On Feb. 26 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved a proposed change to net neutrality rules outlined by commission chairman Tom Wheeler by a 3-2 vote. Wheeler said the policy will ensure “that no one — whether government or corporate — should control free open access to the Internet.”
These new rules reclassify the Internet as a Title II public utility, which would effectively prevent Internet service providers (ISPs) from discriminating for or against content providers in the speed at which their content is delivered to the consumer.
Several ISPs, Internet companies, advocacy groups, and trade associations have taken a position on these new rules. The major corporations against these net neutrality rules are the four largest ISPs: Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and AT&T. Netflix, Twitter, and Facebook are all members of the Internet Association, which has come out strongly in favor of Wheeler’s rules to reclassify the Internet under Title II.
- TheVerge: Verizon trolls the FCC’s net neutrality vote with a blog post written in morse code
- From NPR: FCC Approves Net Neutrality Rules For ‘Open Internet’
The following analysis is provided by Maplight.org, a non-partisan group that follows money in politics.
The House Communications and Technology Subcommittee, which oversees the FCC, held a hearing to discuss the FCC’s proposed net neutrality regulations on Wednesday, Feb. 25.
Stock Ownership by Members of the House Communications and Technology Subcommittee
As of 2013, five of the 31 members of the subcommittee own stock in the companies listed above: Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY), and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ).
- The five members own between $99,015 and $435,000 of stock in Internet providers. No members on the subcommittee reported owning stock in Netflix, Facebook, or Twitter.
Lobbying: MapLight analysis of lobbying spending by the top four internet service providers (Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Verizon, and AT&T) and three major corporate supporters of net neutrality (Netflix, Facebook, and Twitter), between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2014.
- Comcast has spent $107,477,000 in lobbying since 2008
- Time Warner Cable has spent $44,205,424 in lobbying since 2008.
- Verizon has spent $109,490,000 in lobbying since 2008.
- AT&T has spent $112,846,426 in lobbying since 2008.
- Netflix has spent $4,135,000 in lobbying since 2009.
- Facebook has spent $21,529,268 in lobbying since 2009.
- Twitter has spent $400,000 in lobbying since 2013.
Previous MapLight analyses on Net Neutrality:
May 16, 2014: Contributions to House Members Lobbying against Net Neutrality from Cable Interests (28 representatives signing letters to the FCC)
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