‘Talks on Dual Currency Not New to Liberia’

first_imgThe vice president for financial affairs of the University of Liberia (UL), Prof. Wilson K. Tarpeh, has said that the debate over dual currency in Liberia is not anything new to the country.According to him, the dual currency argument was raised a long time ago by past leaders of this county to address the problem but no solution materialized because the government itself refused to accept the Liberian dollar.Prof. Tarpeh made the assertions yesterday at a one-day stakeholders’ roundtable discussion on the Economic & Constitutional Implications of Liberia’s Dual Currency Regime. The forum, which was attended by several leading Liberian economists, bankers, government financial experts and politicians, was organized by the   Governance Commission and the Constitution Review Committee.  It was held at the Monrovia City Hall.Among the politicians were the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alex Tyler, and President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate, Armah Zolu Jallah.The purpose of the roundtable, according to Governance Commission Chair, Dr. Amos Sawyer, was to illuminate the monetary and related fiscal issues having to do with challenges faced by the citizens whose worsening plight could be alleviated through constitutional amendments.The urgency of the forum, said Dr. Sawyer, came out of nationwide consultations by the Constitution Review Committee (CRC), headed by Counselor Gloria Scott, during which a cross-section of Liberians expressed grave concern about the dual currency.  They said the dual currency, which means the use of the Liberian and United States dollars, was seriously hurting them.  In the view of the vast majority of Liberians, said the CRC, “only the Liberian dollar should be used in local business transactions.”  This view was consistently expressed in all 73 constituency districts across the country by 69.32 percent of those who participated in town and district level meetings.“It also emerged,” said Dr. Sawyer, “that Liberian businesspeople who are constrained to sell their wares for Liberian dollars, largely due to the nature of the clientele they serve, find fluctuating exchange rates combined with weak institutional mediatory mechanisms that leave such businesspeople at the mercy of importers and wholesalers.  When the transaction costs are considered, the Governance Commission Chair explained, “doing business, for them, becomes far more risky and far less profitable than it is for others.” Professor Tarpeh, in his intervention, said the constitution provides enough flexibility for management of the economy to be conducted by the people.He further suggested that if the dual currency should be used, Liberians need to accept the Liberia dollar and use it as the currency of choice.Should the Liberian dollar be accepted by all, it will create an opportunity to promote economic growth and discipline in the country.One of the key ways to accelerate the potency or strength of the Liberian dollar, said Professor Tarpeh, is to require all businesspeople, including all concessions to pay their taxes in Liberian dollars.  This would immediately lower the rate of exchange and probably bring the value of the United States dollar to as low as 20 Liberian dollars. Earlier, Senate President Pro-tempore Armah Jallah admitted that the current government payroll for senior officials is in both Liberian dollar and United States dollar components.If the issue of dual currency should be addressed in Liberia, it must be through the constitution, said Sen. Jallah, describing it as the best alternative for Liberia’s economy.Taking into consideration some intangible benefits, Sen. Jallah said there should be empowerment of small and medium size business owners who operate exchange bureaus, with all taxes levied from all institutions exchanging money going back to government.Policy makers should not only seek to practice fiscal discipline, but government must closely monitor the level of dollarization, with data on dollarization calculated and published by the Central Bank of Liberia.Sen. Jallah recommended a single currency regime in Liberia’s fiscal policy through the appropriate legislation to strengthen the nation’s economy and empower Liberia’s small and medium businesses in order to lift up the country’s middle class.The president of the Liberia Chamber of Commerce, Francis A. Dennis, said the issue of pursuing the policy of a single currency has to be approached very carefully, especially since Liberia is an import-dependent country that needs strong foreign currency, such as the US dollar to buy from abroad.  The answer to this, he declared, is to produce more goods, especially agriculturally, that we could sell abroad.  Mr. Dennis also argued that Liberians should take greater advantage of the benefit the Americans have given African countries by enabling them to export their goods to the USA “duty free.”  Other countries, including Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, are taking advantage of this opportunity, and so should Liberia.For his part, the Daily Observer publisher and managing director, Kenneth Y. Best, said Liberia’s economy is predominantly in the hands of foreigners, which is hampering the growth of Liberian businesses. “As long as Liberians are not in business in a serious way, they will continue to live in poverty in their own country,” he declared. Mr. Best lamented that the Business College at the University of Liberia, like business colleges in all our universities, “do not teach marketing or import and export.  So how can Liberian businesspeople ever learn to import their own merchandize when they have never been taught that?  And yet, so long as they continue to depend on foreign importers, so long will Liberian businesspeople remain at the short end of the stick.”Mr. Best further lamented that many of the speakers at yesterday’s forum were talking of a “gradual approach” to a single currency.  The Observer publisher recalled that in 1973 the identical discussion on the currency issue was held in the auditorium of the University of Liberia.  He recalled that during that conference, Harry L. Morris, then Liberia’s richest man because he owned the largest single rubber farm in the world owned by one man, cried when the issue of a Liberian dollar currency was raised.  He wanted Liberia to remain in the US dollar regime.Professor Wilson Tarpeh said he was only a high school student then, but he vividly remembered that conference.  After that,  he recalled, the government led by Finance Minister Steve Tolbert, and one his  close associates, now President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and Romeo Horton, former Commerce Minister and founder of the Bank of Liberia, produced a document calling for a single currency within a few years.  They also proposed the maximization of agricultural production so that Liberia would start feeding itself in rice and other produce and limit the amount of foreign exchange we spend on food.This policy, said Prof. Tarpeh, remained on course even after the 1980 coup because even the military government saw wisdom in it. During that period the Liberia Produce Marketing Corporation (LPMC) was in full swing, buying produce from farmers, whose cooperatives in Lofa, Bong and Nimba Counties were booming and Liberia was exporting tens of millions of US dollars of produce abroad. The Agriculture Bank vibrantly helped to fund all this, Tarpeh said.  But somehow Liberia lost its way, he lamented; and here we are today, over 40 years since that 1973 conference on currency, still “talking about talks of a single currency.”Mr. Best stressed the need for Liberians to start producing their staple food, rice, and that would cut out nearly 75% of what we spend just on food imports alone. “This is why we need to empower the agriculture sector and small businesses as major components of resolving once and for all this dual currency crisis,” he added.The president of the Liberia Marketing Association, Madam Lusu Sloan, said the Liberian marketers were at a very serious disadvantage having to pay US dollars for most of the imported goods they sell. Most  of the time, she said, foreign importers demand only US dollars for their goods, or unbearable exchange rates if the marketers must pay in Liberian dollars.  “This puts us at a very serious disadvantage,” she said, “and makes our businesses mostly unprofitable.  And this keeps us living below the poverty line.”Advent of the Eco in 2020The ECOWAS Ambassador to Liberia, in brief remarks, said Liberia was the only ECOWAS country still using a dual currency.  He urged the country to make a decision one way or the other; and hinted that if it did not, it would have to wait until 2020, when the Eco, the ECOWAS single currency will start being used by all ECOWAS nations, just as the Euro is being used in most parts of Europe.The high level roundtable was also attended by Commerce and Industry Minister Axel Addy.  The roundtable was moderated by Boimah Kamara, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia, on behalf of CBL Executive Governor, Dr. J. Mills Jones.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

