Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Go FCC Yourself

Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica:

Comedian John Oliver has once again asked his viewers to fight on behalf of net neutrality, and the Federal Communications Commission website wasn’t able to handle the immediate influx of angry comments.

On HBO’s Last Week Tonight, Oliver yesterday announced a new URL, gofccyourself.com, that redirects to the FCC proposal to eliminate net neutrality rules. (Clicking “Express” is the easiest way to submit a comment.) The comments website promptly crashed, making it difficult or impossible to file comments last night and this morning. The comments site has started working, but only intermittently.

As of writing, approximately 140,000 people have submitted feedback encouraging the FCC to keep ISPs classified as Title II companies. Three years ago, however, about four million submission were posted for the then-proposed rules that also would have destroyed net equality. If you’re American, you should comment.

Marguerite Reardon, CNet:

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai wants a do-over of the rules governing net neutrality.

But he’s trying to keep an open mind about the proceedings.

“I don’t have any predetermined views as to where we’re going to go,” he said in an interview with CNET on Thursday. “That’s the reason that we call it a notice of proposed rulemaking. It’s not a decree.”

Later in the same interview:

“Are we going to treat this new technology as we do the water company, or the electric company, or Ma Bell from the 1930s?” he said.

The internet is not a new technology any longer, and Pai’s feigned ignorance of that makes it sound like he’s made up his mind: he doesn’t believe the internet is as much of a utility as it truly is.

“Ultimately, my hope is that a return to that bipartisan, Clinton-era light-touch approach, one that served us well for 20 years, is going to be one that finds bipartisan support again,” he said.

Pai has called the Title II classification of ISPs a “partisan” issue on several occasions — you can see another instance of it in Oliver’s piece. But net neutrality hasn’t been a partisan issue or decision until the Republican party decided to make it one by framing it as “Obamacare for the internet”. It isn’t a partisan issue, not really. It’s a power struggle between every American and a handful of corporate interests, and Pai is on the ISPs’ side.