Mobile Carriers are Moving to Charge per page view as Net Neutrality Vote Awaits

For the past 5 years.. we’ve been relentless about getting information out to our community about Net Neutrality. We’ve written lots of articles and posted up lots of videos on the subject. We know it’s not a sexy subject and for many its hard to understand, yet it’s the most important thing effecting Free Speech. In a nutshell, large corporate interests are on a mission to suppress the flow of information from the masses.

The topic of Net Neutrality being confusing, boring and off-putting has been deliberate. There’s lots of money.. we’re talking billions of dollars if Net Neutrality is deaded. This is why the  big telecoms like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast have spent almost a billion dollars lobbying  to get rid of it.

There’s also huge opportunity to make a small handful of anointed people and organizations gilded information gatekeepers or the beneficiaries of huge sponsorship for conventions and other projects provided they saddle up with the telecoms and use their political and social capital to make this a non issue, keep folks in the community confused or in some cases aggressively advocate.

For years one of the strongest supporters of Net Neutrality was Google.. They had promised to never be an ‘evil company’. A couple of months ago they stunned everyone when they sat down with Verizon, one of the strongest proponents of ending net neutrality.. The pair came up with a proposal to bring before the FCC in a last-minute attempt to scuttle a vote by congress on the issue.

In the proposal Google said it was important to keep Net Neutrality in place on PCs, but it was every man  or this case every company for itself in the wireless world.. They proposed getting rid of this protection.  Their proposal drew widespread criticism and set off a firestorm of protests including one that drew several hundred in front of their Mountainview Headquarters. Google insisted that their proposal would work great. Some wanted to believe.

Here we are the day before a historic vote by the FCC to decide whether or not to keep Net Neutrality and now the longer game plans of the telecoms are coming to light. They are already drawing up pricing schemes to start charging cell phone users usage by the page view and by the use of certain features  like using Youtube, Twitter or Facebook. We’ve already seen companies saying they are dropping unlimited data packages. This is why.

The argument these telecoms have put forth has been too much bandwidth is being used.. Thats BS.. What’s their seeing is all these new , faster, more efficient applications being used and the potential for a handful of companies to score big..

we encourage everyone to check out this article laying out some of the details..from Wired Magazine

Sadly deading Net Neutrality goes beyond money. It’s also about maintaining power and influence which has led companies like Google to quietly do things like create a tier system for news and information. Long time Tech columnist Zennie Abraham of pointed this out a few weeks ago when he pointed out that ‘legacy’  (corporate) news outlets were pressuring telecoms and companies like Google to separate their product from blogs who were beating them to the punch in covering and uncovering many stories.

Zennie pointed out that almost overnight thousands of blogs not only lost their traffic, but revenue as Google moved to place corporate backed news operations on the front page of their search engines and blogs and other entities in a another section not readily available or known to the general public.  What’s crazy is that you cant even pull up the several columns that Zennie actually wrote on his own blog. It only shows up on outlets that picked up the story such as Seattle PI which links to this story.

Overnight you found topics that were almost exclusively driven by bloggers disappear only to see corporate back outlets take their place. So take a topic like ‘Oscar Grant‘. You look up his name in Google News and all you see are the mainstream media who was the subject of harsh criticism and even protests by community members for with holding crucial information, demonizing Oscar, being embedded with the police during protests and in recent days being a cheerleader for Johannes Mehserle, the former cop convicted of killing Grant. Almost overnight we no longer saw in Google search engines outlets like Indy Bay which was by far the most popular go to place for Grant information.

The Final Call which covered this extensively disappeared. My two sites disappeared as well as Youth Radio, Oakland Local, Oakland Seen, Block Report, Black Hour and about half-dozen other sites that were doing round the clock coverage.  What get eliminated from the discussion is the investigative work by these independent journalist that discovered Mehserle’s violent past which was pretty much ignored by Mainstream Outlets. What was missing were the stories of innocent people arrested and roughed up by police  who were out during the protests and were umbrelled as rowdy destructive people..

The blogs and independent stories told the harrowing stories experienced by people like Civil Rights attorney Walter Riley and community elder who was arrested in front of his office or Joseph Anderson a journalist who was recently arrested without warning while actually on the air reporting. Those and many other stories disappeared.

Suppression and omission of information is what’s going on as we move in a direction of deading Net Neutrality. If the FCC votes to give control to these corporate giants we can expect to see this increase even more.  Today its the bloggers doing politics, but soon if not already it will be independent artists, whistleblowers and any number of folks who feel they need to get information out  but find themselves handcuffed. This is happening now.. We hope folks pay attention to tomorrows vote there’s a lot at stake.

Be the first to know. The Coalition has set up a streaming website where you can witness the vote as it happens, beginning at 10:30 a.m. ET, Tuesday, Dec. 21:

Watch the vote on Net

Join us online to watch the vote and connect with others. We’ll be hosting an online conversation with hundreds of other Net Neutrality supporters who are working together to protect the open Internet.

