Net Neutrality day is here: a guide to today’s vote

What is the right way to run the internet? After months of pitched debate over so-called net neutrality, the FCC will finally vote on a proposal that will prevent broadband providers from slowing down or speeding up certain websites.

While there’s little doubt about the outcome of the vote, Thursday’s FCC hearing could still bring some surprises. Here’s an overview of how the process will unfold, key issues to watch, and what will happen next.

When is the vote taking place?

The hearing begins at 10:30am ET at the FCC in Washington, where the five Commissioners will vote on two items. The net neutrality proposal is the second item (the first is about municipal broadband – update: which has passed 3-2), and a vote is expected to occur in the early afternoon.

What are they voting on?

The crux of the proposal is new regulations that will replace the net neutrality rules that a court struck down in early 2014. The new rules themselves (contrary to recent rhetoric) are rumored to be 8 pages long and, under FCC convention, are an appendix to a larger document that contains the Commissioners’ positions.

The FCC staff will summarize the key parts of the new rules, but the document itself is not likely to be available to the public for several weeks. This is due to agency protocol, which gives the Commissioners time to add final comments (though the substance of the rules will not change between now and when they appear).

How exactly does the vote take place, and what will be the outcome?

After the staff summaries, each of the five Commissioner will offer their comments in order of seniority. Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai, who has been an outspoken critic, is expected to speak for an hour so this could take some time. They will then take a vote, and hold a press conference.

The outcome will be a 3-2 vote on partisan lines, with the two Democratic Commissioners siding with Chairman Tom Wheeler. (Update: that’s exactly what happened)

What are the key things to watch?

While the outcome of the vote is a sure thing, some key details of the proposal are still unknown. The most high profile of these concerns what the FCC will do about so-called interconnection, and what the rules will do to prevent ISPs from forcing sites like Netflix to pay a toll in return for not having their streams degraded.

There is also the issue of “zero rating,” which is when phone and companies exclude certain apps or services (such as music) from a customer’s monthly data cap. While this violates the general principle of net neutrality, Chairman Wheeler has yet to explain how strictly the new rules will prevent this. (Read my colleague Stacey Higginbottam’s excellent overview of potential loopholes here).

Finally, since much of the recent net neutrality debate has been about theater, it will be worth watching to see how far Commissioner Pai (who has been waging a nasty political and social media campaign against Wheeler) will go to stir the pot during the hearing.

So will the new net neutrality rules go into effect right away?

No. According to Harold Feld of Public Knowledge, the rules only go into effect 30 days after they appear in the Federal Register, which could take a few weeks.

Will there be lawsuits?

Yes, buckets of them. Expect big telecom companies like Verizon or AT&T to sue in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, it’s possible that activist groups on both the right and the left may bring suits of their own.

What will be the effect of the lawsuits?

Feld says, in the event of multiple lawsuits, the first order of business will be for various appeals courts to decide which of them will take the case. After that, the telecom companies are likely to receive a brief stay of the rules until they can file their first round of arguments. At that point, the stay will likely be lifted while the court hears the case.

The court cases are likely to kick off in March or April, and a ruling on whether the new FCC plan is legal will probably come in late 2015 or early 2016. In the meantime, the net neutrality rules will be in effect.

I just can’t get enough of this stuff! Where can I learn more?

Gigaom will have updates on the days proceedings through Thursday. The FCC will have a live stream here (if the internet holds up!).

I’ll be tweeting about it here. Other Twitter accounts to watch are those of Gigi Sohn (FCC lawyer), Commissioner Pai, Public Knowledge’s Feld and Professor Tim Wu (who coined “net neutrality” in the first place).

For political flavor: The New York Times has opined on the FCC’s “wise new rules” here while the Wall Street Journal, on the other hand, hates everything about the FCC (paywall).

This story was corrected at 10:05am to note the court decision was in 2014, not 2013.

The FCC’s other big vote: small cities await their broadband fate

The big battle over net neutrality will go to a vote on Thursday but, for many people in small cities, it’s the other item on the agenda that matters most: whether the agency will allow two towns to build their own broadband infrastructure.

“It’s a way of letting local communities control their own fate. I don’t see a difference between broadband and gas or electricity,” said Harold DePriest, who is the CEO of EBP, a city-run fiber network in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

His city, along with Wilson, North Carolina (population 49,000), will soon find out if the FCC will grant their request to pre-empt state laws that restrict municipalities’ ability to offer broadband.

