FCC ban on digital discrimination seems to bother Ted Cruz a bit

Without the internet, how can people see how bad everything's getting?

MajorLinux - Editor-in-chief
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The internet as it stands right now is not being applied equally to all US citizens. To be fair, the country is way too big or it to naturally occur. ISPs know this and try to take advantage of it. The FCC has noticed, too, and are hoping to make iSPs do more to make sure more Americans have access to broadband. This seems to have the ISP lobby and one particular senator from Texas up in a tizzy.

The rules

On Wednesday, the Federal Communications Commission voted to approve rules by 3-2 party split that would prohibit discriminatory practices from ISP with regards to broadband services. And because it fights against discrimination, Republicans don’t like that one bit. Or maybe because they have to spend more money to do the actual work.

Under these rules, the FCC can protect consumers by directly addressing companies’ policies and practices if they differentially impact consumers’ access to broadband Internet access service or are intended to do so, and by applying these protections to ensure communities see equitable broadband deployment, network upgrades, and maintenance.”

FCC annoucement

The rules voted on along with its complaint process exist so that the FCC “can investigate possible instances of discrimination of broadband access, work with companies to solve problems, facilitate mediation, and, when necessary, penalize companies for violating the rules.”

The response

Of course, corporations like Comcast, Charter, AT&T, and Verizon did not like what they saw coming down the pipe. They held meetings with the FCC to convince them to narrow the rules to focus on deployment and not costs. I feel that if it went that way, it will allow the ISPs to rollout whatever they wanted, as long as it classified as broadband and charge high rates for them.

During the meeting on Wednesday, Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr took issue with the order stating it would allow the FCC “to regulate each and every ISP’s network infrastructure deployment, network reliability, network upgrades, network maintenance, customer premise equipment, installation, speeds, capacity, latency, data caps, throttling, pricing, promotional rates, late fees, opportunity for equipment rental, installation time, contract renewal terms, service termination fees,” among other things. Quite frankly, I don’t see much of an issue here. If keeping someone accountable is a problem, that’s something that needs to be looked at internally.

Carr has also stated that this move “s motivated by an ideology of government control that is not compatible with the fundamental precepts of free market capitalism.” And therein lies the rub. Because of “free market capitalism”, corporations have carte blanche to screw their customers. As long as there is money to be made, corners will be cut.

The FCC has definite digital access discrimination as “policies or practices, not justified by genuine issues of technical or economic feasibility, that differentially impact consumers’ access to broadband Internet access service based on their income level, race, ethnicity, color, religion, or national origin or are intended to have such differential impact.”

Responses from ISP lobby and Cruz

Instead of implementing Congress’ focused directive, the FCC is instead asserting expansive new authority over virtually every aspect of the broadband marketplace, including pricing, marketing, discounts, credit checks, customer-premises equipment, deposits, late fees, equipment rentals, installation times, mandatory arbitration clauses, contract renewals, service terminations, and use of customer credit and account history.”

NCTA – The Internet & Television Association

Then here comes Ted Cruz (R-Texas)

Despite admitting there’s ‘little to no evidence’ of discrimination by telecommunications companies, Democrats are hoping to convince the American people that broadband Internet is so racist they need to plow ahead with government-mandated affirmative action and race-based pricing. The only beneficiaries of this Orwellian ‘equity’ plan are overzealous government regulators who want to control the Internet.”

Ted Cruz (R-Texas)

It is important to note that Cruz was talking about a specific part of the FCC plan. It mentions “there is little to no evidence of intentional digital discrimination of access.” However, the FCC was really meant that “Congress intended that our rules addressing digital discrimination of access reach not only discriminatory treatment, but also policies and practices having discriminatory effect.”

My thoughts

I understand corporations want to do as little as possible so they can make as much profits as possible. The sad part is seeing people who are in positions to work with their constituents fight tooth and nail against them. Texas is a huge state. I imagine its broadband infrastructure could really use some boosts. The fact that their senator doesn’t want them to be connected to the world would be baffling.

But I’ve given it some thought since I was writing this. It’s not as shocking as I once thought. There are people in power right now that want to limit their citizens access to things. To pull the wool over their eyes so as to not see what’s happening in the world around them. Why would they want their voters having access to the knowledge of their atrocities in real time.

By the time they find out, he’ll be on another plane to Cancun.

Source: Ars Technica

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By MajorLinux Editor-in-chief
Marcus Summers is a Linux system administrator by trade. He has been working with Linux for nearly 15 years and has become a fan of open source ideals. He self identifies as a socialist and believes that the world's information should be free for all.
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