Results 1 to 12 of 12

Thread: Verizon Using Recent Net Neutrality Victory to Wage War Against Netflix & cloud provider

  1. #1
    Stikini Slayer Penguin Pass Champion, Block n Roll Champion, Attack Of The Fan Girls Champion, Falafel King Champion, Donkey Tail Champion, Little Protectors Champion, When Penguins Attack TD Champion, Grid Iron Champion, Z-Wars Champion, Tribal Jungle Fruit Quest Champion, Open Source Rock Paper Scissors Champion, Nature Race Champion, DirtyColor Champion, American 8-Ball Pool Champion, Gumball Line-up Champion, Digi-Digi Champion, SevenYo! Champion, Firebug 2 Champion, hit the target Champion, Guns Defense Champion, Robot In The Hole Champion, Chicken Licken Champion, Gemollection Players Pack Champion, Fred's Pick Up Tour 3 Champion, Korrode Champion, Zaptonia Defense Champion, The Eggs Mystery Champion, Underwater TD Champion, Easter Defence Champion, CrissCross Champion, Rooftop Sniper Champion, Dragon Ambush 2 Champion, Zombie Smash Tower Defense Champion, US Border TD Champion, Underworld TD Champion, Zombie Trailer Park Champion, Potion Panic 2 Champion, WDYK? 3 Urban Lingo Champion, Bloons Tower Defense 4 Champion, Medicine Dealer Champion, The Blocks Revenge Champion, Animal Catcher Champion, Zombie Disposal Champion, Omg Scary Smiley Champion, The Flame Champion, TumbleDots Champion, Politricks Champion, Pirates Champion, City Digger Champion, redwhite slice Champion, Grammachnophobia Champion, Tabla Champion, Pixelshocks' Tower Defence II Champion, DropSum Champion, Blackbeard's Island Deluxe Champion, Short History of the World Champion, Anatomicus Anatomy Game Champion, Socium Champion, Magic Defense Champion, Bowmaster Champion, Kingdom Of Saguenay TD Champion, Ninjas vs Pirates TD 3 Champion, WasteLand Defender v2 Champion, Red Red Champion, Lucky Coins Champion, Handless Millionaire 2 Champion, TOTWO DARK Champion, Take a Walk Champion, Beat Chaser 2 Champion, 1 Will Survive Champion, Lines Game - Master Champion, Mickey Ball Champion, Windowcleaner Eyetoygame Champion
    ROOT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Palm Coast, Florida, United States
    Blog Entries

    Default Verizon Using Recent Net Neutrality Victory to Wage War Against Netflix & cloud provider

    UPDATE: The team over at Speedchecker Ltd has created a speedtest oriented around this issue. They are going to be collecting data and presenting findings if they get enough data:

    I usually don t post articles about current affairs. However, a recent series of events has inspired me to write about this.
    Towards the end of January, the president of our company – iScan Online, Inc., was complaining that our service was experiencing major slowdowns. I investigated the issue, but I couldn t find anything wrong with our production environment. We were stumped.
    One evening I also noticed a slowdown while using our service from my house. I realized that the one thing in common between me and our president was that we both had FiOS internet service from Verizon.
    Since we host all of our infrastructure on Amazon s AWS – I decided to do a little test – I grabbed a URL from AWS S3 and loaded it.
    I also noticed that our Netflix streaming quality is awful compared to just a few weeks ago.
    Next, I remoted into our office – about a mile away from my house. I tested the same link –
    So I contacted Verizon support over their live chat.
    Verizon had me do a speedtest.
    He says “You have excellent Bandwidth – is there anything else I can help you with?”
    I replied – “Yes. Why are these files slow…”
    So he proceeded to walk me through various troubleshooting:

    • “reboot your router…”
    • “make sure your system has latest updates…
    • “change your wifi channel”

    After about 30 minutes of this – I grew impatient. I explained to him that there was something limiting the speed on their side. He remoted into my system with a screen sharing tool, and I showed him my remote screen to the connection at the office. He kept on saying that bandwidth is different for different locations etc…
    That s when I decided to press him. Here is a screen capture of the final part of our chat:

    Frankly, I was surprised he admitted to this. I ve since tested this almost every day for the last couple of weeks. During the day – the bandwidth is normal to AWS. However, after 4pm or so – things get slow.
    In my personal opinion, this is Verizon waging war against Netflix. Unfortunately, a lot of infrastructure is hosted on AWS. That means a lot of services are going to be impacted by this.
    The scent of fresh cut grass is plants screaming.
    Abolish Lawns and golf courses!
    Suppression of grasses is an inter-kingdom hate crime.

  2. #2

    Default Obama bundler Tom Wheeler helps his former industry from FCC perch

    When Tom Wheeler was appointed the 31st Commissioner CKof the FCC, some media policy watchdogs were skeptical that the former telecommunications executive and Cellular Telecommunications and Internet AssociationCKlobbyist would be willing to "stand up to industry giants and protect the public interest," when faced with important rule making decisions on net neutrality, media mergers and broadband competition. Now, with news that theCKagency plans to allow Internet service providers to charge higher rates for Internet "fast lanes,"CKit appears that at least some of those fears have been vindicated.
    Deemed the "Bo Jackson" of the communications world by a President Obama, Wheeler had played nearly every position in the telecom industry by the time he was nominated to Chair the agency. In addition to presiding over the CTIA and, before that, the National Cable Television Association, Wheeler was a managing director at a venture capital firm and a co-founder of SmartBrief according to his agency bio.CKBut, beyond his experience on the front lines of the communications industry, Wheeler had ingratiated himself with the administration in another key way: bundling campaign cash for Obama.
    Thanks to lists of bundlersCKvoluntarilyCKdisclosed by the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaigns (available on, we know that Wheeler raised between $200,000 and $500,000 in the 2008 cycle, and at least half a million dollars for the President's reelection campaign. Wheeler personally gave $28,500 to the Obama Victory Fund in 2008. In Feb. 2012, he hosted a high-priced fundraiser for the president, where attendees toCKWashington's Mayflower hotelCKforked over between $5,000 to $20,300 to eat lunch and snap pictures with the First Lady.

    Unfortunately, as there is no law on the books mandating bundling disclosure, it's not clear what sources Wheeler tapped to pull together the rest of this cash.
    Major broadband providers like Comcast and Verizon also contributed large sums to Obama's campaign coffers. Influence Explorer reveals that the political committees and employees of the two Internet giants have contributed at least $530,000 and $450,000 respectively.
    Jenn Topper contributing

    The Rest of the story ...

