ADA Sign Depot Supports 100% Net Neutrality
ADA Sign Depot
February 26, 2015
ADA Sign Depot Supports 100% Net Neutrality
Oliver starts by introducing the Internet, "the repository of all human knowledge and videos of goats singing Taylor Swift songs". He describes his previous "Net Neutrality I" episode and its aftermath. Afterward, Oliver describes the reason for his second episode: the Trump administration is rolling back Obama-era regulations, including Wheeler's net-neutrality rules. The comedian says, "I genuinely would not be surprised if one night Trump went on TV just to tell us that he personally killed every [Thanksgiving] turkey Obama ever pardoned".
Oliver shows a clip of YouTube personality Tay Zonday, who summarizes the concept of net neutrality. Zonday says that under net neutrality laws, ISPs have to treat all web traffic the same, and as an example, he says that an ISP cannot favor one search engine by slowing down traffic that uses other search engines. After the clip ends, Oliver paraphrases what Zonday just said: that under the concept of net neutrality, ISPs cannot impact or restrict people's online actions, and big companies cannot prevent competition from small companies. Oliver says that in the case of the latter, "Ancestry.com could easily crush my new site JustTellMeIfImRelatedToANazi.com. It's like ancestry.com except you get to skip all the bullshit." He then notes that major ISPs like Charter, Cox, and Comcast have all published statements that endorsed "a free and open internet", and that Verizon even made a video explaining that the change would "put the open Internet rules in an enforceable way on a different legal footing".
The comedian next explains Titles I and II of the Communications Act of 1934; the ruling provided by Comcast v. FCC; and Pai's appointment by President Trump. Oliver says that based on this context, Verizon's bid for a "different legal footing" was akin to "O. J. Simpson asking why you won't let him hold any of your samurai swords". He continues that the new FCC chairman's promise that the current rules' "days were numbered" and his vow to "take a weed whacker" to the current rules was like "serial killer talk". Pai's easygoing attitude, casual quotations of The Big Lebowski on his Twitter account, and affinity for his large Reese's-branded coffee mug made him personable, and according to Oliver, even more dangerous. Oliver says that Pai is a former lawyer for Verizon who has said that "we were not living in some digital dystopia before the partisan imposition of a massive plan hatched in Washington saved all of us", to which the comedian adds, "Except for Pizza Rat".
Oliver then takes a serious tone, saying that reclassification of ISPs was the only way to regulate them, and points out that Pai had erroneously said that there is no evidence of throttling by cable companies. Oliver refutes Pai's statement with a Bloomberg News article about how Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile had blocked their respective subscribers from accessing Google Wallet on their phones because it competed with their Isis Mobile Wallet service. The comedian subsequently lampoons the wallet's name because of its resemblance to the name of the terror group ISIS.
The comedian says that Pai has also proposed "laughably lacking" alternatives to net neutrality. One alternative stipulated that ISPs simply include a voluntary statement in their terms of service indicating that they would not throttle or block content, which Oliver says would "make net neutrality as binding as a proposal on The Bachelor". Pai's other rationales for reclassifying ISPs was that the new rules already resulted in decreased investment in broadband networks. Brian Schatz, a Democratic U.S. Senator representing Hawaii and the ranking member of the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, said that Pai's claim of decreased investment was untrue. Oliver then quotes a 2014 phone call from Francis J. Shammo, the chief financial officer of Verizon, in which the latter says that the new net-neutrality rules did not affect Verizon's business. Oliver says, "that doesn't really sound like net neutrality was jeopardizing investment at all". He states that Pai's actions to eliminate Title II are like "pouring [a gallon of coffee] into your hands and trusting that you don't get burnt". At this point, Oliver holds up a Reese's mug that is even larger than Pai's mug and says, "I'm drinking the blood of smaller mugs".
The ISPs' position on the net neutrality issue is that protections could be retained by an Act of Congress, but Oliver says that he does not trust Congress to go through. He also expresses distrust of President Trump, who had claimed that Obama's net-neutrality protections would "target conservative media", when in fact, that could only be achieved by the opposite scenario: a lack of net-neutrality protections. At the end of the segment, Oliver urges viewers to go to GoFCCYourself.com, a website redirecting to the specific FCC proposal. He says, "Every Internet group needs to come together like you successfully did three years ago … gamers; YouTube celebrities; Instagram models; Tom from MySpace, if you’re still alive. We need all of you. You cannot say you are too busy when 540,000 of you commented on Beyonce’s pregnancy announcement", referencing a viral post from the singer Beyoncé from earlier that year.