BDO to donate $100 to local minor hockey for every goal scored at U17’s

first_imgCALGARY, A.B. — Hockey Canada has partnered with international accounting firm BDO to launch the BDO Goals for Kids program.Working with its new international marketing partner, BDO, Hockey Canada announced the new program yesterday, which will see $50 for every goal scored at a national championship, and $100 for every goal scored by Team Canada at an international competition donated to local minor hockey associations. That means for every goal scored by any of the three Canadian teams at the World U17 Hockey Challenge, $100 will be donated to both the Fort St. John and Dawson Creek minor hockey associations.  The funds will help with offsetting equipment and registration costs for young players.BDO’s Calgary office managing partner Jim Krahn joined Hockey Canada and several minor hockey players and media personalities in Calgary on Wednesday to officially launch BDO Goals for Kids, and make the program’s first donation.- Advertisement -The first two events where on-ice goals will count towards BDO Goals for Kids come in November when Dawson Creek and Fort St. John, B.C., co-host the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, and Quebec City welcomes the National Women’s Under-18 Championship.last_img read more

Guyanese protest Guyana’s illegal Govt

first_imgHundreds of People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) supporters and civil society members – led by Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali – flocked outside the Pegasus Hotel in Kingston, Georgetown, where caretaker President David Granger was slated to deliver an address to the business community on Thursday morning.The protest comes after the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) Chairperson, retired Justice Claudette Singh, advised the Head of State that the Commission will be ready for elections by the end of February 2020 – more than a year after the Government was defeated by a No-Confidence Motion.Oppostion Leader Bharrat Jagdeo stands infront of TSU ranks among protestersAlthough the protest was peaceful, scores of Police officers and members of the Tactical Service Unit (TSU), commonly called the “Riot Squad”, were deployed to the scene with protective shields, placing barricades at strategic points to block off and guard the entrance of the hotel, where several high profile officials and Government ministers were in attendance.This, however, did not deter the protesters, who used microphones to highlight the fact that the Government is illegal and in breach of the Constitution of Guyana.“We want elections now! Who must go, Granger! Who sell out Guyana, Granger! Granger is a waste!” were among the slogans being chanted.Speaking with Guyana Times, one protestor called President Granger “shameful”, since according to her, he is disrespectful to the oath he took upon assuming office.PPP/C Presidential candidate Irfaan Ali on the protest line“Mr Granger does not respect the pledge which he took, the pledge in part says ‘to be obedient to the laws of Guyana’ where is the respect and obedience?” the woman questioned.Another protestor pointed out the fact that heavily equipped Police were called out to the peaceful protest when just the day before the same was not done when residents of Leopold Street, Georgetown, blocked off the street with burning tyres and debris and damaged a fire tender.“We out here peacefully protesting, protesting for democracy and constitutional rule and this is how we’re being treated by this coalition Government. Police come out here with big shields and barricades blocking off the streets, but yesterday when people were burning tyres on the road and blocking off it, they were nowhere to be seen. This is how this Government operates,” he contended.Nevertheless, the protesters were adamant that they will continue these protest actions to highlight the transgressions of the coalition Administration. Also braving the heat to stand strong with his party, General Secretary of the PPPC, Bharrat Jagdeo informed that his party and supporters intend to protest President Granger at every public forum he attends until he complies with the Constitution as is mandated.Oppostion Leader Bharrat Jagdeo stands infront of TSU ranks among protesters“I just saw a statement from the international community, and they spoke about them being unconstitutional and they say that it comes at a great cost to Guyana and clearly everyone sees this except this corrupt cabal that we have headed by Granger. We will have to go wherever Granger is and the protest will move to all the venues where he attends to impress upon him that he is in breach of the Constitution and we are not going to tolerate that,” Jagdeo asserted.No governmentMeanwhile, PPP’s Presidential Candidate Irfaan Ali contended that Guyana is presently without a government.