Ever see the movie Groundhog Day? Sometimes Washington feels a little like that. Case in point: the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today announced its intent to move forward with a net neutrality rulemaking proceeding via a statement from Chairman Tom Wheeler. We’ve seen this movie before, but now we’re gearing up for the sequel.
Déjà vu aside, this is a significant development. On January 14, 2014, a federal appeals court threw out the FCC’s Open Internet Order meant to preserve a level online playing field for creators and other entrepreneurs. Since then, we’ve been waiting to see what Chairman Wheeler’s next move might be. Today, we have our answer.
In a nutshell, Wheeler’s plan involves a public comments proceeding, followed by an expected rulemaking under a different legal rationale than the one the court rejected. Wheeler seems confident that the Commission can issue new rules based on its existing Congressional mandate to “encourage broadband deployment by, among other things, removing barriers to infrastructure deployment, encouraging innovation, and promoting competition.” Others, FMC included, are concerned that this approach may not be the clearest way to protect an open, accessible internet.
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced how the FCC will move forward following a recent court decision invalidating the bulk of its 2010 Open Internet Order. This order established basic rules of the road preventing Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from choosing winners and losers online based on business or other preferences. Chairman Wheeler declared the FCC’s goal of establishing new rules under a different legal rationale, as well as the opening of a new docket for public comment. read more
Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?
-Johnny Rotten, January 14, 1978
January 14, 1978 was the last official gig by a band many would consider the original punk act: the Sex Pistols. That day was a disappointment for fans of unbridled rock ‘n’ roll. And today—Jan 14, 2014—is likewise a letdown for musicians and everyone else who uses the Internet.
Earlier this morning, a federal appeals court in Washington, DC struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s rules meant to keep the internet open to free expression, entrepreneurship and innovation. By overturning the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Order, the court in one fell swoop undid almost a decade of YOUR efforts to preserve a level online playing field.
Today, a federal appeals court in Washington DC ruled that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) lacks the authority to enforce its Open Internet Order, issued in December 2010 and challenged by Verizon. The rules were established to prohibit Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from choosing winners and losers online based on business or other preferences. The court pointed out that the FCC’s lack of authority is a result of its decision in the early 2000s to reclassify broadband as an “information service” as opposed to a “telecommunications service.”
The following statement is attributed to Casey Rae, Interim Executive Director of Future of Music Coalition (FMC), a national non-profit research, education and advocacy organization for musicians. read more
Remember that little thing called net neutrality that FMC and our musician and independent label pals have been talking about for years? Well, this week AT&T made a move that underscores why this principle is so important to creators.
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, it was announced that Gigi Sohn, President and CEO of Public Knowledge as well as one of the organization’s three co-founders, is stepping down from her post to take on the role of Special Counsel for External Affairs in the Office of newly-appointed Federal Communications Commission Chairman Wheeler.
The following statement is attributed to Casey Rae, Interim Executive Director of Future of Music Coalition (FMC), a national non-profit research, education and advocacy organization for musicians.read more
It’s easy to take the Internet for granted—we use it every day in practically every aspect of our lives. From our personal calendars to our creative projects to our everyday communications, the Internet is how we conduct our business and engage with the world. For artists, the Internet is the crucial means to connect with potential audiences, as well as a powerful platform for creative expression.
Back in early 1990s, you couldn’t go anywhere without stumbling across an AOL “Internet starter disc.” Whether on an airplane seat, a high school cafeteria tray or tucked inside a pizza box, AOL’s blitz marketing campaign was pretty much unavoidable. As we recall, each individual disc had a big number stamped on it, indicating the amount of hours of free Internet access you had before you had to pay for a subscription (700 hours, 1000 hours, 1025 hours, you get the picture). Back then, the fact that AOL was offering Internet access in terms of hours wasn’t weird. In fact, charging by the hour was the norm. It wasn’t until the mid-’90s, when this all changed. AOL introduced its unlimited plan (along with the Buddy list) and the rest is media history.
Paying for every hour you spend online is a form of usage-based pricing—a model where price is determined by how much of the service you consume. Usage-based pricing is a model that is common in many other industries. For example, when you get on an airplane, you have the option of paying for a first-class ticket in order to get bigger chairs, and more privacy. On the DC Metro, you pay according to the distance you travel.
For the last couple of decades, we’ve gotten used to paying one price for an unlimited number of hours online. Many of us leave our email open all day, watch YouTube videos of our favorite bands for hours, and download albums whenever we feel like it. And when the iPhone was introduced in 2007, it came with an unlimited data plan, upholding the decade-long user expectation of being able to go where you want online without worrying about how much each website visit would cost.
But the days of unlimited data plans may be numbered. Both wireless and wireline providers are now experimenting with usage-based pricing in the form of data caps—limits on the amount of data you can upload or download per month. Most ISPs have instituted some form of hard or soft caps.
Part one of a series by FMC Policy Fellow Rachel Allen
In the past few years, streaming music and video have changed the way artists connect with fans. Popular music services such as Spotify and Pandora, high-quality video sites like Vevo, and a number of other digital platforms and applications have been important tools for fans to discover music and for artists to get paid for their work (even if the business models aren’t uniformly agreed upon). Recent studies have found that applications for music comprise the fastest growing activity among mobile phone users. Moreover, artists like Jay Z and Lady Gaga, as well as smaller acts such as Dan Deacon, are using mobile applications to create new interactive music experiences (but as was the case with Jay Z, not all of these experiments are embraced).
Why do we bring this up now? Well, streaming music and video services would not be possible without access to high-speed broadband. However, as the music and video industries go mobile, the price and quality of connections has become more and more uncertain.
This series will explore how the evolution of the Internet impacts musicians and other creators—whether the connection is on a desktop, a laptop or a mobile device. We’ll explore the ins and outs of how artists connect, and why accessible technology platforms are essential to today’s creative entrepreneurs.
Last week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released a public notice announcing a filing window for applications for new low power FM (LPFM) radio stations. LPFMs are community-based, non-commercial radio stations that operate at 100 watts or less and reach a radius of 3 to 7 miles (check out our LPFM fact sheet for more info).
These small but mighty stations are an alternative to broadcasters that seem to play the same five songs on infinite repeat, and provide opportunities for local and niche artists to recieve airplay. LPFMs also offer a wide variety of small, independent organizations — including schools, civic groups, churches, and non-profits — a platform from which to engage with local communities.
The new low power application has a few important changes from the past. First, new stations will be permitted in urban areas for the first time ever. As long as an applicant can prove that their station would cause no harmful interference, the FCC will grant a special waiver. This new change will double or triple the number of new stations available, and it’s a major victory for Prometheus and our allies who fought for it.
Additionally, the FCC will offer special incentives to stations that provide local programming, and who maintain publicly accessible studios — a focus on community-driven broadcasting that we can really get behind.