  3. #3

    Default How telecoms and cable have dominated net neutrality lobbying

    This article originally appeared in The Daily Dot under the title "These are the companies spending the most money to kill net neutrality." With the Federal Communications Commission s (FCC) decision to move forward with a controversial proposal that threatens net neutrality and the open Internet, lobbying activity looks like it has reached a fevered pitch. But for the organizations involved, especially the telecom companies who are eager to be allowed to charge more for a “fast lane” of Internet service, lobbying has been at a fevered pitch for almost a decade.
    Going back to 2005 (when the phrase “net neutrality” first shows up in lobbying disclosure reports) the biggest opponents of net neutrality (Verizon, AT&T, Comcast and their allies) have lobbied against net neutrality about three times as hard as the biggest proponents of neutrality (Level 3, Google, Microsoft and their allies).
    To better understand the lobbying dynamics around net neutrality, we took the long view and tallied up the 20 lobbying organizations that mentioned “net neutrality” or “network neutrality” most often in their lobbying reports between 2005 and 2013. In the top 20, we found an even split: 10 pro-neutrality organizations and 10 anti-neutrality organizations. But when it came to intensity, the lobbying was far from balanced. The top pro-neutrality organizations filed 176 lobbying reports mentioning net neutrality. But the top anti-neutrality organizations far outpaced them, filing 472 reports that mentioned net neutrality. That s a 2.7 to 1 ratio.
    When we arrange the top 20 net neutrality lobbying organizations by amount of reports on the issue (Figure 1), the disparity is clear. The five most active organizations on the issue since 2005 – Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the National Music Publishers Association – are all opposed to neutrality. Verizon and AT&T are heads and shoulders above everyone else, with an estimated 119 reports mentioning net neutrality each.
    Figure 1. Graphic credit: The Sunlight Foundation Not only does the anti-net neutrality faction devote more lobbying attention to the issue. These top organizations also consistently have a much larger lobbying footprint. Figure 2 looks at the money that the top pro- and anti-neutrality organizations have spent lobbying since 2003. Consistently, the anti-neutrality groups have outspent the pro-neutrality groups by a more than a 5-to-1 margin, although this has narrowed to closer to 3-to-1 in recent years as Google Inc. has increased its lobbying presence.
    Figure 2. Graphic credit: The Sunlight Foundation Of the five organizations with vested interests in this issue that spent the most money in 2012 (the last year for which we have complete data), four oppose neutrality. All five, though, spent impressive sums.
    Organization Total Lobbying Expenditures Position on Net Neutrality
    National Cable & Telecommunications Assn $18,890,000 Anti
    Google Inc. $18,220,000 Pro
    AT&T Inc. $17,460,000 Anti
    Verizon Communications $15,020,000 Anti
    Comcast Corp. $14,680,000 Anti
    While the dispute over network neutrality is often thought of as a battle between giant corporations, it s clear from the data that over the lifespan of this issue, the pressure has been far from equal. The leading opponents of neutrality (largely the internet service providers) have devoted significantly more resources to lobbying than the leading supporters of net neutrality (largely the big tech companies). While the tech companies have been expanded their lobbying presence recently, they are still playing catch-up. The big telecom companies have spent years convincing key decision-makers. We will see today whether all their intense lobbying has paid off.
    Note on methodology:
    We determined organizations positions on net neutrality based on whether the companies CEOs had signed on to relevant letters to the FCC. If this information was not available, we assessed other public statements of position released by the corporation/organization or its officers. The Christian Coalition has a public statement in defense of net neutrality on its website, as does Dish Network. The most difficult to classify in our top 20 list was Apollo Investment Management. Largely, lobbying on net neutrality by Apollo has been on behalf of its subsidiary, Hughes Network Systems, a satellite broadband provider. A February 2010 trade publication on the Hughes website argues that a pro-net neutrality FCC is good for the satellite broadband industry as it “should tend to level the playing field … by preventing larger terrestrial providers from entering into preferential deals with content providers.”
    Cisco has an anti-net neutrality statement on its site. Corporate officers at Tekelec have spoken publicly in favor of network management, and against net neutrality, especially in the mobile broadband market on multiple occasions. The National Music Publishers Association has argued for a non-net neutral approach that will require ISPs to engage in network management to block or throttle traffic that violates copyright.
    Lobbying activity was aggregated up to the parent company, rather than looking at individual subsidiaries. For example, lobbying activity by Verizon Wireless was counted as activity by Verizon Communication, its parent company.
    All dollar amounts are shown in inflation adjusted 2012 dollars.

    The Rest of the story ...

  4. #4

    Default What can we learn from 800,000 public comments on the FCC's net neutrality plan?

    Dig into the data

    If you’re interested in doing your own analysis with this data, you can download our cleaned-up versions below.On Aug. 5, the Federal Communications Commission announced the bulk release of the comments from its largest-ever public comment collection. We've spent the last three weeks cleaning and preparing the data and leveraging our experience in machine learning and natural language processing to try and make sense of the hundreds-of-thousands of comments in the docket. Here is ahigh-level overview, as well as our cleaned version of the full corpus which is available for download in the hopes of making further research easier.
    Our first exploration uses natural language processing techniques to identify topical keywords within comments and use those keywords to group comments together. We analyzed a corpus of 800,959 comments. Some key findings:

    • We estimate that less than 1percent of comments were clearly opposed to net neutrality.
    • At least 60 percent of comments submitted were form letters written by organized campaigns (484,692 comments); while these make up the majority of comments, this is actually a lower percentage than is common for high-volume regulatory dockets.
    • At least 200 comments came from law firms, on behalf of themselves or their clients.

    Below is an interactive visualization that lets you explore these groupings and view individual comments within the groups.
    Graphic credit: Sunlight Foundation. To embed this on your site, click "embed this widget."In-depth exploration of the topical keywords revealed several prominent recurring themes, both in form letter and non-form letter submissions (see below for a more detailed exploration of form letter submissions). Among the most common:

    • Around two-thirds of commenters objected to the idea of paid priority for Internet traffic, or division of Internet traffic into separate speed tiers. This topic was discussed in many independent comments, as well as form letter campaigns organized by the Nation, Battle for the Net, CREDO Action, Daily Kos and Free Press. Common keywords in this group included "slow/fast lane," “pay to play,” “wealthy,” “divide” and “Netflix."
    • About the same number of comments, including submissions from form letter campaigns organized by the Nation, Badass Digest, CREDO Action, Daily Kos and Free Press, asked the FCC to reclassify ISPs as common carriers under the 1934 Communications Act. Common keywords in these comments included "common carrier," “(re)classify," “authority” and “Title II” (a part of the act that might grant the FCC this authority). A smaller portion of commenters advocated a regulatory strategy with a similar effect but a different legal basis, relying on section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act.
    • The subject of Internet access as an essential freedom comprised more than half of comments included in form letters from the Nation, Battle for the Net, CREDO Action and Daily Kos. Common topic words included "important," “vitally," “economy," “essential," “resource” and “cornerstone."
    • Almost half of comments, including form letters from Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Nation, Battle for the Net, Daily Kos and Free Press, discussed the economic impact, or the impact on small businesses and innovation, of the end of net neutrality. Typical terms in these comments included "work," “competition," “startup," “kill," “barrier” and “entry."
    • Around 40 percent of comments, including campaign letters from EFF, Battle for the Net and Daily Kos, discussed the importance of consumer choice, or the impact of regulations on consumer fees. Topic words included "access," “choice," “entertainment,” “fee,” “content,” “extort” and “extract."
    • About one-third of comments, including those in Battle for the Net’s campaign, discussed the importance of competition among ISPs. Frequent terms included "monopoly" and “competition,” “Comcast,” “Verizon” and “Warner.”
    • Several form letters either from the Daily Kos or of unknown provenance (combined with non-form letters) advocated treating broadband providers like a public utility. About 15 percent of comments discussed this topic.
    • A small number of comments (around 5 percent, including letters from Stop Net Neutrality and a Tea Partier blog) had anti-regulation messages. Interestingly, some of these comments seemed to emphasize freedom for consumers while others advocated freedom for ISPs, two positions seemingly at odds with one another.

