Posts Tagged: internet access

A Bumpy Ride on the Internet Access Highway: the FCC’s Net Neutrality Decision

Around many of America’s largest cities, high occupancy toll lanes offer drivers the option of paying to get to their destination faster.  Similarly, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Verizon, Comcast, and Time Warner are gatekeepers to broadband Internet access lanes and have the ability assign priority lanes — with better quality and faster speeds — to those who pay a premium.  The ISPs also have an incentive to provide slower access and to block services that compete with their telephone and video services. Advocates for Internet neutrality – a term that connotes different things to different people – want the government to step in to ensure that Internet users (both subscribers and companies that work on the Internet) will have access to the services and applications they choose without interference.

In December, the Federal Communications Commission waded into the net neutrality debate, where Congress has thus far feared to tread, when it voted 3-2 to establish rules to preserve open Internet access.  With over 100,000 comments filed in the leadup to the FCC decision, it’s clear that the public is concerned about the future of access to the Internet. (more…)

Broadband cash for Chicago

Broadband funding in the stimulus bill was largely billed as for rural areas without internet access. However, Chicago  will also get some of that federal money, the Associated Press reports. Two Chicago groups will get a combined $16 million in stimulus money for broadband, with the Dept. of Commerce providing $7 million to the Smart Chicago Broadband Adoption Program and $9 million to the Smart Chicago Public Computer Centers project.  The public computer centers project will (more…)

FCC Hopes That Someday Everybody Will Read This Blog

The Wall Street Journal’s Amy Schatz reports that the Obama administration Federal Communications Commission has a different approach to broadband internet access than the George W. Bush FCC. While Bush wanted less regulation, the current five-member FCC panel wants more in order to expand internet access for all Americans. The FCC will reveal a national broadband plan to Congress in February. There’s no particular option for open internet access that will be accepted by companies like Verizon and AT&T that have quasi-monopolies over parts of the internet grid. But something should be done: a Harvard study last year, commissioned by the FCC,  showed that European and Asian countries with policies that encourage open access have faster and cheaper internet service.