Let the FCC know that we’re watching:

If you plan to be in Washington on Tuesday, you can come to witness the vote in person. It’s open to the public. I will be outside the meeting with other Free Press staffers to meet with Net Neutrality supporters and pass out information. Come see us and get an “I Support Net Neutrality” sticker to wear into the meeting:

What: FCC Meeting on the open Internet
Where: Room TW-C305
445 12th Street, S.W
Washington, D.C.
When: Tuesday, Dec. 21, 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time

(If you plan to attend in person, please come early. We expect a full room.)

More than 2 million people have urged the agency to create real and lasting Net Neutrality protections. We can’t let FCC commissioners turn their backs on us and vote with Comcast and AT&T.

written by Davey D

Pres Obama’s FCC Throws Another Constituency Thrown Under The Bus-Big Showdown Dec 21

After campaigning as a champion of network neutrality, President Obama has decisively broken yet another promise. The FCC votes December 21 on rules proposed by the president’s FCC chairman which will begin the transformation of the free and open internet into somethning much more like cable TV, with corporate control over content, and hundreds or thousands of “channels”, but not much worth watching.

President Obama’s FCC Sells Out on Network Neutrality – Another Constituency Thrown Under The Bus

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Bruce A. Dixon

Bruce Dixon

Never mind the big tent,” declared a cartoon by the artist Mike Fluggenock during the 2008 presidential campaign. “There’s room for all” the caption declared “under Obama’s Big Bus.” A full two years after that historic election, it’s hard to name any part of the Democratic party’s base constituencies that President Obama has not decisively betrayed. Last week gays, women, blacks, Latinos, the environment, the peace movement, labor, the unemployed and a host of others were joined beneath the speeding wheels of the Obama bus by those millions of Americans who believe greedy corporations should not control what we see, hear, write and communicate over the internet.

President Obama campaigned on the promise that he would take a back seat to nobody in guaranteeing the free and open internet. Two years out, it’s abundantly clear thatu the president lied to us, and to the American people on network neutrality.

The pending merger between Comcast and NBC would create a gigantic corporation with both the motive and means to privilege the delivery of its own content over the enormous fraction of the internet that they own, and to slow down, inhibit, or apply surcharges to content originating from outside. Neither the administration’s Justice Department or FCC have lifted a finger to oppose it. So-called compromise rules announced last week by Obama’s FCC Chairman Julius Genachowki pay only the faintest lip service to the concept that the internet should be a common carrier available to all, and provide vast loopholes for internet providers to apply punitive charges to content and content providers they disfavor.

Thanks to the Obama administration, which once enjoyed the enthusiastic support of the media justice community, greedy telecom corporations will at last have their wish — that the internet will become a lot more like cable TV — five hundred, or five thousand channels, but nothing worth watching. The proposed FCC regulations will allow corporations even more power to control and restrict the content delivered via wireless broadband internet, thought to be the internet delivery technology of the future. Needless to say, the telecom and cable companies are well pleased. Their paid stooges at the Alliance for Digital Equality, the Minority Media Telecommunications Council, LULAC, the National Coalition for Black Civic Participation and the NAACP, and the Congressional Black Caucus are raking in telecom donations and cranking out press releases assuring us that giving their benefactors more control over the internet will create jobs and opportunities for all of us little people.

The five member FCC is scheduled to vote on the proposed rule changes on December 21. Certainly chairman Genachowski will vote for his own rules. Amazingly, it is possible that the two Republican commissioners may not because they object to any regulation of corporations whatsoever. Commissioners Kopps and Clyburn, however, are still thought to be staunch supporters of network neutrality, and should be contacted by email, phone or fax and asked to oppose the Obama proposal to let corporations control what we see, hear and send over the internet. This is a case when doing nothing is better than anything already on the table. For more information on what you can do, visit That’s

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Bruce Dixon.

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Remember the Fight Against Radio Consolidation? Is Net Neutrality the New Consolidation Battleground?

Net Neutrality… This is the make or break issue of our generation much the same way the Telecom Act of 1996 was the make or break issue of the last generation..

Back in ’96, we heard all the same arguments being made by the corporate radio companies like Clear Channel that we are hearing from the telecoms like AT&T and Comcast. We heard people say that it was going to be better for the consumer. Radio companies made the case that if they were allowed to consolidate they would be able to diversify their content because there would be less competition. In other words they could have lots of niche stations that explored various genres of music because they wouldn’t be competing with other stations.

They also made the case that consolidation would be good for people of color because it would allow minority owners to better compete. The reason cited was that it would be easier for minority owners to sell ads when they had more than one station in a market vs one or two. Some of the larger stations came up with a scheme where they would help sell ads for small minority stations. This was done to get these small groups to go alone with the 96 Act. We now know back room deals were cut where small stations agreed not to adapt certain formats and be competition to the mega giant radio companies in the market. For example in LA the Black owned station would agree not to play too much Hip Hop or not go too deep into an oldies format.

