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We've got net neutrality. Now the real work begins.

Preston Gralla | March 31, 2015
There's plenty that remains to be done, from bringing high-speed broadband access to the entire U.S. to erasing the digital divide and more.

There are many roadblocks to fixing all this, but one of the most important ones is political, not technical. Special interests, particularly in the telecom industry, wield too much power. One reason is the revolving door between the telecom industry and the government agencies that regulate it.

Take just one example. Michael Powell, president of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association, lobbied against the establishment of net neutrality and excoriated the FCC for its vote, saying, "Today, the FCC took one of the most regulatory steps in its history. The commission has breathed new life into the decayed telephone regulatory model and applied it to the most dynamic, freewheeling and innovative platform in history."

Powell is no newcomer to the doings of the FCC. President George W. Bush made him chairman of the FCC, and Powell made sure that under his watch net neutrality wouldn't become the law of the land.

This kind of revolving door should be outlawed. And the power of campaign donations needs to be curbed as well. Until that happens, it's not likely that we'll see great progress toward more broadband competition, higher broadband speeds and a narrower digital divide.

 

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