“We have a set of people occupying the space of a government. We have a dictatorship occupying the space of government, and we have a dictator occupying the space of the presidency. There is no president. Democracy has been trampled upon, the rule of law has been kicked aside, the Constitution has been thrown out of the window. That is what has happened to our country,” Ali stated.Every Guyanese, the PPP Presidential Candidate went on to say, has a moral and ethical responsibility to stand up against the Government’s dictatorship.Adding to this, Opposition Member of Parliament (MP), Priya Manickchand, who also joined the protest action, stated that President Granger has no legitimate mandate to govern Guyana. She maintained that he is “unlawful”.“Anybody who derives power from his office – so Ministers, the First Lady, Advisors and anybody who got their power from him – is also equally illegitimate and unlawful, and the people of this country will not have it,” the MP informed.Article 106 of the Constitution states that following the passage of the No-Confidence Motion, the Cabinet including the President must resign and elections held within three months. That deadline elapsed since March 21, 2019, with Government having spent much of this time in court seeking to overturn the motion, rather than ensuring elections were held.GECOM had also began the holding of House-to-House Registration, also in a bid to delay the holding of Regional and General Elections.However, this was halted by GECOM’s newly-elected Chair, retired Justice Singh.last_img read more

Jackson criticizes his star

first_imgEL SEGUNDO – As long as the Lakers keep winning, coach Phil Jackson will come along for the Kobe Bryant scoring show, which now has led to talk of an MVP season and the mention of Bryant’s name among the NBA’s all-time greats. But Jackson is far from enamored with the numbers – four consecutive games of scoring 45 points or more, the first player to do so since Wilt Chamberlain in November 1964 – that Bryant has put up. “If you can shoot 50 percent or close to 50 percent … then that makes sense for us as a basketball team because we’re getting accomplished what we have to get accomplished,” Jackson said. “If you can’t, then it detracts from the best nature of the team and the best opportunities the team has.” It has been the perfect storm for Bryant to showcase himself as a scorer. He returned from suspension, which gave him a couple of days away from the game, to find the Lakers having lost five in a row and out of the Western Conference’s top eight. Bryant also has flourished this season in moving from the backcourt to the wing, an attacking position rather than one with the responsibility of getting others involved. He can almost direct the ball into his hands on offense, especially when posting up, while his teammates have struggled with the triangle ins and outs. Bryant is shooting 44.3 percent this season and has taken 30 or more shots in 14 games this season. “That’s not a line that I have to walk anymore,” Bryant said. “My role is, if they need me to put points on the board, I do that. If I’m double-teamed, triple-teamed, I don’t have anything rolling, I kick the ball out to my shooters.” Bryant has accounted for a staggering 34.9 percent of the Lakers’ scoring in the games he has played. He had 45 points Monday night against Indiana on 14 of 32 shooting, with 14 points in the first quarter and 17 in the fourth. ross.siler@dailynews.com (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! “That’s not what basketball is about,” Jackson said. “Basketball is about playing as a team and finding a functioning level.” The Lakers have gone 3-0, with Bryant scoring 48, 50 and 45 points since returning from a two-game suspension. Yet Jackson was left talking to his other starters Tuesday at practice about seizing their own opportunities in the triangle offense. center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGift Box shows no rust in San Antonio Stakes win at Santa AnitaThere is a balance between Bryant and the others. And Jackson is hoping to find it. “When it doesn’t produce wins, that’s the fine line,” Jackson said. “And then players have to be playing spontaneously, with the freedom and they also have to feel like they’re a part of it. If they are, then they play at a better level.” Bryant still has a ways to go to match what Chamberlain did in November 1962, when he scored 45 points or more in nine consecutive games. Bryant, Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor are the only players in history to have had even a four-game streak. Jackson, meanwhile, told reporters the story about a fateful conversation he had with Michael Jordan after he first took over as Chicago Bulls coach. Jackson told Jordan simply that he was shooting and scoring too much for the good of the team. The comparison to Bryant – who is averaging 34.1 points this season, most since Jordan in the 1987 season – was obvious. last_img read more

