Thursday, December 21, 2017

Has Kaniela Ing Come Up With A Solution To Telecomm Greed And The Destruction Of Net Neutrality?


Some candidates will say anything to get support. So how do you figure out how a candidate is likely to behave in Congress? The easiest candidates are state legislators. Today the 2 members of Congress with the best voting records and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Jamie Raskin (D-MD). And each of them had great records in their respective state legislatures, not just of voting well, but also records of leadership. Last year Blue America endorsed both of them. This cycle two of the candidates we feel most comfortable also have great records of leadership in their state legislatures, Jared Golden, the majority whip in Maine and Kaniela Ing, Majority Policy Leader in Hawaii's House. We have every reason to believe that there two young leaders will be part of the solution to a sclerotic-- if not moribund-- Democratic leadership team.

This week, Kaniela's bold vision saw him trying to solve the Republicans' determination to kill net neutrality. West Hawaii Today termed his approach a novel concept to sidestep the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to repeal net neutrality protections-- that Hawaii create a broadband network of its own and go into business for itself."

Kaniela is pushing a plan to create a community-- or publicly owned, high-speed broadband that will work around the internet service providers that paid off the Republicans to axe net neutrality. Kaniela: "I’m looking at what if we didn’t have to rely on these giant monopolistic corporations for our internet at all? What if we could take the internet into our own hands? This is the future."

Goal ThermometerIng said similar structures have worked in cities across the country, namely Chattanooga, Tennessee, which he said has one of the fastest and cheapest internet services in the United States."The FCC," said Ing, "is in charge of regulating communications corporations across state lines. If we try to regulate this on the state level, it would violate the Constitution, particularly the interstate commerce clause,” he explained. “Rather than try to regulate (ISPs) on a state level, we’d form our own broadband unmoored from FCC control... The longer we wait, the more we’re exposed to corporate control of one of our main lines of communication. When these corporations control our internet, they control our ability to organize dissent and resistance and speak out against them... The real question is how much are you paying now? If you’re going to pay less through taxes than you do through corporations and it’s going to be faster and under your control, then why not?"

Kaniela told Digital Journal 's Brett Wilkins that's he's drafting a bill for the legislature encouraging publicly-owned local broadband networks. The gist of his bill is to make the internet "equal and open to all," while urging Congress to "reverse the FCC's ruling against net neutrality... We cannot wait on action from a GOP congress who will continue to put their billionaire donors above the interests of the people they are supposed to represent... Democrats currently do not have the votes in the current GOP Congress to reverse yet another backward policy by the Trump Administration. This means states like Hawaii must act now."

And early this morning there was a warning worth heeding from the Open Markets Institute:
When the Republican majority on the Federal Communications Commission last week reversed the FCC’s landmark 2015 order that established net neutrality, the decision was widely seen as a big victory for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) like AT&T and Verizon. Now they too would be able to use price discrimination and other methods to favor some customers over others, in much the same way that Amazon, Google, and the other dominant online platforms do with the commerce that falls under their control. This, in turn, would enable them to defend themselves better from the power of those same giants.

Yet the real winners in the decision may in fact be the very platform monopolists the ISPs most fear. Yes Google has long offered at least rhetorical support for the concept of net neutrality. And yes, the end of net neutrality does in theory allow the ISPs to exercise certain new powers over Google and Facebook. But the blunt fact today is the platforms have come to dominate online commerce to such a degree that the balance of power between the ISPs and the platforms has shifted dramatically. To understand, just ask yourself how many customers Comcast could keep if, for example, the corporation tried to make it harder to access Google, Facebook, or Amazon.

Today, the relationship between the tech platforms and the ISPs is increasingly akin to what developed between the Standard Oil trust and the railroads during the Gilded Age. In the 1880s, Standard Oil needed railroads to get its oil to market. But as Standard Oil became one of the country’s largest shippers, the railroads came to need Standard Oil just as much or even more. The result was that Standard Oil was able to exercise power over the railroads in ways that turned those corporations into de facto extensions of Standard Oil itself. Even without any formal form of vertical integration, Standard Oil used its market power to force the railroads to offer it unique discounts, or rebates, on standard freight rates, that gave it a dramatic advantage over rival oil companies.

One result was that Standard Oil was able to build a horizontal monopoly that went unchallenged until it was finally broken up by antitrust action by the U.S. government. Another was a loss of independence by the railroads that came to depend on Standard Oil’s business.

The gutting of net neutrality may lead to a similar outcome. The AT&T-Time Warner, Disney-Fox, and Verizon-Yahoo-AOL deals should be understood as attempts to vertically integrate in ways that foreclose competition from small and mid-size players, while also giving these corporations sufficient scale to stand up to the platform goliaths.

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At 8:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real solution is to nationalize the ISPs and operate it as a public utility.

But on smaller scales, it's an interesting idea. Definitely worth a shot. However, what would it mean WHEN, not if, the Rs take the Hawaii state lege?

You see, voters are stupid and getting dumber every cycle. Democraps are not all like this guy. And eventually the voters will sour on being asked to vote for corrupt asswipe A and corrupt asswipe B.

Look at all the New Deal and Great Society things that benefit everyone and cost less than any privatized version could ever cost. And look at the Rs hacking big chunks off of it every day. Some day, they'll kill SSI and Medicare and even the VA. Because the democraps are so corrupt and feckless.

In the shithole usa, even the best ideas are destined to die because the voters are morons and the democraps are corrupt feckless asswipes.

At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could a state use eminent domain and just take the infrastructure from the corpo-rats? It has been used to screw over the poor, why can't we the people use it to take power from thieves? If the government can take over a crack house because for public benefit, why not the internet?

At 1:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not the Internet, asks 10:30? For one simple reason. Corporate property (state governments) aren't about to act against their owners by taking control of other corporate property

At 10:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To 10:30 I'd say that if TX governor bushbaby could use eminent domain to steal property from the Curtis Mathes family to build his baseball team's stadium, then it could be used to nationalize (or state-ize) the infrastructure for broadband.

It would be exactly like removing a crack house as a public nuisance.

But, still, once the state reverts to republican rule, it would be immediately repudiated and we'd be back where we are now. No voters anywhere are too smart to guarantee that R rule won't ever happen. If we had a truly left party of/by/for people, that would not be so. But we don't.


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