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Letter to the editor: FCC chairman should help tech startups move forward

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FCC chairman and OSU alumnus Thomas Wheeler returned to Columbus to discuss the implications of the net neutrality decision, as well as his memories of OSU. Credit: Courtesy of OSU

Letter to the editor:

It is a great honor that President Barack Obama appointed one of our own, Ohio State graduate Tom Wheeler, to serve as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. As a fellow Buckeye, I always welcome a national spotlight on our great university. However, The Lantern’s glossy article “FCC chairman, Ohio State alumnus, praises net neutrality decision” on Wheeler’s recent campus visit fails to mention some weighty concerns growing over his controversial decision to regulate the Internet.

In February, the FCC’s commissioners voted 3-2 down party lines to impose strict regulations from the 1930s on one of the most thriving sectors of our economy: the Internet. While many of the provisions aimed at consumer protection are positive steps for Internet freedom, the “Open Internet” rules passed by the FCC threatens to bring innovation to a screeching halt. What’s more, in spite of the FCC’s good intentions, these rules would open the door to more taxes, fees and oversight of almost every actionable item on the Internet.

Instead of elaborating on these looming consequences during his visit, Wheeler and his supporters said, quite plainly, that the FCC’s decision would be good for innovation. This begs the question, how can hundreds of pages of old regulations meant for the telephone industry of the 1930s encourage industry innovation?

It seems that the FCC is unilaterally trying to fix something that isn’t broen. Tech entrepreneurs of today achieved successes without relying on the support of the FCC. These innovators were successful because they were able tko operate at the speed of their own self-determination, not the speed of government. Common sense would say that adding another layer of regulations will only bog down entrepreneurial spirit and blunt economic growth.

As a student, I believe it’s important that my fellow students understand the issue of net neutrality from all perspectives. Instead of plunging the tech industry into legal and investment uncertainty, Wheeler should work with Congress on finding a bipartisan solution that fits our fast-moving 21st century economy.

David Stanislav

​Second-year in chemical engineering

Chairman of OSU College Republicans

stanislav.5@osu.edu

6 comments

  1. A regular old joe

    David: Your letter unfortunately is taking something that should be common sense and trying to make it partisan. Nearly all your statements were countered in a short letter Chairman Wheeler released alone with the Feb vote, which is available here: http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2015/db0312/FCC-15-24A2.pdf

    Key highlights:

    “We have heard endless repetition of the talking point that “Title II is old-style, 1930’s monopoly regulation.” It’s a good sound bite, but it is misleading when used to describe the modernized version of Title II in this Order.”

    ‘the Open Internet Order will:
    Ban Paid Prioritization: “Fast lanes” will not divide the Internet into “haves” and “have
    -nots.”
    Ban Blocking: Consumers must get what they pay for unfettered access to any lawful content on the Internet.
    Ban Throttling: Degrading access to legal content and services can have the same effect as blocking and will not be permitted’

    “Under the Order we adopt today, open Internet protections would – for the first time
    – apply equally to both fixed and mobile networks. Mobile wireless networks account for 55 percent of Internet usage. We cannot have two sets of Internet protections –
    one fixed and one mobile – when the difference is increasingly anachronistic to consumers”

    “During the 22 years that wireless voice has been regulated under a light-touch Title II like we propose today, there has never been concern about the ability of wireless companies to price competitively, flexibly, or quickly, or their ability to achieve a return on their investment”

    “As the D.C. Circuit observed in the Verizon decision and as the public record affirms, broadband providers have both the economic incentive and the technological capability to abuse their gatekeeper position.”

    “These enforceable, bright-line rules assure the rights of Internet users to go where they want, when they want, and the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone’s permission”

    You can also find that many of the statements you made are at best half-truths according to non-partisan websites like Politifact (http://www.politifact.com/search/?q=net+neutrality).

    Finally, surveys have shown this is NOT a partisan issue. People of all parties overwhelmingly support Net Neutrality as seen:
    http://www.udel.edu/cpc/research/fall2014/UD-CPC-NatAgenda2014PR_2014NetNeutrality.pdf
    and
    http://time.com/3578255/conservatives-net-neutrality-poll/

  2. An interested person

    David: Your letter unfortunately is taking something that should be common sense and trying to make it partisan. Nearly all your statements were countered in a short letter Chairman Wheeler released alone with the Feb vote, which is available here: http://transition.fcc.gov/Daily_Releases/Daily_Business/2015/db0312/FCC-15-24A2.pdf

    Key highlights:

    “We have heard endless repetition of the talking point that “Title II is old-style, 1930’s monopoly regulation.” It’s a good sound bite, but it is misleading when used to describe the modernized version of Title II in this Order.”

