FCC Building.

McSTREAMY.COM (02/13/2015) – The Democratic majority on the Federal Communications Commission is expected to approve the so-called Net Neutrality rules, designed to treat web traffic equally. On the other side of the political spectrum, it seems Republicans would prefer that not to happen.

Jason Chaffetz, Utah House Representative.

Jason Chaffetz, Utah U.S. House Rep.

Congressional Republicans seem to be doing whatever they can to cause a delay in the new rules, which it is said, have been formulated with input from the White House. GOP lawmakers have launched an investigation into what they call interference in the FCC process.

Republicans say the FCC is supposed to operate independently of the President, because it is an independent agency. Yet, on the other hand, Republicans in Congress are putting together their own, alternate, and, some say, weaker Net Neutrality bill.

House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) have both announced probes into whether the White House improperly influenced the FCC.

Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson.

Wisconsin U.S. Senator Ron Johnson

President Barack Obama supports turning the internet into a Public Utility type of system with rules that would regulate what it can and cannot do. This move is expected to protect the average user of the internet as well as companies and individuals who have websites on the internet.

There have been incidents were suppliers of internet connection services have allegedly throttled the internet pipeline, for whatever reason, to, effectively give a slow speed to some customers and a faster speed to others. There is fear that additional favoritism, and, perhaps, worse circumstances, may occur down the road without strict rules in place to prevent it from happening.

Republicans, in the past, have viewed Net Neutrality rules as unnecessary, sometimes calling it a solution in search of a problem. However, they, themselves are coming to the table with a bill that would avoid utility-style rules, while preventing Internet Service Providers from blocking or throttling traffic on the internet. Opponents say the GOP bill would, essentially, prevent the FCC from doing it’s job, and block President Obama again.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

Federal Communications Chairman Thomas Wheeler is saying the public is being misled about President Obama’s plan to regulate the internet.

Elected Democrats, like Minnesota U.S. Senator Al Franken, have been supportive of Net Neutrality to put some safeguards in place that would prevent telephone companies, cable entities and satellite firms from exercising the power to give you a fast connection or a slow one at their whim. At present, there is very little to prevent excessive power over the ‘net by internet access companies, or the internet pipeline. Properly drawn up Net Neutrality rules could prevent that possibility, because there would then be a regulation in place.

Additionally, internet utilities can now favor one website over another, if they wish, by limiting access to any website by internet users, or increasing access by internet users to another company’s site. In other words, certain IP numbers or Domain Names can be set up to be on an “A List”, for example, while others might be on a B List”, etc. The internet access company, or companies, could open your access to the A List, but not the B List, perhaps, unless the B Listed website paid the utility to be on the A List, or, you paid extra to see sites on the B List, or, both, and so on. Again, a properly drawn up Net Neutrality set of rules and regulations would prevent that from happening.

Supporters of Net Neutrality say they are trying to save the internet as an avenue to, and for, Free Speech, far into the future. They want rules and regulations that will assure that for themselves and future generations. Republican lawmakers, on the other hand, are suggesting rules and regulations on the internet companies providing connection to the world wide web, is another government intervention they don’t feel is needed.

Minnesota U.S. Senator Al Franken

Minnesota U.S. Senator Al Franken

The Federal Communications Commission will meet February 26, 2014 to vote on the Net Neutrality issue, because, as it now stands, the FCC has the power to set rules for the communications industry. That’s why it’s middle name is “communications”. It is logical that the Internet can be included, by definition, as part of the communications industry, since so much of modern communication is done through the world wide web referred to as The Internet.

The internet is a form of communications, so, even though the internet is relatively new and rules on service providers have not been forthcoming before, people who fear the worst, think it’s time. However, if Republicans in Congress believe they have the right to regulate the “independent” FCC, to prevent the FCC from doing what it was set up to do, some supporters of Net Neutrality, call that move, “government intervention”.

Information on the FCC’s website explains their goal this way: “The Open Internet is the Internet as we know it, a level playing field where consumers can make their own choices about what applications and services to use, and where consumers are free to decide what content they want to access, create, or share with others.”

“The FCC seeks to ensure that the Internet remains a powerful platform for innovation and job creation; to empower consumers and entrepreneurs; to protect free expression; to promote competition; to increase certainty in the marketplace by providing greater predictability for all stakeholders regarding federal policy in this area, and to spur investment both at the “edge,” and in the core of our broadband networks,” the FCC information continued.

Network, or “net,” neutrality is just another way of referring to Open Internet principles, according to the FCC.

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