Those state laws are necessary, according to their supporters, to protect taxpayers from profligate city governments. Critics claim, however, that the laws are the result of undue influence exercised in state capitals by big telecom companies seeking to preserve their monopolies.

For places like Chattanooga, a lot rides on the outcome. The town’s fiber network, which offers 100 megabyte broadband for $58 a month and a gigabyte for $70, has led Chattanooga to brand itself as the “gig city,” where companies reliant on high speed internet can set up shop. It’s also about access.

“We feel this is an issue of local control. Here in Tennessee, we have homes that live in a digital desert,” said DePriest, who added that municipalities in many places have to step in when corporations fail to build the high-speed internet that is essential for modern business, education and entertainment services.

If the agency grants the petition at Thursday’s vote, Chattanooga and Wilson will immediately be able to expand their offerings. More significantly, a vote in favor of the petitions will provide legal footing to other towns across the country that face restrictions on municipal broadband.

In the case of Chattanooga, DePriest says the state law has led the city utility to be dragged into court five times at considerable expense. He hopes Thursday’s FCC vote will put a stop to this.

“I don’t like litigation. The only ones who win are lawyers, but this is too important for small town America, it’s worth fighting for.”

The vote will take place late morning EST. The cities are expected to prevail since FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has indicated he is in favor of pre-emption. We’ll have an update on the outcome.

Porn exec touts net neutrality in rare call for regulation

Smut sellers normally prefer that the government stay far away from their business. But when it comes to how the FCC oversees the internet, the adult industry says proposed net neutrality rules are needed to ensure internet providers don’t start assigning moral value to web traffic.

“One gigabyte of data is one gigabyte of data, whether it’s House of Cards or Shemales.xxx,” Stuart Lawley, a web tycoon who operates domains like .porn and .sex, told me on the phone. “What the consumers is paying for is the big pipe, and the speed of the pipe and quality of data that comes down that pipe.”

Lawley fears porn sites are low-hanging fruit for ISPs that want to charge websites a toll in exchange for not throttling their data streams, and that large purveyors like Mindgeek (which runs sites like RedTube and Pornhub) would be an easy target.

The porn industry has few friends in Congress but Lawley said that, in the case of net neutrality, larger principles are at stake.

He pointed out that ISPs could use domain suffixes as a source of discrimination when delivering web traffic — and not just pornographic ones like .sex. Without net neutrality rules, he said an ISP could degrade the traffic of sites that suggest a religious affiliation: “You could have ISPs run by certain people who have certain racial or religious views who might slow Jewish websites.”

As such, Lawley said he is in favor of the proposed rules that the FCC will vote on this week, which will bar ISPs from giving special treatment to some sites.

The FCC also plans to invoke new legal authority to oversee so-called interconnection fees, or tolls of the sort Lawley fears ISPs will extract from his industry.

These fees became an issue when Verizon and Comcast imposed them on Netflix, leading the video company to blast them as a form of extortion.

Adult-related websites, which account for five on an Alexa list of the top 100 most-visited sites in 2014, have yet to complain publicly about similar practices. But the site Pornhub participated in an “internet slowdown day” last year in which numerous mainstream sites, including Reddit and Etsy, brought the issue of net neutrality to the public’s attention.

Entrepreneurs embrace net neutrality plan (except Mark Cuban)

Propaganda machines are running full-blast ahead of next week’s landmark vote on net neutrality, so readers should take most “news” about the FCC with a grain of salt. That said, it’s worth noting a new letter in the debate over whether net neutrality will protect entrepreneurs (as supporters claim) or if it will instead damn small business to crushing regulations, as Republican Commissioner Ajit Pai, backed by the telecom industry, is warning.

The letter comes via the advocacy group Engine, and is signed by more than 100 startups and emerging businesses. Many of the names are unfamiliar but some — including Yelp, Etsy, Kickstarter, Tumblr and GitHub – are among America’s favorite new companies.