Those minority owned stations that tried to tough it out were either brought out or smashed on. The most glaring case of this occurred in the Bay Area which is dominated by Clear Channel. When a small upstart station opened up in Oakland Power 92.7 FM they decided to fill a void and dwell deeper in the urban format. The first thing that happened was Clear Channel executives called the banks and tried to block the small station from getting financing.

Next my old boss Michael Martin sent out letters to the Black/urban departments of all the major labels threatening that if they supported this new station with servicing them new music,  artist interviews or even station ID drops that he would see to it they would not get any airplay on the other Clear Channel properties in this part of the country. The same message went out to local Bay Area artist. Many were scared to come on board and help out for fear of long term, far reaching reprisals. Eventually the station was shut down with a former Clear Channel executive purchasing the station.

I would encourage folks to read this article called Fighting the Power (Upstart rap station Power 92.7 had its eyes on big, bad KMEL, but didn’t watch its back)  written by fellow Bay Area journalist Eric Arnold. It gives you keen insight of what happens when consolidation in an industry we all engage is allowed to happen. Getting rid of Net Neutrality is the equivalent to media consolidation. Just like Clear Channel controls the airwaves as this article bares out, AT&T and Comcast will control the net.. Mark my words.

Back in 96, many of the corporate radio stations who were lobbying for consolidation approached some of the very same Civil Right leaders who the telecoms are approaching now. They promised them radio shows and syndication for shows that existed and assured us people of color would be more visible. President Bill Clinton also championed this bill for increased consolidation. The nations so-called ‘First Black President’  assured us this was needed in order for the Radio industry to grow…

Well since 96 what has grown? We know Clear Channel grew? We know Fox news grew. Meanwhile diversity and people’s satisfaction for radio has shrunk tremendously. By 2003 there were calls for boycotts against radio. The reason being was radio both White and Black owned were pushing a narrow corporate agenda and not responding to the widespread dissatisfaction people had with these outlets.

There were boycotts called for stations ranging from Hot 97 in NY to WJLB in Detroit to WGCI in Chicago to KUBE in Seattle to KMEL in San Francisco. etc. A tribunal addressing concerns about Urban radio in NY drew more than 2000 people to a church in Harlem where people launched blistering complaints for over 6 hours. People complained about the dumb down content, the same 10 songs being played day in and day out to lack of access for community voices and local artists. Many also complained about the increasing politically conservative ideals being pushed out. We saw news depertments shrink as consolidation meant that one person would handle duties over 3 or 4 different stations.

The FCC held hearings all over the country to standing room crowds when the industry attempted to get even more consolidation.. The radio companies made the claim that they needed to be allowed to own newspapers and more radio station in a market in order to grow.

Former FCC Chair Michael Powell

When I ran into FCC chair Michael Powell, at a Rainbow Push Conference in 2003, I told him about the tribunal that was held in Harlem the night before. His response was if people don’t like whats taking place on radio then they should go to the Internet. He felt the internet allowed for all those unhappy voices to be heard.

Fast forward to 2010, we now have the telecoms making the same claims as the radio giants from 13-14  years ago. We have some of the same ‘minority’ groups trying to curry favor with the telecoms just like they did with radio corps back in 96. We also have a public that finds the issue boring or extremely complicated just like in 96..If this Net Neutrality is allowed to be deaded on behalf of three telecom companies and the Civil Rights groups they been paying off, were gonna be moaning about the constrictions placed on the internet the same way we do radio.

-Davey D-

Telecom firms’ donations to minority groups criticized as FCC considers net neutrality rules

Key minority organizations are backing the carriers’ efforts to thwart net neutrality proposals. Critics say the millions of dollars and in-kind help the firms pour into the groups is a factor.

By Jennifer Martinez, Los Angeles Times

Some leading minority advocacy groups long have supported AT&T Inc., Comcast Corp. and other major telecommunications firms in the industry’s efforts to win approvals for mergers, get rid of old regulations and avoid new government rules.

And the telecom firms, in turn, have poured millions of dollars of donations and in-kind services, including volunteer help from the carriers’ executive suites, into charitable groups in the communities they serve.

Consumer and public advocates used to whisper about the possibility of conflicts of interest, but now they are openly critical as the battle heats up over proposed federal regulations over net neutrality, the principle that Internet service providers should not restrict content, programs and other uses on their networks.

Key minority groups are backing the carriers’ efforts to thwart the net neutrality proposals, which would, for instance, prohibit carriers from charging more to give some residential and corporate customers priority in delivering online content.

“When you give national civil rights groups millions of private dollars, there’s no firewall strong enough to keep that money out of their policy,” said Malkia Cyril, executive director of the Center for Media Justice.

Cyril and other consumer and public advocates have been buoyed by comments from Federal Communications Commission member Mignon L. Clyburn, a prominent African American and daughter of Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.).

She said in a speech in January that she was surprised that most statements and filings by “some of the leading groups representing people of color have been silent on this make-or-break issue” of net neutrality.

continue reading..,0,5480002,print.story