    Additionally, a couple of topics came up in significant enough numbers of comments to be noteworthy despite not occurring in any of the form letter campaigns. These included comments calling for the resignation of FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler or other FCC commissioners or staff (about 2500 comments), and people either mentioning John Oliver by name or using the words "dingo" or “f*ckery,” again typically directed at Tom Wheeler, comprising about 1500 comments, and likely motivated by usage of these terms in Oliver’s .
    Wait, where are the 1.1 million comments?

    The comments were originally released by the FCC as six continuous XML files, with two caveats:
    First, mailed comments postmarked prior to July 18 are still being scanned and entered into the ECFS and may not be reflected in the files. We will post an updated XML file when they are completed, so stay tuned.
    We haven’t received word of any updates since the original release.
    Second, certain handwritten comments may not be searchable. For this reason, source links to these comments are included in the files.
    More than 500 comments had text fields which were blank. Our guess is that these may correspond to handwritten comments.
    The XML files contained 446,719 records. Many of these contained a single comment each, but some contained multitudes. We wrote custom processing scripts to break up the multiple-comment records, revealing the total count of 801,781 comments. Of these, some were discarded as unparseable or too long (both Les Misérables and War and Peace were submitted as comments), leaving the final count at 800,959 comments.
    Detecting expert submissions

    After speaking with policy experts from the Open Technology Institute and Public Knowledge, we learned some interesting details about comment submission. While most public comments were submitted using a simplified form or via email, experienced submitters made use of a more complex form. Comments submitted by these "experts" were marked in the data, giving us an easy way to isolate them.
    Once isolated, they provided the basis for training a piece of artificial intelligence software called a text classifier. We trained the classifier to detect expert language based on examples from submissions that we knew were from experts. It was then able to read comments submitted through the simple form or via email and tell us whether or not each was likely to have been written by an expert. The classifier found approximately 6,700 such comments. Approximately 3,900 of these were form letters with this basic structure:
    To Chairman Tom Wheeler and the FCC CommissionersTo the FCCPlease build any net neutrality argument upon solid legal standing. Specifically, this means reclassifying broadband under Title II of the Telecommunications Act of 1934. 706 authority from the Telecommunications Act has been repeatedly struck down in court after legal challenges by telecom companies. Take the appropriate steps to prevent this from happening again.Sincerely,*XXXX*
    While this was almost certainly penned by an expert, we’re considering it a non-expert submission, because it seems to have been part of a broader organized campaign. Of the remaining 2,846 comments, 567 of them contain at least 200 words, which we feel is an appropriate heuristic to apply to expert submissions. In summary, our back-of-the-envelope estimate of the number of expert submissions is 600, or 0.08 percent of the 800,959 comments analyzed.
    Form letters

    We searched within the topical groupings that powered the visualization above to find groups of comments with very low amounts of text variation from one comment to another, yielding a similar result (though using different technology better suited to the extreme size of this docket) to the form letter detection visualizations employed in our Docket Wrench tool. After manual review of these groups, we estimate that at least 20separate form letter writing campaigns drove submissions to this docket, ranging in size from a few hundred comments to more than100,000and together comprising almost 500,000 comments, or about 60 percent of the corpus that we examined. We made a cursory attempt at trying to find the organizations that orchestrated each form letter writing campaign. In the interactive visualization below, we've shown each group, along with its sponsoring organization if we were able to find it. The visualizationis color-coded by whether each group appears to support or oppose net neutrality (the lone opposing group is difficult to see, but is shown in red near the center):
    Graphic credit: Sunlight Foundation. To embed this on your site, click "embed this widget."While form letters do appear to make up the majority of the comments, it’s actually surprising how many of the submitted comments seemed not to have been driven by form letter writing campaigns. In previous analyses of high-volume dockets, we’ve found that it’s not unusual for form letter contributions to make up in excess of 90 percent of a docket’s total submissions, with the percentage of comments coming from form letter campaigns being well-correlated with the total number of comments received. The two largest dockets in Docket Wrench, the Department of State Keystone XL rulemaking and the Internal Revenue Service docket on political activity undertaken by social welfare organizations, both from earlier this year, are each dominated by form letter comments, with more than75 percent of the comments in each having been classified as form letter submissions by our detection systems.
    It’s difficult to know why, exactly, more members of the public apparently wrote letters themselves in this rulemaking than is typical for large dockets. It could bean indicator of a genuinely higher level of personal investment and interest in this issue, or perhaps this docket drew organizers who employed different "get out the comment" techniques than we have seen in the past.
    Even within the form letters, we see evidence of various kinds of innovation in terms of the way form letter campaigns have been run. EFF’s campaign gives submitters several opportunities to choose from a menu of options at various points within the text, for example. More intriguingly, several groups of comments that we were unable to attribute show subtle textual variations that don’t seem to alter the meaning of the text in the way that EFF’s do. These groups appear to all be about the same size, leading us to believe that a single overall population of users might have been solicited to submit comments and was then automatically uniformly segmented in some fashion. This could have been to test which versions of the comment text got the most users to submit (along the lines of the A/B testing commonly used in software development). It could also perhaps be an effort to foil exactly the kind of automated grouping tools we (and some federal agencies) might employ to make large volumes of comments like this one easier to review.
    Finally, while comments submitted as part of form letter campaigns are similar to one another, it's important to note that they're not identical. Many submitters take the opportunity to personalize their comment beyond what was supplied by the campaign's template language. How exactly they vary is an interesting question, and worth pursuing.
    Downloading the data

    If you’re interested in doing your own analysis with this data, you can download our cleaned-up versions below. We’ve taken the six XML files released by the FCC and split them out into individual files in JSON format, one per comment, then compressed them into archives, one for each of XML file. Additionally, we’ve taken several individual records from the FCC data that represented multiple submissions grouped together, and split them out into individual files (these JSON files will have hyphens in their filenames, where the value before the hyphen represents the original record ID). This includes email messages to, which had been aggregated into bulk submissions, as well as mass submissions from CREDO Mobile, Sen. Bernie Sanders’ office and others. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have about how these files were generated, or how to use them.