Their position, in short, is that the FCC’s proposed “Title II” rules, which would forbid ISPs from giving special treatment to some websites over others, is not the regulatory bugbear of Pai’s imagination:

“Any claim that a net neutrality plan based in Title II would somehow burden “small, independent businesses and entrepreneurs with heavy-handed regulations that will push them out of the market” is simply not true,” the letter said. It added, “The threat of ISPs abusing their gatekeeper power to impose tolls and discriminate against competitive companies is the real threat to our future.”

This, of course, is part of a public relations effort but it doesn’t change the fact that all these companies, which are run by sophisticated and successful entrepreneurs, put their names on it.

The entrepreneurs could be lying or maybe they’re deluded. The better bet, though, is that the they genuinely favor rules to prevent the likes of Comcast or Verizon using their power over pipes as a cudgel to demand money or favors.

So are there any bonafide entrepreneurs (as opposed to Pai and the telecom giants) concerned about the regulatory burden of Title II? Well, there’s at least one.

On Wednesday, Dallas Mavericks owner and startup booster Mark Cuban was at it again, railing at a Re/code conference how the FCC will “fuck up everything” with its new rules. (He’s made such rants before).

Normally, it’s worth paying attention to Cuban since he’s bang-on about other issues involving small business, especially patent reform, and has a lot of pull in investment circles.

On this one, though, his concern may be overblown since the FCC has been clear that it’s taking a light touch to Title II and will be using it to prevent internet throttling, while also staying clear of measures like rate regulation or forced access. (One also wonders if Cuban’s F-bombs have anything to do with the fact that he is the chairman of a cable network).

So there you have it. You entrepreneurs out there can join Etsy and all, and run the risk of FCC regulations, or throw your lot in with Cuban and put yourselves at the mercy of the big ISPs.

Here’s the Engine letter, which is short, and has all the companies’ names:

Engine Letter Re FCC

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Love or hate net neutrality, GOP probe is pointlesss

Let the dog and pony show begin! Republicans in Congress and their cable company allies are smarting over news that the FCC will reclassify internet providers, and have responded with not one, but two investigations that seek to uncover illegal meddling by the White House.

The twin probes, which are being led by Sen. Ron Johnson (R.-Wis) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), call on FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to explain how he came to favor net neutrality — a policy that prevents ISPs from giving special treatment to some websites over others when they deliver broadband.

Net neutrality is indeed an important issue, and Republicans are within their rights to implement investigations of it. The problem, however, is that their premise for probing Wheeler appears to be completely baseless.

According to Senator Johnson, the purpose of the investigation is to determine if Wheeler’s decision resulted from “undue outside pressures, particularly from the White House.” The message is that President Obama has someone flouted the rule of law, and run roughshod over an independent agency.

But there’s little evidence to justify such a charge. While Johnson cites public remarks by the President and a report in the Wall Street Journal about the White House’s interest in the net neutrality file, that’s hardly a smoking gun.

More importantly, the Republicans have yet to explain how exactly they think the White House behaved illegally. Johnson’s public letter says the executive branch’s behavior has been “inappropriate from a constitutional standpoint” and “improper from an Administrative Procedures Act perspective,” but fails to point to specific laws or regulations.

Unfortunately for net neutrality critics, “inappropriate” and “improper” seem pretty thin gruel, even as a political charge. And they almost certainly fall far short of material for a lawsuit.

While Presidents typically steer clear of saying what independent agencies should or should not do, President Obama is hardly the first to speak up on an FCC issue. Indeed, every chief executive in the last 30 years has stuck their oar in the water at one time or another, according to Harold Feld, a senior lawyer with the advocacy group Public Knowledge.

“By strong convention, the President is supposed to respect the independence of the agency, and Presidents generally save their ammo on this for things they really care about. There are good reasons for this general rule,” wrote Feld by email. “But there are also good reasons for the President to speak up from time to time — particularly on matters of national importance such as the fate of broadband (Obama), reducing the influence of money on politics (Clinton) and the fate of media ownership rules (Reagan, Bush I, and Bush II).”

Feld, who has created a graphic of Presidential pronouncements about FCC issues, added that there is no law that prevents the President from sharing his views about the agency or from talking to its Chairman. Meanwhile, none of the previous Presidents’ remarks on FCC issues have resulted in a court action — meaning it’s near certain that Obama’s won’t either.

