"Occupy Maine Avenue" may not have quite the same zing as "Occupy Wall Street," but protesters camped outside the Federal Communications Commission's headquarters on Maine Avenue in southwest Washington, D.C., are just as determined to be seen and heard as those who set up camp in Manhattan's Financial District in 2011.
Next week, the FCC plans to propose new rules that its chairman claims will preserve the Internet as a free, fair and open communications medium for all. It seems far more likely that the rules will radically distort the medium by tilting Internet functioning even further in favor of the giant technology players.
When President Barack Obama pledged to appoint a FCC chair who was dedicated to protecting net neutrality, we had no reason to doubt he'd find the right person for the job. Obama campaigned in 2008 as a strong champion of the open Internet, telling an audience that he'd "take a back seat to no one in my commitment to net neutrality." He said that his chair would share his views on safeguarding the open Internet. Now, the president is on his second FCC chair, and neither has proven himself up to the task. Obama's second FCC chair, Tom Wheeler, will put into circulation today a proposal for a new rule. All evidence suggests that Wheeler's proposal is a betrayal of Obama and of the millions of people who have called on the FCC to put in place strong and enforceable net neutrality protections.