    ‘the Open Internet Order will:
    Ban Paid Prioritization: “Fast lanes” will not divide the Internet into “haves” and “have
    -nots.”
    Ban Blocking: Consumers must get what they pay for unfettered access to any lawful content on the Internet.
    Ban Throttling: Degrading access to legal content and services can have the same effect as blocking and will not be permitted’

    “Under the Order we adopt today, open Internet protections would – for the first time
    – apply equally to both fixed and mobile networks. Mobile wireless networks account for 55 percent of Internet usage. We cannot have two sets of Internet protections –
    one fixed and one mobile – when the difference is increasingly anachronistic to consumers”

    “During the 22 years that wireless voice has been regulated under a light-touch Title II like we propose today, there has never been concern about the ability of wireless companies to price competitively, flexibly, or quickly, or their ability to achieve a return on their investment”

    “As the D.C. Circuit observed in the Verizon decision and as the public record affirms, broadband providers have both the economic incentive and the technological capability to abuse their gatekeeper position.”

    “These enforceable, bright-line rules assure the rights of Internet users to go where they want, when they want, and the rights of innovators to introduce new products without asking anyone’s permission”

    You can also find that many of the statements you made are at best half-truths according to non-partisan websites like Politifact (http://www.politifact.com/search/?q=net+neutrality).

    Finally, surveys have shown this is NOT a partisan issue. People of all parties overwhelmingly support Net Neutrality as seen:
    http://www.udel.edu/cpc/research/fall2014/UD-CPC-NatAgenda2014PR_2014NetNeutrality.pdf
    and
    http://time.com/3578255/conservatives-net-neutrality-poll/

  3. Where's the Beef?

    What precisely are you worried about?

    Do you think ISPs are tech innovators?

    Do you think it’s okay for your Internet Provider to throttle Netflix because they have a competing product?

    Do you think Verizon should let you call Sprint customers?

    Should AEP charge me more if I don’t use a Kenmore fridge?

  4. Dave,

    I see you have no idea how net neutrality works. By regulating the internet they are allowing small startups to get a foothold. They are stopping comcast from rubbing their nipples when you ask for bandwidth for your startup’s website and they want to extort money out of you to be seen.

  5. The points you bring up are flat out incorrect. These “1930s era” regulation are still relevant in today. Or is the constitution also irrelevant?

    It seems sir, that you don’t understand what this actually is.

    ISPs are using (and have used) Title II to gain tax benefits for their fiber lines, but cry out when they are about to be regulated under the same act?

    “…these rules would open the door to more taxes, fees and oversight of almost every actionable item on the Internet.” That is a straight up lie. It will NOT add ANY more taxes or fees, unless ISPs decide to arbitrarily raise prices, like they could (and would) even without the new order.

    How is this good for innovation? Let me explain to you what net neutrality is. Prior to the order, it was legal for ISPs to throttle (or slow down) certain kind of traffic for any reason. For example, during the Comcast/Netflix disagreement, Netflix speeds slowed immediately after negotiations started. After an agreement for Netflix to pay Comcast was reached, speeds rose. If I wanted to start a video streaming company, how can I compete when ISPs are going to charge me to reach speeds my customers are ALREADY paying for?

    Net Neutrality is forbidding the discrimination of network packets based on what they are. What does this mean? This means that Comcast can’t slow down my Netflix in favor of Hulu. ISPs are being relegated to a simple pipe. I pay them for internet, they give me internet. They don’t say what I can and cannot do with it.

    ISPs are being reclassified as common carriers (NOT UTILITIES). There will be no tariffs, no extra taxes, no fees. The FCC’s order specifically forebears those specific sections of the Act. Do you know what would make them change it? A whole new round of rulemaking!

    Over 1 million Americans submitted comments to the FCC about this issue. Overwhelming support for net neutrality. The 300+ pages of the order? 8 pages were the actual verbiage of the Order. The rest? The million comments and other wordings that aren’t actually part of the order.

    I literally can think of no reasons why any sane person would be against this order. As Chairman Wheeler said, “This is no more an attack on the internet than the first amendment is to free speech.”

  6. In other news, Mr Stanislav is the Chairman of OSU College Republicans, and really demonstrated to all of us how few brain cells they actually use on a regular basis.

    Spoiler: Its none.

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