Instead of protecting openness on wireless Internet devices like the iPhone and Droid, the Commission has exempted the mobile Internet from Net Neutrality protections. This move enshrines Verizon and AT&T as gatekeepers to the expanding world of mobile Internet access, allowing them to favor their own applications while blocking, degrading or de-prioritizing others.
I’m on family leave through December, but like the rest of my colleagues and peers in media reform movement, I’ll be paying close attention to tomorrow’s FCC meeting to vote on on proposed Net Neutrality rules (the meeting starts at 10am; you can watch the livestream and join a live chat here).
No one is happy with the proposed rules except for telecoms like AT&T and Verizon, who likely helped write them. There are simply not enough protections for Internet users from companies that want to cable-ize the Internet, charging extra for popular sites and even blocking sites that compete with their own offerings. Don’t listen to FCC Chairman Genachowski or anyone else who claims these rules enforce Net Neutrality; they don’t.
Perhaps worst of all, wireless will be almost completely unprotected. See the Tim Karr quote above — almost no Net Neutrality protections will exist for those of us accessing the Internet on smartphones (which, by 2014, will be most of us).
Tomorrow looks to be a dark day in the fight for free speech online and consumer protections from overreaching corporations. Heave a sigh.