    Ideas for further investigation

    We've only just scratched the surface of what could be learned from such a rich dataset. Here are some other promising avenues of investigation that have occurred to us. If you pursue them, please let us know! Bonus points for research that comes complete with links to open source code and data.

    • How do commenters augment the template responses provided by form letter campaigns? What do they add, delete or modify? What consistently stays intact?
    • Do models of non-form submissions surface topics that we haven't found? What about models of expert submissions?
    • How are individual words related to one another? Eg, what modifiers are used for terms like "ISP," "Wheeler," "Internet," etc.
    • Looking at email addresses, which domains are most popular?
    • How often are key political figures or elements of government mentioned?
    • Which other services or utilities isbroadband Internet compared with, and how often?
    • How do commenters break out by gender? (This is more difficult than it seems, even if you're using the way fun Genderize API. Often the commenter's real name can only be found in the body of the comment itself, not in the "applicant" field)

    To help get you started, we’ve released all of the code we used to do our analysis in a GitHub repository, and it depends on entirely on open-source tools.

    We’d like to thank Michael Weinberg and his colleagues at Public Knowledge, and Sarah Morris of the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute for their invaluable advice in better understanding this data. We’d also like to thank Radim ?eh??ek, maintainer of the gensim library, which was crucial to our text analysis.

    The Rest of the story ...

  5. #5

    Default One group dominates the second round of net neutrality comments

    A letter-writing campaign that appears to have been organized by a shadowy organization with ties to the Koch Brothers inundated the Federal Communications Commission with missives opposed to net neutrality (NN), an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation reveals.
    Over the past several months, the Federal Communications Commission has been working towards a new set of rules around net neutrality, and a large part of that process has been accepting comments from the public. In September, we reported on our analysis of the comments from the first comment period of this rulemaking, and we’d now like to take a look at the comments from the second, which the FCC released in bulk in October. We again used natural language processing techniques to examine the approximately 1.6 million comments we successfully extracted from this batch of comments, helping to expose important topics discussed in the comments, and to group similar comments together.
    Among our key findings from round two:

    • In marked contrast to the first round, anti-net neutrality commenters mobilized in force for this round, and comprised the majority of overall comments submitted, at 60%. We attribute this shift almost entirely to the form-letter initiatives of a single organization, American Commitment, who are single-handedly responsible for 56.5% of the comments in this round.

    Who's behind the group that flooded the FCC with anti-net neutrality comments?

    American Commitment, the group behind a majority of the recent anti-net neutrality comments, is affiliated with the Koch brothers’ network. Read more.
    • In large part because of this campaign, the percentage of comments submitted that we believe to have been form letter submissions was significantly higher for this round than the last one, at 88%.
    • Non-form-letter submissions had a similar sentiment distribution as comments in the first round, at less than 1% opposed to net neutrality.
    • In general, many more comments were difficult to classify in this round than in the first round. Some of the new campaigns on the anti-net neutrality side appear to have been crafted to use similar language to the successful pro-neutrality campaigns of the first round, while supporting opposite conclusions, and many non-form-letter comments used talking points from both camps, making their ultimate intents unclear.
    • As with the last round, the corpus also included submissions on behalf of telecommunications firms, advocacy organizations, etc., which were written using formal legal language that set them apart from the bulk of the comments. Again, these were a tiny fraction of a percent of overall comments.
    • Combined with the first round comments, we characterize 41% of the total comments submitted as being anti-net neutrality (with the balance being a mix of pro-NN and comments with no clear opinion), and we estimate that 79% of submissions came as part of form letter campaigns.

    Below is a revised version of our comment visualization tool, this time exploring the data from the second comment period.
    Graphic credit: Sunlight Foundation. To embed this on your site, click "embed this widget."We again did a deep dive into the topics that came to light from this model. As expected many of the same topics recurred in the comments in this round:

    • Opposition to paid priority or tiered speed was again commonly discussed in pro-NN comments. Form letter campaigns discussing this topic included those from FreePress, BattleForTheNet, Credo, Daily Kos and the Sierra Club.
    • Many commenters again discussed various legal rationales for net neutrality, with phrases like "common carrier," “title II,” and “public utility.” Such phrases occurred in about half of comments in this iteration.
    • Arguments about the economy were common in both pro-NN and anti-NN comments, with disagreements as to which policy best favored economic growth.

    Additionally, particularly on the now-better-represented anti-net neutrality side, some new framings were apparent:

    • Similar to, but less ambiguous than, the messaging that emerged from tea-partier groups in round one, was a set of arguments that dominated the anti-NN comments in round two, and that we believe originated with conservative activist organization American Commitment. Comments from this campaign had a shared template, with different targeted messages inserted between the second and third paragraph. Those targeted messages centered on topics as far ranging as personal freedoms, economic threats, the poor state of US public utilities, and the characterization of pro-NN advocates as extreme leftists (Free Press’s Robert McChesney is portrayed as a Communist).
    • A separate, smaller contingent that opposed FCC action on net neutrality suggested that while net neutrality regulation might be within the government’s purview, it would be better left to Congress. Most of the comments in this group came from a form letter campaign organized by TechFreedom.

    Our identification of form letters followed the same approach as last round: identify clusters with particularly low variance and peruse them to confirm shared boilerplate language. This task was much easier with the second round, however, because there was less noise within each cluster. Because the corpus as a whole contained mostly form letters, partitioning it into clean "neighborhoods" was not difficult. Also, the uniformity of the comments submitted through campaigns like American Commitment’s, TechFreedom’s and BattleForTheNet’s made clustering them together fairly straightforward. American Commitment’s clusters were very well behaved because their shared boilerplate was distinctive enough to exclude them from other groupings, hence the large blue supercluster that houses nearly all of their clusters. American Commitment’s tendency to have clusters of approximately 32,000 comments made spotting them easy, too.
    Graphic credit: Sunlight Foundation. To embed this on your site, click "embed this widget."For comparison purposes, here are simplified versions of the form letter visuals from parts one and two, side-by-side:

    A new get-out-the-comments player

    The clear takeaway in examining the comments from round two is the way in which the campaigns we attribute to American Commitment completely changed the balance of opinions expressed. With their comments excluded, the corpus would have looked quite a bit like the first round:

    • About 728,000 total comments (vs. about 800,000 in round one)
    • 75% of comments would have been form letters (compared to about 60% from the first round)
    • About 4% of comments would have opposed net neutrality, only a slight increase from the first comment round

    Perhaps just as striking as the scale of American Commitment’s efforts was the breadth; most form letter organizers drove large-scale submission of a single comment template, and while many allowed submitters to customize their comments, most submitters apparently chose not to do so. This resulted in one group of nearly identical submissions for most campaign organizers (this kind of behavior is also typical of our experience with form letters in other regulatory arenas). A few more sophisticated campaigners had more than one template, or allowed submitters to plug variant sentences into a single template, but this was generally the extent of the per-submitter variation.
    American Commitment, by contrast, had at least 30 different comment variants, many offering wildly different rationales justifying their positions, and taking positions across the political spectrum in their specifics. The number and timing are almost identical across comment templates, which we believe most likely suggests random assignment of prospective submitters to different comment pools, perhaps as a means of testing which messaging drew more submitters, or possibly to try and evade the kind of automated form letter grouping we and others did in the first round. Here is the comment template:
    Dear Mr. Wheeler,

    As an American citizen, I wanted to voice my opposition to the FCC’s crippling new regulations that would put federal bureaucrats in charge of internet freedom, and urge you to stop these regulations before they’re enacted.

