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US bishops' spokesman welcomes FCC vote on 'internet neutrality'

February 26, 2015

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The chairman of the US bishops’ communications committee has welcome a highly controversial vote by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to expand the federal government’s control over the internet.

By a 3-2 vote, along party lines, the FCC adopted a policy of “net neutrality,” barring internet-service providers from setting different rates for access. The vote paves the way for federal regulation of the internet as a public utility.

Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, in applauding the decision, said that the new policy would prevent internet-service providers from limiting access to religious messages. “From the inception of the Internet until the mid-2000s, Internet service providers were not permitted to discriminate or tamper with what was said over those Internet connections,” he said. “Today, the FCC restores this protection for speakers, protection particularly important to noncommercial religious speakers.”


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  • Posted by: jrorr19609092 - Feb. 27, 2015 10:00 PM ET USA

    Once again the USCCB reveals their ignorance just like they did with their support of Obamacare and the Community Reinvestment Act which was the cause of the financial and property collapse producing the worst economy since 1978. NOBODY knows what this agency approved except the 5 people on the commission. For the U.S. bishops to endorse an unreported 300 page regulation is insane. The U.S. Bishops continue to demonstrate nothing other than pure Democratic Party bias.

  • Posted by: unum - Feb. 27, 2015 10:47 AM ET USA

    The USCCB seems to have an opinion on almost every secular action of the U.S. Government in the belief that public officials need Church guidance. As a result, they don't seem to have the time to offer Church guidance to the faithful on spiritual matters or to assure that their pastors offer such guidance in their homolies. Our bishops need to decide whether they were called to be politicians or clergy!

  • Posted by: jimr451 - Feb. 27, 2015 7:25 AM ET USA

    I have to say, I've been using the internet since the mid 90's, and never had any problems accessing religious messages, or anything else available. If my provider did start meddling with traffic priorities, I could easily switch to another provider. It's a solution in search of a problem.

  • Posted by: Chestertonian - Feb. 27, 2015 1:22 AM ET USA

    Once again, the USCCB has lost site of the larger picture. Classifying the internet as a public utility gives the federal govt new and unspecified powers to regulate, tax, and shut down, internet services. Everything good about the web will be stymied: free speech, lower-cost shopping thru' competition, and innovation in the industry. If only pricing had been addressed, the new regs would have been fine, but the FCC is giving the federal govt a choke hold, and no good will come of it.

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Feb. 26, 2015 8:28 PM ET USA

    This is yet another example of the Bishops intervening in an area where they have no special competence.

  • Posted by: FredC - Feb. 26, 2015 8:17 PM ET USA

    The bishop is on Tweeter at @BishopWester. His email is [email protected] He can see an advantage of FCC control. He needs to be made aware of the dangers of FCC control. Net neutrality when the Federal government decides whether a practice is neutral is not a good process. Will EWTN be forced to broadcast other religions, atheism, etc.?

  • Posted by: bsandburg3714 - Feb. 26, 2015 8:03 PM ET USA

    Sorry, Bishop, but this FCC move is likely to have consequences that will limit freedom, not assure it. It will surely limit the availability of low-cost broadband for all of us.

  • Posted by: bernie4871 - Feb. 26, 2015 6:21 PM ET USA

    I have absolutely no confidence that a Bishop has any competence to approve of a 500 +/- page set of regulations that were pressed on the FCC by President Obama, no less - and just to correct what the Bishop identifies as a seeming problem with religious programming. What will the Bishop say when the FCC starts regulating content - anti abortion, contraception, divorce, war or peace?

  • Posted by: pja - Feb. 26, 2015 5:59 PM ET USA

    If the USCCB believes that more government involvement in the internet is going to make things friendlier for religious groups and make it easier to get their message out they are very mistaken. This is the same sort of top down, bureaucratic thinking that brought us Obamacare. The law of unintended consequences usually doesn't help Catholics. This will be no different.