The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Erica Portnoy and Jeremy Gillula analyze a FCC's recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that served as precursor to the order to kill net neutrality and explain how fantastically, totally wrong it gets the internet — not on a mere philosophical level, but on a nuts-and-bolts, bits-and-bytes technical level. Literally, the FCC doesn't know what the internet is.
The FCC insists that there's a thing called "the internet" that your ISP helps you receive "transmissions" from. But the internet — the network of networks — is your ISP, and its connections to all the other ISPs. The internet isn't "some vaguely defined other realm that an ISP opens a portal to."
But that's just for starters: the FCC also doesn't understand how DNS works, how caching works, or how the phone system works, either.
There are at least two possible explanations for all of these misunderstandings and technical errors. One is that, as we've suggested, the FCC doesn't understand how the Internet works. The second is that it doesn't care, because its real goal is simply to cobble together some technical justification for its plan to kill net neutrality. A linchpin of that plan is to reclassify broadband as an "information service," (rather than a "telecommunications service," or common carrier) and the FCC needs to offer some basis for it. So, we fear, it's making one up, and hoping no one will notice.
We noticed. And we need your help. The one group Chairman Pai might listen to is Congress—after all, Congress has oversight authority over the FCC. If enough members of Congress signal to Pai that his plan will cost them at the ballot box he might just get the message—and reverse course before it's too late.
The FCC Still Doesn't Know How the Internet Works
[Erica Portnoy and Jeremy Gillula/EFF]