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Should the Net be considered a public utility? Now that the FCC

has decided it should be, Le Monde's editorial board says Europe

should follow suit.

 

 

FCC Backs U.S. Net Neutrality: Europe Should Be 'Inspired' (Le Monde, France)

 

"Given the weight of America's digital economic giants, it is a decision that will directly influence Europe and the world when it comes to the ground rules among service providers, content providers and services, and the citizen-consumers of the Internet. The first state intervention by Washington in the history of the Internet, it reflects the fact that government cannot leave the ubiquitous digital revolution to regulate itself, and without a basic set of common rules that are fair and democratic."

 

EDITORIAL

 

Translated By Pierre Guittard

 

March 3, 2015

 

France Le Monde Original Article (French)

Beyond arcane technicalities and the colossal financial stakes, the decision just taken by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the body that regulates telecommunications and therefore the Internet in the United States, is an eminently political one. In addition, given the weight of America's digital economic giants, it is a decision that will directly influence Europe and the world when it comes to the ground rules among service providers, content providers and services, and the citizen-consumers of the Internet.

Posted By Worldmeets.US

 

The economic, political and judicial battle across the Atlantic has raged on for months - even years. On one hand, the Republican Party and major U.S. carriers like Verizon and Comcast, argue that Net Neutrality - that is to say, equal access to the networks of all content providers such as Netflix and YouTube through even the most modest Web sites - constitutes unacceptable state interference in the functioning of private enterprises. In their view, such a straitjacket would restrain or prevent the investment needed to develop further infrastructure.

 

On the other side, the Democratic Party and a large number of Web and Internet advocacy groups retort that in the absence of a basic framework, the Web as we know it is doomed to disappear, undermined by prohibitive fees, huge obstacles to innovation and a risk to free expression. These advocates of "neutrality" have mustered an exceptional mobilization in recent months, with four million citizens having responded to FCC's call for public comments. In addition, in November 2014 they received the determined support of President Barack Obama, who appealed on the FCC to classify the Internet as a public good.

 

And what about Europe?

 

In its decision adopted on February 26, the regulator agreed with them. The FCC has taken a firm position in favor of Net Neutrality in the United States by enacting a series of rules governing the activities of operators. This will in future prevent them from favoring certain content providers by allowing them to pay more for better access. This is a clear victory for advocates of the principle that all content should flow through networks in the same way and at the same speed, without privileged access or "fast lanes" for providers who agree to pay the price.

 

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The decision points in the right direction. The first state intervention by Washington in the history of the Internet, it reflects the fact that government cannot leave the ubiquitous digital revolution to regulate itself, and without a basic set of common rules that are fair and democratic. However, the FCC must now defend its desire to regulate the Internet. In fact, everyone knows that its decision will face multiple appeals and protests on the part of opponents.

 

The decision is nevertheless highly symbolic. It shows that the American federal state cannot avoid dealing with the Internet. Just as the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects freedom of expression, Net Neutrality demanded legal recognition. It is to be hoped that Europe, mired in differences among its member states and constrained by the lobbying of telecommunications operators, will take from this some inspiration.

 

CLICK HERE FOR FRENCH VERSION

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[Posted By Worldmeets.US, March 3, 2015, 8:45am]

 

 

 

 

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