Live Blog: FCC Meeting

Since I’m just sitting here watching C-SPAN3, I thought I would write some thoughts about what I’m seeing.

10:30 AM – Meeting begins.

10:46 AM – These witnesses for the Blue Alerts are heart-breaking. I’m not sure I agree that Blue Alerts are a good idea (but I don’t know the full story of it), but I hope this passes for their sake.

10:55 AM – Oh I guess the Blue Alerts are being adopted. Sounds like this is something that began in the Obama administration. Jessica Rosenworcel delivered a harsh rebuke of the cost-benefit analysis.

11:00 AM – Even Ajit, the (alleged) Dark Lord of the Sith, is having trouble getting through this.

11:01 AM – Oh, it did have a vote. And it passed unanimously.

11:02 AM – Next up, item two: Proposal to Strengthen the Rural Health Care Support Mechanism.

11:14 AM – Without the emotional component, I am having trouble paying attention to this second agenda item.

11:15 AM – I get the feeling that O’Rielly (R) will not be voting for this one.

11:19 AM – I’m not following all of this but it sounds like Carr (R) won’t be voting for this one either. Annnnd right when I type that he says the item has his support.

11:20 AM – Oh now I’m tracking what this item is about. Bandwidth to rural hospitals doing “telemedicine.” Rosenworcel supports it.

11:23 AM – I updated my graphic above with annotations showing who appointed each commissioner and their party affiliation, according to C-SPAN3.

11:24 AM – Well dern the second item passed unanimously, too. I am not very good at reading these commissioners, apparently. Next up, item three: Proposed Public Notice Regarding Twilight Towers.

11:32 AM – I have no idea what a “twilight tower” is so I’m a bit lost on this one. No, I wasn’t paying attention when they explained in detail what a twilight tower was and why this is important. There are over 4,000 of them, though.

11:35 AM – It’s something about cell towers that are sitting around and can’t be upgraded/utilized because of government bureaucracy. They keep mentioning historical preservation so are they on historical grounds?

11:39 AM – Oh it sounds like the twilight towers are on Native American territory?

11:42 AM – Item three vote passed unanimously. Next the hard one: Proposal to Restore Internet Freedom.

11:47 AM – I am not sure what this Wireline Competition Bureau is.

11:49 AM – Clyburn (D) is fired up about this.

12:00 AM – Clyburn’s remarks are pretty much the same as everything you see retweeted about net neutrality. All the bad things that could happen, partisan rhetoric, etc. I wonder if there will be a transcript of this somewhere.

12:20 PM – O’Rielly’s (R) comments are pretty much reading from the proposal. Interesting that he addresses the fake public comments. Basically says what I said, that the public comments don’t matter that much. 🙂 And he’s voting yes, not surprisingly.

12:30 PM – Carr’s (R) comments were as expected. He’s voting yes, of course.

12:37 PM – Rosenworcel’s (D) comments are eloquent and expected. The argument against still boils down to “they might do bad things.” She’s more persuasive than anybody else I’ve seen, though. She’s voting no, of course.

12:38 PM – She’s talking about the fake comments now too. She doesn’t like it. I agree with her when she says, “it needs to be addressed.”

12:40 PM – I don’t know who this woman is but it wouldn’t surprise me to hear about her running for some elected office in the future.

12:49 PM – They are evacuating the room on the advice of security!

12:52 PM – Prior to the stoppage, Ajit was rattling off the standard talking points. I don’t really understand why they have to go through with a meeting when literally everyone simply reads from their prepared remarks. Why can’t they just submit their remarks to a clerk and just put it all on a web site or something?

1:00 PM – This stupid meeting is really cutting into my day. Twitter says they are being let back into the room.

1:02 PM – They’re back. Ajit’s talking again. My cynical self wonders if that was just a little political theater to make it look like “the left” is a radical threat to the Internet.

1:10 PM – I have to reiterate this. The argument for rolling back these regulations is strong. The argument against rolling them back is weak. And I say that as someone who completely supports the idea of Net Neutrality. But I think people conflate the Utopian ideal of a “free Internet” with the more nuts-and-bolts rules and regulations of Internet connectivity. I think what we are seeing here is not an attempt to kill the Internet for some nefarious purposes, but a healthy debate on the best way to maintain the Internet. Reasonable people can disagree on the best way to do that right now. I can see merits and problems in both sides here. The solution will never be complete until Congress gets involved and starts making laws. Ajit’s still talking by the way.

1:12 PM – And the vote is in: 3 to 2 to favor of adopting the new regulations. No surprise whatsoever.

1:14 PM – I don’t really care about the rest of this meeting. 🙂

UPDATE

All of the meeting documents can be found on the FCC’s meeting page. I would have preferred one continuous transcript instead of 50 different links, but it’s better than nothing.