So what’s going on? In the view of Berin Szoka of TechFreedom, a group critical of Wheeler’s proposal, the legal case is “subtle” but turns on two issues: whether the White House “threatened” Wheeler as the head of an independent agency, and whether the executive violated an anti-lobbying law by having FCC staff lobby Congress. Or something.

The better explanation is that the twin Congressional investigations are no more than a political stunt to muddy the waters in the net neutrality debate. That’s a shame. No matter what you think of the substance of Wheeler’s proposal — you can read about a Republican FCC Commissioners’ latest objections here and here — the American public deserves better on this matter than Congress’s “investigations.”

Here we go: 5 things to watch as net neutrality gets real

Who saw this coming? A year ago, the smart money said the cable industry would call the shots as the FCC moved to rewrite rules for the internet. But this week the agency chairman threw sand in the industry’s eyes, and came out instead with a plan to pass the strongest net neutrality rules ever.

The proposed rules, which were announced in broad strokes on Thursday, are a victory for consumers and companies that rely on a neutral internet — but the process is hardly across the goal line just yet. It still abounds with political and legal trapdoors that could reverse or whittle down FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposed plan.

Here’s what to watch ahead of the FCC’s big vote, scheduled for February 26, and in the months to come.

1) How far will the Republicans go to stop this?

Senator John Thune (R-SD) and other Republicans are claiming FCC Wheeler’s plan is a power grab by the FCC, and are offering legislation as a way to address internet regulation instead. The bill they’re now touting, which critics say amounts to a sham version of net neutrality, won’t pass since President Obama says he would veto it.

But that may not be the end of it. Sources in Washington say Republicans may insert a rider into a must-pass piece of legislation (such as the defense appropriations bill) and kill the FCC rules that way. But would they go that far?

The outcome will be determined by the powerful telecom lobby, but also by the reaction of voters who may balk if they perceive their elected officials rewriting FCC rules at the bequest of unpopular companies like Comcast and AT&T.

2) Interconnectedness/peering: how will the new rules protect the likes of Netflix?

The FCC plan would impose common carrier requirements on ISPs, which would bar them from favoring some websites over others when offering broadband to consumers. But the rules may not resolve disputes at a deeper layer of the internet. These disputes involves ISP’s battling content providers such as Netflix, which has accused the ISPs of “extortion” for demanding money to upgrade ports and other infrastructure.

Wheeler said the rules will address this issue (known in industry parlance as interconnectedness or paid peering) through a “reasonable” standard based on customer complaints, but this could lead to slow resolution processes and ambiguous instructions for ISP’s. Look for industry lawyers to parse this part closely.

A lot of money rides on the exact rules for paid peering since the ISPs have already set up a new revenue stream by charging tolls to content companies, and that is money they will be loathe to lose in the future.

3) Will more big companies come out to support the FCC?

The corporate fight over net neutrality began as a gross mismatch, pitting wealthy and connected telecom giants against relative minnows like Etsy and Netflix. But as momentum shifted in recent months, some surprise allies — including Sprint — came out of the woodwork in favor of Title II (the law Wheeler is using to implement net neutrality).

Now that Wheeler has officially shown his cards, it will be interesting to see if other companies help blunt what is sure to be a fierce counterattack from the telecom industry. Google, for instance, could be a game-changer. The company has so far stayed on the sidelines (and Google Chairman Eric Schmidt reportedly urged White House officials not to support Title II), but recent remarks suggest the company could be nudging towards the Netflix camp.

4) What will happen with “zero rating”?

“Zero rating” is a sleeper issue in the U.S. net neutrality debate. In plain English, zero rating refers to phone and internet companies offering plans where certain services — like music — don’t count against a customer’s monthly data caps.

Unlike throttling website traffic, companies can characterize zero rating as a pro-consumer practice since it involves offering free services. But as recent news in Canada and Europe shows, it also raises serious questions over competition.

Wheeler’s announcement on Wednesday left the FCC considerable wiggle room on zero rating by addressing the issue through a catch-all conduct rule. While this will provide a backstop of sorts, it also amounts to a loophole (as my colleague Stacey Higginbotham explained in her detailed review of the proposal) that companies could take a run at in court, and in the market.

5) Is the public still paying attention?

Many thought the FCC would not go through with net neutrality because the issue is esoteric, and that would make it easy for the cable industry to shape the debate and the outcome. That turned out to be wrong, as citizens engaged in a record-breaking public comment process, and comedian John Oliver turned the topic into a viral video.

