Friday, July 14, 2017


If you care about open and fair internet access, you should be upset. The new FCC Chairman, Ajit Pai, has promised to roll back net neutrality—a decisive step that rolls back the commendable actions of his predecessor. A wide variety of protests targeting this issue are on tap throughout the day.

All of this net neutrality action involves just the very last part of the communications grid in the US — the “last mile,” or the part of the network that actually touches consumers. Former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler pushed through the relabeling of the “last mile” as a regulable service. That utility label needs to be retained, as I’ve often argued.

But there’s an even bigger and possibly more insidious policy in the works that will result in far greater woes for consumers. It involves the not terribly well-understood part of the system called the “middle mile.” As with the last mile, the new administration wants to avoid enforcing any legal protections. And it‘s doing this in a manner that just happens to benefit the powerful forces that take citizens’ money while denying them the best services.

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