    If the federal government goes through these plans to regulate the internet, I know that the internet will change -- and not for the better.


    Like many Americans, I believe that the internet should remain free of government control and unnecessary regulation -- just as it has for the last twenty years of unprecedented growth.

    Please stop the FCC’s dangerous new regulations, and protect the future of internet freedom here in America.



    ...and here’s a sampling of the variant comments, along with their submission counts and timelines:
    The Internet is not broken, and does not need to be fixed. Left-wingextremists have been crying wolf for the past decade about the harm to theInternet if the Federal government didn’t regulate it. Not only were theywrong, but the Internet has exploded with innovation. Do not regulate theInternet. The best way to keep it open and free is what has kept it open andfree all along -- no government intervention. 150654
    Americans have been getting faster and faster Internet speeds because of competition in the free economy, not because of anything the government has done. The Internet does not need the federal government’s "help" and neither the American people nor their elected representatives are asking for the federal government to place political controls over the Internet. The people calling for government control over the Internet are a tiny minority of far-left political activists, and the FCC knows it. Any effort by the FCC to regulate the Internet will be seen by the vast majority of the American people for what it is -- another lawless Obama Administration power grab. 32281
    The Internet is the biggest economic, intellectual, and artistic success story of the century, and it rose up because of free people, not stifling government. The federal government needs to keep its hands off the Internet. It is not broken, and it does not need to be fixed. It is the federal government, not the Internet, that is broken, and in need of fixing. 32257
    Before our government can handcuff a citizen, it must have some reasonable evidence that they have done something wrong. Before the FCC places regulatory handcuffs on Internet providers, shouldn’t the government present evidence that they have actually done something wrong? If the police were to handcuff someone because they might, theoretically, maybe, kind of do something wrong someday, there would be justifiable outrage. Such is the case with the FCC’s attempt to place regulatory handcuffs on Internet providers -- just in case they might do something wrong someday. The FCC’s rulemaking in the absence of any actual problem, any actual misbehavior on the part of Internet providers, or any consumer harm is beneath the dignity of an expert agency. 32412
    The ideological leader of the angry liberals calling for you to reduce the Internet to a public utility is Robert McChesney, the avowed Marxist founder of the socialist group Free Press. In an interview with, McChesney said: “What we want to have in the U.S. and in every society is an Internet that is not private property, but a public utility...At the moment, the battle over network neutrality is not to completely eliminate the telephone and cable companies. We are not at that point yet. But the ultimate goal is to get rid of the media capitalists in the phone and cable companies and to divest them from control.” In a country of over 300 million people, even an extremist like McChesney can find, perhaps, millions of followers. But you should know better than to listen to them. 32198
    Estimating sentiment percentages in non-form comments

    Our overall estimate for the roughly 60/40 split between anti-NN and pro-NN was relatively easy to make, since we could confidently classify 88% of comments after reading the 50 form letters that served as their respective prototypes. Still, we were curious to see what the makeup of the non-form-letter comments was. Not only do the remaining documents represent a significant chunk of the corpus, but they’re also potentially the most interesting. These comments reflect the personal interpretations of their authors and give a sense as to how different advocacy messages are shaping how the public thinks about this complex issue.
    A brief aside: of the 12% of documents that were not form letters, 14,999 (about 1% of the corpus) looked like this:
    To Chairman Tom Wheeler and the FCC Commissioners,

    No Content Found -- Please specify some content

    ruby Michel

    This submission is obviously an error. Submissions like this appear as the lone gray circle in the form letter visual above. It appears that all of these submissions were just filled in with name and address information, and no actual content. We were able to locate what we think was the source of this phenomenon: Daily Kos specifically directed participants to write their own comment, rather than using a form letter, in this campaign. It appears that about 15,000 respondents didn’t read the instructions and submitted what were essentially blank documents.
    The final 11% of comments (184,120 documents) presented a problem. There were only two of us working on this project, and reading the whole bunch would have kept us busy for quite a while. We decided, instead, to manually read and classify a random sample of 1,840 documents (about 1% of the 11%) to make a training set for an automatic classifier, which is a typical text-mining approach to addressing this type of problem. We trained a similar text classifier in our earlier post to try to estimate the number of expert and non-expert comments in non-form letters.
    We selected a random 20% of comments from each of the high-variance clusters, which were predominantly non-form-letter clusters. Of those, we selected a random 1,844 documents to classify by hand. Unfortunately, anti-NN examples were very rare (9 documents) and the rest of the set was split between pro-NN (1575 documents) and those that were either too vague or inscrutable (260 documents). This is data that is too unbalanced for training an automatic clustering algorithm, and so we treated it as a rough estimate of the makeup of the non-form comment pool: 85.4% pro-NN, 14% unclear, and 0.6% anti-NN.
    This is hardly a scientific approach, but it’s not very surprising to find a preponderance of pro-NN sentiment in the non-form-letter comments. Free Press organized the submission of over 100,000 comments that included the applicant’s name and a short, unprompted message. Furthermore, as mentioned above, there is evidence that Daily Kos charged its participants specifically to write non-form-letter comments.
    Public dialogue or public rant?