All of that helped to spur momentum in favor of net neutrality advocates, and pave the way for this week’s FCC proposal. But if Republicans try to use their power of the purse to undo all this, ordinary people would have to tune in all over again to stop that — and it’s no sure thing they will be as interested in doing so.

FCC Chair says agency will nix state laws that block broadband

State laws that obstruct towns and cities from building their own broadband networks are likely to fall at the end of the month, as a result of an upcoming vote by the FCC slated for a public meeting on February 26.

“After looking carefully at petitions by two community broadband providers asking the FCC to pre-empt provisions of state laws preventing expansion of their very successful networks, I recommend approval by the Commission so that these two forward-thinking cities can serve the many citizens clamoring for a better broadband future,” said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler in statement on Monday.

The upcoming vote concerns two cities — Chattanooga, Tennessee and Wilson, North Carolina — that filed petitions with the FCC last year to rule that state rules restricting their fiber build-outs are inconsistent with federal law.

A report in the Washington Post  this morning likewise said the FCC will act this month, and that it is set to intervene in favor of the cities:

Federal regulators are moving ahead with a proposal to help two cities fighting with their state governments over the ability to build public alternatives to large Internet providers. […]

The draft decision targets legal hurdles that make it more difficult for city- or community-run Internet services to get off the ground. Tennessee, for example, has passed rules forbidding cities from building high-capacity networks beyond a certain geographic area. Publicly run broadband in North Carolina may not offer service at prices below what a private carrier offers.

The FCC vote is directed just at the two cities in question, but the legal principle at stake means the vote will have large and immediate implications for the rest of the country.

More specifically, the issue is language in Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act that instructs the FCC to develop broadband by “removing barriers to infrastructure investment and by promoting competition in the telecommunications market,” and whether this gives the FCC power to preempt state laws.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler already hinted strongly last year that he thought it does, while President Obama voiced his support for the position last month.

If the FCC does vote to preempt the date laws, the move will almost surely trigger a court fight since municipal broadband is a contentious political issue.

Many Republicans argue that city broadband projects can hurt market competition and lead to taxpayer boondoggles. Cities, on the other hand, say they have no alternative but to build their known networks due to corporate monopolies, and point to systemic lobbying campaigns that AT&T and others have waged in state capitols to stop municipal broadband.

The outcome of any legal case is not clear-cut since courts have yet to rule on Section 706 in this context (you can read a full break-down of the preemption question here). Republicans have also said they will try to counter FCC preemption by passing new laws.

This story was updated at 3:15ET to include the Chairman’s statement.

How net neutrality rules can fix Verizon’s supercookie problem

The FCC is on the cusp of proposing new rules for the internet, and it may have a chance to kill two birds with one stone: along with preserving so-called “net neutrality,” the rules could serve to stop the use of “supercookies” that phone carriers like Verizon are using to track their wireless subscribers.

In case you’re unfamiliar, supercookies are akin to regular internet cookies, which advertisers use to create a record of users’ browser activities. The difference is that the supercookies are tied to a users’ mobile device at a network level, and create a permanent customer profile that can’t be deleted. The profiling process not only tracks web browsing, but also app activities, and it can’t be thwarted by using a browser’s “private” or “incognito” mode.

Carriers like Verizon use the supercookies to assemble marketing segments such as “low-income Spanish-speaking moms in the Bronx” (for instance), and offer them to advertisers. While this profiling feature can be a boon to marketers, it has also alarmed privacy advocates, who say supercookies are invasive and point out they are being abused by outside ad companies.

After an outcry, phone giant AT&T said in November that it would stop using supercookies. Its rival Verizon, however, has so far rebuffed calls to cease using the tool, known in the industry as unique ID headers, to tag and track users.

Verizon, which declined to comment for this story, has presumably calculated that the value of the marketing data from supercookies outweighs whatever privacy headaches they create. Most consumers, meanwhile, don’t know or care about cookies in the first place, so it’s unlikely that Verizon will suffer any sort of customer exodus.

Enter Title II

Verizon’s support for supercookies could one day lead to class-action lawsuits, as some have suggested. But in the meantime, the FCC may soon be in position to address the privacy implications of what the company is doing.

