Text Message as Information Service: What It Means Martha Buyer February 04, 2019 Opponents aren’t taking the FCC’s recent decision lightly. Net Neutrality, the Midterms… & California, Too! Martha Buyer October 03, 2018 The time is now to consider how your representative feels about Net neutrality and use that information to vote accordingly. us-supreme-court-building-2225766__340.jpg SHAKEN/STIR Makes Its Grand Entrance Joyce Osenbaugh April 10, 2019 It’s been a long time coming, but we still have a long way to go in combating robocalls. Since the earliest days following the D.C. Circuit’s decision to uphold the FCC’s 2015 Net neutrality rules, seven separate court cases have been appealed to the Supreme Court. Last Monday, Nov. 5, the court, by a 4-3 majority (more on that in a few paragraphs), decided NOT to hear any of those appeals on the rules invalidated by the Republican-controlled FCC. This doesn’t mean that there won’t be more attempts in the future, but for now, all’s quiet on the Supreme Court front.As has been presented in this space many times, the 2015 regulations, put in place during the Obama Administration, prevented broadband providers from blocking websites, throttling traffic, or charging for higher-quality service or content. Most importantly, particularly to the underserved, these regulations, which were validated by the D.C. Circuit in 2016, allowed the federal government to regulate high-speed Internet delivery like a utility by regulating it as a telecommunications service and not an information service. In the deregulated environment championed by the current administration and its appointees, the FCC has abandoned these rules in favor of a market-based regulatory approach that has allowed Internet service providers (ISPs) to charge more, provide less, and be less than forthright (and I’m being kind) about the performance of their specific service offerings and the reliability and costs of those offerings. The Net neutrality regulations offered consumers some protections and assurances that their individual and collective Internet access would not be throttled, blocked, or prioritized in the name of increased ISP income.In late 2017, to the disgust/disappointment of most Americans, the FCC issued its poorly named “Restoring Internet Freedom Order,” which essentially invalidated Net neutrality as it had existed since 2015. Why, since the rules had been abandoned, should the 2016 decision that confirmed those rules be considered at the Supreme Court?The reason is this: because it’s very, very likely that with a Democratic majority in the House come January 2019 and the popularity of Net neutrality guarantees of equity, that the Obama-era rules may be restored in one way or another. If the Supreme Court had opted to consider the 2016 rules jettisoned last year, particularly with its conservative majority, the position of those who support Net neutrality would likely have been weakened as the light regulatory hand that the 2017 rules imposed would have had the tacit blessing of the court. This would not have been an impossible burden to overcome, but a Supreme Court decision overruling the D.C. Circuit in this matter would have created a very high barrier.However, this session, when the Supreme Court justices considered weighing in on the Net neutrality 2015 Obama-era rules, two of its conservative justices recused themselves because of prior history with the case at lower courts. As such, with only seven justices able to vote on hearing the case, the remaining majority (Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan) voted against doing so, thus effectively supporting the Net neutrality rules. Essentially what this means is that the 2015 Net neutrality rules remain good law, despite the fact that they are currently (this being a keyword) moot due to the current administrative agency’s decision making.Further, since the 2018 rules are currently under legal challenges of their own, the D.C. Circuit’s 2016 decision and validation of the 2015 rules creates lasting legal precedent. This could be extremely helpful in re-establishing true, enforceable provisions of Net neutrality, which a majority of Americans (both Republicans and Democrats) support, as shown in public opinion polling.As a final note, while this may not be the first issue that the new Congress takes up in January, I expect that it will be part of the House agenda in the early part of the year. Hope springs eternal.Tags:News & ViewsNet neutralitylegal perspectiveRegulationIndustry NewsNews & Views Articles You Might Like See All in Regulation » What the Partial Shutdown Means, Practically Speaking Martha Buyer January 15, 2019 Sooner or later, if not yet, the challenges will impact us all. Why the Huawei Situation Should Matter to You Martha Buyer May 29, 2019 Will regulatory intervention in the name of national interest and security derail your technology implementation plans? Log in or register to post comments
by Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press Posted Apr 4, 2013 9:49 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Ontario consumers face higher eco fees for big televisions, new phones TORONTO – Higher eco fees going into effect in Ontario next month are nothing more than a government tax grab and will send many consumers to the United States looking for bargains, Opposition Leader Tim Hudak said Thursday.The Ontario Electronic Stewardship posted plans on its website to increase eco fees on TV’s over 29 inches to $39.50 from $27.60 — and to lower fees on a home theatre in a box to $7.10 from $7.80 — but the agency made little effort to inform the public.“Clearly this is another Liberal tax grab that has no grounding in reality,” said Hudak.“Any time taxes go up it’s going to cause people to look to purchase elsewhere. You’ll see folks looking to go across the border.”The government maintains the eco fees are not taxes because they are administered by industry-led stewardship agencies, and the revenue does not go to the province.No one buys that argument, said Hudak.“When they hear that the industry is doing it and the Liberals are hands off on these eco taxes, they’re rightly calling out bull on that one,” he said.“The Liberal approach under (former premier) Dalton McGuinty and now Kathleen Wynne is just a tax grab for an expensive bureaucracy.”The New Democrats said Ontario’s system of eco fees is broken and accused the Liberal government of mishandling the issue.“Instead of taking responsibility for it, they’ve off-loaded responsibility to industry-led organizations and we need proper government oversight that can set enforceable targets and hold producers responsible,” said NDP environment critic Jonah Schein.Starting on May 1, eco fees for desktop and portable computers will drop slightly to $3 and $1.50 respectively, while fees for new telephones and answering machines will jump from $1 to $1.50. Eco fees will also increase on cameras, DVD and Blu-ray players, video and audio recorders and after-market car stereos.The biggest eco fee drop will be for large floor-standing printers and copiers, those used mainly by big companies, which falls from $341.20 to $173.75. Last year, that fee was just $32.50.It’s not the first time the eco fees have been increased without public notification, and the fees for many electronics were adjusted just three months ago.Last week, eco fees for tires used on some farm equipment jumped substantially when off-road tires moved from a flat fee of $15.29 each to a weight-based scale of fees, prompting a backlash in the agricultural community.The new fees range up to $352.80 for tires weighing between 826 and 1,543 pounds. The next larger group (up to 2,645 pounds) would see a tire fee of up to $546.84, and giant industrial tires would each command a fee of $1,311.Premier Kathleen Wynne said the reality is the province must find ways to pay for keeping tires, electronics and other waste out of landfills, but admitted Thursday that the off-road tire fees would have to come down for farmers.“The Ontario Federation of Agriculture is meeting with the Ontario Tire Stewardship and there is a conversation about mitigating those costs for the agriculture community,” said Wynne.“It is something that we were aware of, and those conversations are happening now.”The Progressive Conservatives complained Ontario charges $1,646 for one tire for a Deere 9770 combine, compared with $210 in British Columbia, $90 in Saskatchewan, $54 in Newfoundland, $24 in Manitoba and Prince Edward Island and zero in other provinces.“Having tire disposal rates for a combine tire that are almost eight times more than the next most expensive province is a blatant example of mismanagement at Ontario Tire Stewardship,” said Conservative environment critic Toby Barrett.The Liberals were forced to back down in the face of public anger and withdraw thousands of eco fees that had been slapped on household goods like laundry detergent July 1, 2010 — again with no public notice.The household eco fees of up to $6.66 per item were cancelled three weeks later, but consumers shouldn’t expect the fees for electronics and tires to be eliminated.“The reality is that we need to find ways to deal with waste matter, and that comes with a cost,” said Wynne.