    Our experience analyzing these comments has given us a unique vantage point on the public’s relationship to regulatory bodies like the FCC, and the role that advocacy organizations play in mediating that relationship. The FCC’s Electronic Comments Filing System is not primarily designed to serve as a platform for debating regulators’ role in serving the public. Nonetheless, when the public was invited to comment upon rules that many believe would have serious consequences for the business community and consumers alike, it naturally gave rise to one of those elusive “national conversations” about a complex and contentious issue.
    The term “conversation” might be a bit generous in this case, but if there was one, it’s easy to imagine that the original participant -- the FCC itself -- might consider it to have completely de-railed. Very few of the comments address specific elements of Chairman Wheeler’s proposed rules. Instead, they focus on the general notion that network neutrality is something that should be either protected or eschewed, depending on a commenter’s personal or professional concerns. These concerns, however, are not always directly relevant to the issue at hand.
    On the pro-NN side, arguments include network neutrality’s role in protecting our right to free speech and preventing Internet providers from charging consumers higher fees for faster service.
    There can be no freedom if you favor one product over another. Net neutrality is important for protecting free speech, innovation, and healthy competition. Don't let something this unjust happen to the world. (6018210841-8285)
    Without net neutrality, people of the lower middle class wouldn't be able to afford internet fees, so they'd be stunted on their growth as a race of technology. In this day and age, internet connection is so unbelievably vital to being with the goings on, whether it be email, internet news, articles, job applications, the internet play an enormous role in today's society, that if most of America couldn't afford, we'd be setting back our progress as a nation. Plus, you might get riots. (6018211177-9593)
    Needless to say, private companies are under no obligation to uphold the First Amendment, and it’s already an ISP’s prerogative to charge its customers more or less according to the speed of their connections. These areas of discussion are at best secondary to the main issues that Wheeler’s proposed rules would tackle. The FCC has also shown no willingness (or, frankly, technological capacity) to fulfill the surveillance-culture nightmares mentioned in other pro-NN comments:
    Protect A Free Net. We Don't Need The FCC To Turn Into An NSA 2.0. (6018211039-5702)
    Arguments from anti-NN commenters are at times similarly outside the scope of the FCC’s request. Some commenters seem to understand an “open Internet” to be an Internet without any security:
    Open Internet sounds in theory like the right thing to do. Of course! But what about terrorists who creep into our every day lives, no matter how much we protect ourselves? Who's going to protect the Open Internet?
    Anti-NN comments are also sometimes fearful of invasions of privacy:
    The internet is fine the way it is. please leave it alone so the common people can enjoy it. big brother NSA should concentrate on the true enemy of the country not all Americans! (6018305588)
    But on the other hand, the majority of anti-NN comments seem primarily to take issue with the fact that the FCC regulates anything at all:
    I do not understand my government's “need” to fix what isn't broken. Please keep your hands and your laws off the Internet. I see the Internet as a place where the best and worst can exist side by side without hurting anyone. Please, considering it is possibly the last vestige of free speech in the world, allow it to create itself according to the needs of its varied users. Thank you. (02-047-005216)
    As is often the case with complex issues in the public sphere, framing is everything. Both sides in this digital debate appeal to universally cherished values like freedom, personal choice, security, and economic prosperity. It’s easy to see how those foundational American ideals can be used to generate the submission of millions of passionate responses. What’s less clear is whether or not these concerns, often tangential to the issue at hand, are likely to aid the FCC (which, as we’ve pointed out before, is under no obligation to read all comments) in making its final ruling.
    A note about data quality

    As with the first round of filings, the number of comments we’re including here is short of what the FCC says it released. The bulk download on which this archive was based contains, according to the FCC, about 2.5 million comments, but as best as we can determine, there simply aren’t that many comments in the archive. It’s difficult for us to be sure, however, because the format in which the comments were released was extremely challenging to parse.
    The first seven files in the zip archive contained about 725,000 comments, which aligns with what the FCC announcement told us was the number of submissions posted to the agency’s Electronic Comment Filing System. But the FCC also said it is including email comments that didn’t make it into their main system, and we surmise that the remaining files in the zip archive were these comments. This chunk of comments, however, was concatenated together and then arbitrarily chunked into output files, with no delimiter characters between either one comment and the next or one metadata field and the next, such that it was almost impossible to separate comments from one another.
    As was true in round one, we fail to see how the FCC arrived at the count that was widely publicized. Clearly, 1.67 million documents is far short of 2.5 million (the number reported in the commission’s blog post). We spent enough time with these files that we’re reasonably sure that the FCC’s comment counts are incorrect and that our analysis is reasonably representative of what’s there, but the fact that it’s impossible for us to know for sure is problematic, and while we laud the FCC for its good intentions in releasing this data in bulk, we expect better-quality releases from federal agencies to the public. The technical difficulties plaguing the FCC that have hampered their collection of public feedback in this rulemaking are, at this point, well-documented, and it’s clearer now than ever that the FCC needs to make a serious investment in technical infrastructure if it wants the community to seriously engage with its data. Thankfully, it seems that FCC technical staff is aware of these problems, because this kind of release just isn’t good enough.
    Comment data

    As with the first round, we’re pleased to make available a cleaned up version of the bulk comments for this round of comments. We’ve split the comments from the FCC dump into individual JSON files (one per comment), including both the ECFS comments and the mangled email messages, and also parsed and split an aggregate submission from FreePress representing several thousand comments that showed up as one unintelligible comment in the FCC data.
    We weren’t able to explore many of the ideas we had during the first round about possible avenues for further investigation, and would heartily encourage researchers interested in this data to download the scrubbed versions and consider doing so.

    We’d again like to thank Radim ?eh??ek, maintainer of the gensim library, which was crucial to our text analysis.

    The Rest of the story ...

  6. #6

    Default Who's behind the group that flooded the FCC with anti-net neutrality comments?

    Social welfare group American Commitment set up, which provided an anti-net neutrality form letter users could send to the Federal Communications Commission.The organization that appears to be behind a majority of the recent anti-net neutrality comments filed with the Federal Communications Commission is affiliated with the Koch brothers’ network.
    Sunlight's latest analysis of recent comments on the FCC's controversial proposed Internet regulations found that, unlike in an earlier round, most of them were opposed to net neutrality – and that “the form-letter initiatives of a single organization, American Commitment, are single-handedly responsible for 56.5 percent of the comments in this round.”
    American Commitment, a 501(c)(4) social welfare group founded in 2011, has gotten money from and given money to a variety of groups with ties to Charles and David Koch, mega-wealthy siblings who have underwritten many conservative campaigns and candidates. American Commitment's president, Phil Kerpen, was the vice president for policy for five years at Americans for Prosperity, another Koch-underwritten nonprofit.
    In a Sept. 17 blog post, Kerpen explained that his group set up a website called to “mobilize comments from regular Americans” on the Federal Communications Commission’s site., which has been taken down but is viewable through the Internet Archive, hosted an anti-net neutrality form letter. The bottom of the website states it is a “project of American Commitment.”
    Kerpen’s post about boasted:
    When all was said and done, the huge liberal pro-regulation campaign, which dubbed itself “Battle for the Net” claimed they sent 777,364 comments to the FCC., in just three weeks, beat them by more than 30,000 comments. Our total was 808,363. We won the battle for the net.
    Kerpen has deep ties to the Kochs. In addition to his time at Americans for Prosperity, Kerpen worked at Free Enterprise Fund, Club for Growth and the Cato Institute. He is also the head of the Internet Freedom Coalition, a group of 67 organizations that “share a desire to keep the Internet free from government interference.” The “Take Action” page on the coalition’s website links to an Americans for Prosperity page titled “Tell Congress to Stop the FCC Internet Takeover.”
    From April to December in 2012, Kerpen received $174,000 in salary as the president of American Commitment. That year’s 990 form, which tax-exempt organizations have to file annually with the Internal Revenue Service, also indicates that Sean Noble was the director of the group during the first half of 2012, but did not receive any compensation.
    According to its website, the group is “dedicated to restoring and protecting the American Commitment to free markets, economic growth, constitutionally limited government, property rights, and individual freedom.” The group does “direct advocacy, strategic policy analysis, and grassroots mobilization.”
    On American Commitment’s “Issues” page, Internet regulation is listed under the “Protect the Free-Market Internet” tab. The page also lists topics like speech freedom, regulation, tax code, property rights, health care, energy, economic growth and limited government.
    American Commitment’s 990 form from 2012 states that it received $11,722,579 in contributions and grants. The organization is not required to make its donors public, so it is not possible to ascertain exactly where that $11.7 million came from.
    While nonprofit organizations do disclose the identities of donors to the IRS on Schedule B of the 990s, that information is redacted when the forms are made public. On page 14 of this document, for example, the identifying information has been whited out and replaced with the words “public inspection copy.”
    The only way to learn about the source of American Commitment's funds is by triangulation: Because nonprofits do have to disclose to whom they give grants and contributions, a look at the 990s of other tax exempt groups proved educational. These records, many turned up by other organizations' reporting, reveal how deeply American Commitment is embedded in the Koch empire, as well as a link to one trade association that has been actively working against net neutrality.

    • Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce’s 990 from 2011 showed that it gave $6.26 million to American Commitment. (Freedom Partners’ fiscal year starts every November, so that grant shows up on American Commitment’s 2012 tax form.)
    • In 2012, the Center to Protect Patient Rights gave American Commitment $4,781,559, according to the former’s 990 form. That $4.7 million grant to American Commitment was a sliver of the more than $100 million that the Center to Protect Patient Rights doled out to conservative groups in 2012. The center is run out of a Phoenix post office box by Noble, who is listed as the organization’s president, treasurer and executive director. Noble has been a key player in the Koch enterprise, funneling millions of dollars collected by various Koch-affiliated organizations into conservative groups.
    • American Commitment also got a $25,000 grant in 2012 from Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, and $300,000 from Americans for Responsible Leadership. Americans for Responsible Leadership is the Phoenix-based group responsible for a “campaign money laundering” case in California. The group made an $11 million contribution to a campaign committee in the Golden State and did not divulge that it was an intermediary for the donation and not the initial source of the money.
    • The National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the primary trade association for the cable industry, gave American Commitment $10,000 in 2012, according to a Center for Public Integrity article. And tax forms from 2013 indicate that NCTA gave American Commitment another $10,000 that year. A Sunlight analysis of lobbying data on net neutrality showed that, in 2012, NCTA spent $18,890,000 lobbying against net neutrality.

    Whether other corporate interests allied with the anti-net neutrality effort provided more recent grants to American Commitment is unknown. That's because 990s are filed once a year with the IRS and reveal financial activity from the year prior. American Commitment’s 2012 document, for example, shows activity from that year and was filed in November 2013. As a result of that disclosure lag time, American Commitment’s finances from 2014 will not be made public until at least 2015.
    In 2011, American Commitment reported revenue of $216,500. However, a recent article showed that Noble’s Center to Protect Patient Rights gave $1.6 million to American Commitment that same year, which was not reported on American Commitment’s tax forms.
    The Noble-headed group Free Enterprise America (which dissolved in May 2012) gave $103,000 to American Commitment in 2011. The last page of Free Enterprise America’s 2011 990 form states that the “organization was initially called American Commitment and was created in 2010. It had no activity in 2010, no revenues or expenses, and no return was therefore filed.”
    In 2011, American Commitment wrote checks to two 501(c)(4) groups. It gave $70,250 to Americans for Responsible Leadership and $40,000 to All Votes Matter, a Pennsylvania nonprofit that lobbied officials on a bill that would change how the state doles out its Electoral College votes in presidential contests. In 2012, American Commitment reported making no grants.

    The Rest of the story ...

  7. #7

    Default Clearing up the confusion about our analysis of net neutrality comments to the FCC

    The debate over net neutrality is anything but neutral. That’s abundantly clear from the intense response and questions unleashed by Sunlight’s latest analysis of public comments on the Federal Communications Commission’s proposal to regulate Internet traffic.
    Our commitment to transparency, to open data and to the informed use of that data prompted us to do this follow up to address some of the concerns and reaction:

    1. A number of groups on the pro-net neutrality side of the debate are telling us that they submitted far more comments than we found in the download from the FCC. As we pointed out in our initial post, there’s a big discrepancy between the number of comments the FCC says it received and the number we were able to find in the files the agency released to the public.
    2. The conservative group that appears to have generated the vast majority of comments in the second set of comments we analyzed said we confirmed it “won” the comment period. In fact, as we were careful to point out in both our first and second post, these numbers cannot be read the same way as a baseball score. That’s partly because of data noise (more on that below) and partly because of the way those numbers were generated, both factors which we went to some pains to elucidate in our post.

    Also important to underscore: Sunlight, a nonpartisan nonprofit that advocates for more transparency, undertook this analysis in service of that mission. Our aim is to lift the veil on how government decision makers are influenced, who is doing the influencing and what, if any, special interests or agendas might be behind those efforts.
    Now, to the data.
    As of now, it looks like there’s a major discrepancy between the numbers of comments the FCC reported receiving and the number we actually found in files they released to the public. This is something we pointed out in our earlier posts, but since it has become an issue, let’s be crystal clear: At this point, there’s a difference of 1,124,656 between what the FCC is reporting and what we counted in the files the agency provided.
    Moreover, groups such as Battle For the Net (Free Press, Fight for the Future and Demand Progress) and insist they sent the FCC far more comments than we were able to find in the data released.
    Fight for the Future, in particular, disagreed with the counts in our analysis, claiming that one of its form letter campaigns produced 367,000 comments in the FCC’s dump. Upon further examination, we believe Fight for the Future didn’t actually count the number of distinct documents from its campaign that occurred in the dump, but rather did only a rudimentary full-text search for key phrases from the campaign to see how many times those phrases occurred. This failed to account, however, for the fact that some comments are duplicated (that is to say, occur more than once with identical text, submitter and unique ID number) within the data, likely because of sloppy exporting processes on the part of the FCC. Indeed, after closer inspection to confirm our numbers, we found 96,263 comments that are included more than once in different parts of the export file, which we had correctly excluded from our analysis during our initial data-cleaning process. We thus stand by our numbers as reported, and continue to maintain that they accurately characterize the data as it appears in the dump produced by the FCC.
    Whether the FCC’s dump actually includes all documents they received is another story, but figuring out whether there are missing comments and why is a project for the FCC, not Sunlight. Our experience working with these records, however, suggests several possible explanations:

    1. Counting comments versus counting signatures: Some submissions are single PDF documents containing numerous comments and signatures. They list a number near the beginning that the FCC may be using to perform its counts. That number is the total combined count of (a) comments with signatures, and (b) a separate list that is comprised only of signatures. For our purposes, we were interested in counting comments and did not take signature-only submissions into account. This isn’t to suggest that signature-only submissions shouldn’t be counted, but the focus of our report meant that we discarded them. In many cases, the difference between comment-plus-signature counts and comment-only counts is extreme. In this document from Free Press, for instance, the reported count is 60,269 whereas we identified 14,848 comments. Presumably, the difference (45,421) is attributable to the list of signatures that begins on page 1,240 and continues to the end of the document. Once again, we’re not impugning the count provided by Free Press, but for our project, we explicitly chose only to count comment submissions.
    2. Faulty import processes for CSV submissions: All of the reported cases of under-representation involve campaigns that opted for CSV submission. It seems possible, especially given what we know about the technical challenges that are already well-documented at FCC.
    3. Faulty export processes for CSV submissions: Even if the submission process went smoothly, another point of possible failure would be the export process that generated the downloadable bulk files. As we’ve already reported, these files showed inconsistent formats, terrible encoding mistakes and often lacked any record or field delimiters. It’s not unreasonable to suggest that sufficient care was not taken in producing the bulk downloads.

    As we pointed out in the beginning of the post, we relied upon FCC data. It’s worth repeating: There’s a big discrepancy between the number of comments the FCC says it received and the number we were able to find in the files released to the public. Moreover, it’s worth reiterating that our purpose was never to disclose who were the “winners” or “losers” of the public comment period on net neutrality. Others may have used our analysis to make such a call, but we never did.
    If nothing else, this exercise points out both the value and the shortcomings of government data and suggests that for the sake of decision makers, and the taxpayers who pay them, it might be worth investing in a more modern, reliable way of compiling and reporting this information.

    The Rest of the story ...

  8. #8

    Default Net neutrality foes take their fight to the airwaves

    Image credit: Free Press/FlickrThough the 114th Congress is still in its infancy, the Capitol Hill debate over the Federal Communications Commission’s proposed net neutrality regulations is fiery as ever, fanned by wide-ranging advocacy efforts on either side of the issue. The Capitol building, however, is not the only theater in the multi-front battle for public opinion. A Sunlight Foundation analysis of new TV contracts and lobbying disclosures show cable providers have upped the ante both on and off the Hill, spending big to sway both members of Congress and their constituents.
    Cable giants and Internet activists both had the opportunity to air their grievances before federal legislators Wednesday in hearings before House and Senate committees. Both houses are considering Republican legislation that would ban broadband "throttling" and Internet fast lanes but prevent the FCC from regulating ISPs as a public utility.

    MORE: See all of Sunlight's reporting on net neutrality.

    Public documents show that Internet service providers are increasingly targeting Joe Public with a slew of new ad buys on broadcast TV stations across the country.
    Ad contracts collected by Political Ad Sleuth show that an organization called Broadband for America (BFA) has negotiated air time on local television stations across the country, from Chicago to Denver to relatively rural markets such as Bismarck, N.D. and Clarksburg, W.V.
    Led by a bipartisan duo of former congressmen —Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H., and Rep. Harold Ford, D-Tenn. — and funded largely by the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, the trade organization has been a consistent voice against net neutrality regulations, which it calls an "Internet tax on millions of customers," citing a study by the Progressive Policy Institute. Free Press, an open Internet advocacy group, has argued the study is cable-backed misinformation.
    BFA has contracted air time in at least 16 different markets in recent weeks, publicly available ad contracts show. NCTA's president, Michael Powell, told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that his organization supports the current draft legislation and "will continue to reiterate [its] unwavering opposition to any proposal that attempts to reclassify broadband services under the heavy-handed regulatory yoke of Title II." Powell has a unique perspective on this issue — he served as chairman at both BFA and the FCC.
    Meanwhile, some of the biggest players opposing the Internet recasting continued to pour millions into their cabal of lobbyists. A preliminary analysis of fourth quarter lobbying reports finds that Comcast ($7.1 million), AT&T ($4.2 million) and Verizon ($3.7 million) each doled out millions lobbying congress from October through December of last year.
    Each of those companies has a diverse legislative portfolio ranging from patent reform to cybersecurity to the tax code, making it unclear exactly how much each spent on net neutrality lobbying. A Sunlight analysis published in May of 2014 found that those three companies vastly outspent pro-neutrality groups that listed the issue a comparable number of times in their disclosures.
    Google, the most well-heeled voice on the "free Internet" side, spent a little under $4.6 million lobbying last quarter.
    Jacob Fenton contributing

    The Rest of the story ...

  9. #9

    Default Net Neutrality’s Biggest Deal: Proposed FCC Rule Would Keep Internet Open

    If the FCC ignores big cable and communications companies' pressure and approves the rules, it would be one of the greatest public policy victories in decades, argue Matt Wood and Candace Clement.


  10. #10

    Post FCC will attempt to regulate and tax Internet like telephone

    Rep. Ron DeSantis (FL-06) issued a statement to Historic City News today in response to the Federal Communications Commission vote today to approve new rules pertaining to net neutrality. Regulating the internet as a public utility will trigger a 16.1% tax on broadband usage. “Today the purportedly independent Federal Communications Commission did President Obama’s bidding,”…[


  11. #11
    Congressman For the Crackercoast Congressman Ron DeSantis's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Ponte Vedra

    Default DeSantis Condemns FCC Power Grab to Tax and Regulate the Internet

    Washington, DC – Rep. Ron DeSantis (FL-06) issued the following statement in response to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote today to approve new rules pertaining to net neutrality:

    rss news by Congressman Ron DeSantis representing Florida's 6th Congressional District

  12. #12

    Default Net Neutrality: If History Is Any Guide, The Battle Is Far From Over

    The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 on Thursday to approve new rules that effectively barred Internet companies from prioritizing some Internet traffic over others.

    Thumbs Up ROOT liked this post

Similar Threads

  1. I'm Lovin' Netflix!
    By KathyInAR in forum Entertainment Sports News
    Replies: 200
    Last Post: March 18th, 2019, 09:20 AM
  2. Netflix and House of Cards
    By KathyInAR in forum Entertainment and Attractions
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: August 13th, 2015, 08:47 AM
  3. Opinion Cellular Verizon or ATT
    By K9Luvn in forum Cracker Chatter
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: December 22nd, 2014, 11:36 PM
  4. After a recent discussion with BP and reviewing HWO's and a recent web briefing...
    By Flagler Weather in forum Weather and Local Emergencies
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: February 17th, 2012, 05:28 PM
  5. Netflix ~ In or out?
    By Itchey in forum Entertainment Sports News
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: October 26th, 2011, 06:37 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts