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It’s rare to see a communications bill that actually serves the public.
But a bill Sen. Jay Rockefeller introduced last week is a direct challenge to the cable cabal that controls video watching and Internet access in the United States.
For that the Consumer Choice in Online Video Act faces tough odds. But Rockefeller’s bill does so much for users and consumers of U.S. media that it deserves everyone’s support.
Gatekeepers have historically stood in the way of open communications. Some of this gatekeeping happened for technical reasons, some for autocratic reasons, but much existed simply because gatekeeping is profitable.
For most people, the cable company is also the Internet service provider. And that company isn’t keen to see customers use their broadband connections to reach other video providers. Cable has a history of blocking apps that deliver video, imposing unnecessary and pricey limits on the amount of data customers can consume, and favoring their own video content over that of their online rivals.
Policymakers with the power to stop these anti-competitive practices have stood by while gatekeepers created new barriers to video competition, stifling innovation and limiting what users can do with their Internet connections. And Congress hasn’t been willing to challenge the cable cabal.
Rockefeller’s bill tears down most of the barriers gatekeepers are using to protect their legacy monopolies. And it goes further than that, giving the Federal Communications Commission the power to make rules that guarantee people can access video content via a truly open and competitive network.
The bill notes the substantial First Amendment interest in “promoting a diversity of views” — and in preventing ISPs from discriminating against other content providers.
The bill also includes many findings that regulators and politicians beholden to industry are loath to acknowledge. For example, it states that ISPs’ growing use of data caps “can negatively impact the competitive position of online video distributors and the appeal of their services to consumers.”
The bill also notes that ISPs “have an increased incentive to degrade the delivery of, or block entirely, traffic from the websites of other online video distributors, or speed up or favor” their own content, because “online video distributors pose a threat” to ISPs’ own video businesses.
Rockefeller’s bill makes it illegal for any ISP to “block, degrade, or otherwise impair any content provided by an online video distributor,” and defines such distributors to include anyone from the tiniest nonprofit outlet to online giants like Netflix and Apple.
The name Rockefeller doesn't bring me much confidence.....
Could there be an alterior motive here?
reply to post by TKDRL
You have two oligopoly in place that are scrapping for revenue. On one side you have Telecom (Comcast Verizon att ) on the other side you have online tech companies (Google Netflix amazon hulu vudu etc) .
EXEMPTION.—The Commission may exempt an Internet service provider serving 20,000 or fewer sub-scribers from the requirements of this section