The opportunity comes about as a result of the current net neutrality debate, which is widely expected to result in the FCC reclassifying internet providers as so-called “Title II” companies.

The Title II designation is the only legal avenue the agency can use to stop broadband companies from favoring some websites over others, but it also contains important authority for the FCC to protect privacy.

“The critical provision is Section 222, which concerns customers’ proprietary network information,” said Harold Feld, a lawyer and telecom expert with the group, Public Knowledge, in a recent phone interview.

Section 222 is one of a list of rules that Title II imposes on phone companies and other “common carriers,” and serves to restrict companies from using customer communications data for marketing purposes.

According to Feld, however, it’s not certain that the FCC would include Section 222 as part of any reclassification process. Chairman Tom Wheeler has suggested that any action under Title II would include so-called forbearance measures, which could excuse the companies from many of the new obligations.

Feld suggested that if the FCC does choose to implement Title II without Section 222, it could fall back on the more general provision known as Section 201, which requires carriers among other things to act in the “public interest.”

The outcome of the final net neutrality debate, slated for a likely FCC vote on February 26, is far from certain. But the emergence of the supercookie issue could provide another argument for net neutrality supporters to urge the FCC to go-ahead with reclassification.

FCC issues warning on Wi-Fi blocking, cites “disturbing” trend

The Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday sent out a public notice warning hotels, convention centers and other businesses not to tamper with consumers’ personal Wi-Fi hot spots, or else face penalties.

From the FCC’s statement:

In the 21st Century, Wi-Fi represents an essential on-ramp to the Internet. Personal Wi-Fi networks, or “hot spots,” are an important way that consumers connect to the Internet.  Willful or malicious interference with Wi-Fi hot spots is illegal…The Enforcement Bureau has seen a disturbing trend in which hotels and other commercial establishments block wireless consumers from using their own personal Wi-Fi hot spots on the commercial establishment’s premise.

The announcement comes months after the agency reached a $600,000 settlement with the Marriott International Hotel over that chain’s use of so called “de-authentication packets” to deactivate customers’ personal signals. Since that episode, the FCC claims, commercial internet providers have complained about numerous other incidents of businesses interfering with Wi-Fi. The agency also said it is conducting investigations — suggesting other fines may be forthcoming.

Hotels like Marriott have sought to frame the issue as one of safety, arguing that they want to limit “rogue” access points. But skeptics claim the hotel and others implement the blocking tactics for no other reason than to protect the lucrative fees they can charge consumers for access to in-house Wi-Fi.

Earlier this month, Marriott and other hotels backed a petition urging the FCC to change its Wi-Fi policies. Today’s notice suggests the agency’s answer is “no dice.”

In surprise FCC filing, Sprint endorses net neutrality

Supporters of net neutrality got a boost from an unlikely source on Friday as telecom giant Sprint stated in a letter to the FCC that it would support so-called “Title II” regulation, which is the only legal tool that the agency can use to ensure internet providers can’t favor some websites over others.

The filing is significant because, until now, the telecom industry has been largely opposed to the use of Title II. Here is the key passage from the letter (my emphasis):

So long as the FCC continues to allow wireless carriers to manage our networks and differentiate our products, Sprint will continue to invest in data networks regardless of whether they are regulated by Title II, Section 706, or some other light touch regulatory regime.

This position stands in stark contrast to what other carriers, including [company]Verizon[/company] and [company]AT&T[/company], have espoused. In particular, the carriers have warned that Title II would provide a major disincentive to invest in upgrades to their internet offerings.

Sprint’s letter, which can be read in full below, comes before an important FCC meeting on February 26 at which the agency is expected to vote on new rules for the internet. The process became necessary after a major court decision one year ago that struck down a prior version of the FCC’s net neutrality rules.

While wireless data providers like [company]Sprint[/company] were not covered by the earlier net neutrality rules, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has hinted strongly that they will be included in whatever new regime the agency imposes.

The letter from Sprint also represents an ongoing shift in momentum in favor of Title II, which appeared to be a long shot at the outset of the process.

Last spring, FCC Chairman floated a plan that would have allowed internet providers to offer special “fast lanes” to preferred websites, but soon reversed course. Meanwhile, companies like Netflix and comedian John Oliver also helped to increase consumers’ support for net neutrality.

Letter – Bye to FCC

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