the third time will be the charm," Pai says, referencing previous attempts by the FCC to regulate the Internet that have been struck down by courts, and says he dissents on the rule-making.


'When my mother calls... I know there's a problem'

10:51 a.m. ET / May 15, 2015 / Jason Abbruzzese

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn 
The FCC hearing kicks off with some excitement.
 Kevin Zeese of Popular Resistance, who spoke with Mashable this morning, interrupts the begging of the proceedings, calling for the FCC to protect an open internet. He’s followed by two more protestors. All three have to be physically removed.
The third, who identifies himself as a veteran, says to one of the security officers removing him: “It’s ok. I can get arrested.
And with some opening comments from Tom Wheeler we’re under way. 
FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn (pictured above) drives home why net neutrality is an important issue. 
When my mother calls with public-policy concerns I know that there is a problem,” she says.
Clyburn continues to drive home the importance of an open Internet for education and government transparency. She also says some kind words about the protestors, some of whom she says have come quite a ways to voice concerns.

She emphasizes that there is currently no regulation of how broadband providers handle Internet traffic.
Clyburn emphasizes that there is currently no regulation of how broadband providers handle Internet traffic.

“As of January, we have no rules to prevent discrimination or blocking,” she says.

Who is Tom Wheeler?

10:40 a.m. ET / May 15, 2015 / Jason Abbruzzese

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Wheeler is a veteran of the cable and telecommunications industry and a former lobbyist for the National Cable Television Association.
President Barack Obama appointed Wheeler in late 2013. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate.
His long career in the communications industry had been seen as a strength by some, but has been pointed to by net neutrality advocates that believe he is still overly sympathetic to the broadband companies.
Wheeler has recently sought to ally fears that the newly proposed rules undermine the open Internet. He has written blog posts, given speeches and even gone out to meet net neutrality activists.

The current scene

10:29 a.m. ET / May 15, 2015 / Jason Abbruzzese

Image: Jason Abbruzzese, Mashable 
The room is filling up with minutes to go before the hearing begins. The media section is mostly filled , cameras are set up and the public is slowly filling the seats. It’s not a big room, with maybe around 150 seats.
Security has been asking people on their way in if they have any signs of fliers on them.Protests outside have grown both in size and decibel level.
Overheard an FCC spokesperson say that she can’t remember the last time a hearing had this much buzz. She guessed it may have been the last net neutrality hearing. Ialready see a couple of the protestors that were out front the FCC early this morning -- a couple members of Veterans for Peace.

The terms you need to know

10:08 a.m. ET / May 15, 2015 / Jason Abbruzzese

Image: Jason Abbruzzese, Mashable

For those watching online or on CSPAN a few terms to listen for:
Reclassification/Title II: This is the FCC's most aggressive move to regulate broadband providers. The FCC could vote to consider broadband a public utility, meaning it would come under a wider range of regulations. Reclassification has been championed by many net neutrality advocates.
Peering: Net neutrality only impacts traffic over the Internet. Peering is an arrangement in which a content provider makes a direct connection with an ISP, side-stepping much of the broader Internet. Peering deals are often done without the exchange of money, as they are seen as mutually beneficial. Netflix has paid Comcast and Verizon for such deals. Net neutrality laws as they previously existed did not affect these agreements.
Pay for Preference/Performance: If there is no regulation, big Internet companies like Netflix or Amazon could pay IPSs to ensure that users can access their content with great speed that other sites. Net neutrality advocates warn that these kinds of deals could lead to a fractured Internet that crowds out startups and innovation. 

What is net neutrality?

10:06 a.m. ET / May 15, 2015 / Jason Abbruzzese

Net neutrality is the concept that all Internet traffic should be treated equally.
Internet service providers (ISPs) like Comcast or Verizon control how you access websites and content. Let's use an old-school metaphor: the information superhighway.Think of ISPs as the freeway on which your content travels from a website to your home.
An Internet governed by net neutrality would bar ISPs from creating special toll lanes for fat cats. Everyone would have the same speed limit.




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