DD BOOKS: ‘THE ICE TWINS’ BY S.K. TREMAYNE

first_imgDD BOOKS: The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne pub. Harper (paperback) €11.70A creepy Gothic-style story and a good spine-chilling read. One of Sarah’s daughters died but can she be sure which one?A year after one of their identical twin daughters, Lydia, dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcraft move to the tiny Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives. But when their surviving daughter, Kirstie, claims they have mistaken her identity—that she, in fact, is Lydia—their world comes crashing down once again.As winter encroaches, Angus is forced to travel away from the island for work, Sarah is feeling isolated, and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) is growing more disturbed.When a violent storm leaves Sarah and her daughter stranded, Sarah finds herself tortured by the past—what really happened on that fateful day one of her daughters died?Lots of family secrets combined with cliffhangers and twists make this book worth a read.  DD BOOKS: ‘THE ICE TWINS’ BY S.K. TREMAYNE was last modified: June 19th, 2016 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Donegal Daily BooksHarperS.K. TremayneThe Ice Twinslast_img read more

GAELIC GAMES: NAOMH COLMCILLE GAA CLUB NEWS

first_imgNaomh Cholmcille Weekly NotesThe use of mouthguards for all underage players will be compulsory from this year onwards, and for all ages (including seniors) from next year. More details available at http://www.gaa.ie/mouthguards/; and on the club website.The club’s ‘football for fun’ program continues on Fridays from 6:30 to 7:30 pm on the astro turf; €2 per child. The program will be for 6-12 year olds. A poker night is being held at the clubhouse on this Saturday (23rd February). More details from Leo Devenney. A sports quiz is being held on 15th March; more details to follow.A Night at the Races is being organised on Easter Sunday (31st March); more details to follow.Registrations for 2013 are now available from Sharon Monaghan (registrar) – senior player €50, non-playing member €20, junior member €10, family membership €50. Registration will be taken at the AGM. Registrations will only be taken up to 25th March 2013.Copies of the Donegal yearbook (€10 each) are now available from Catherine Clarke.You can now keep up to date with the latest club news on twitter: Go to https://twitter.com/Naomh_Colmcille and hit Follow.The club is again registered for the Sainsbury’s Active Kids scheme so please start collecting the vouchers on behalf of the club.Training ScheduleCheck the Training Schedule section on the club website for latest updates on training for all age groups. The page will be updated daily. Updates also on the club’s Facebook page. Seniors / Reserves. This week the strength and conditioning program continues as usual on Tuesday (19th) in the Motiv8 gym in Letterkenny at 8:00 pm. Bring €5 for the session. Training at the pitch on Thursday (21st) at 8:00 pm and Saturday (23rd) at 10:00 am. Bring boots and runners.Minors. Training on Monday (18th) at 6:00 pm. See Facebook page and website for more updates during the week.Naomh Colmcille Weekly LottoThe numbers drawn were 15, 20, 14, 24, 13. Monica McDaid, Jack Rodgers and Johnnie Callaghan won €25 each. Next week’s jackpot is €2200. The Club would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone for their continued support of the Lotto as it gives the club the essential means of continuing to give our local kids and adults the chance to avail of a great and healthy pastime. GAELIC GAMES: NAOMH COLMCILLE GAA CLUB NEWS was last modified: February 17th, 2013 by BrendaShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:GAELIC GAMES: NAOMH COLMCILLE GAA CLUB NEWSlast_img read more

Celtic pay touching tribute to man killed in Dunfanaghy road tragedy

first_imgCeltic FC have paid tribute to a tragic fan killed in a crash while on holiday with family in Donegal.Sean Heraghty, 26, a quantity surveyor from Glasgow, was knocked down on the outskirts of Dunfanaghy on Wednesday morning.Heartfelt messages have flooded in online for the Hoops fan who was knocked down by a car while walking to his family’s home in Sandhill at around 4.15am. The clubs’s supporter liaison officer John Paul Taylor posted an emotional tribute following the tragic news.He wrote: “Condolences from all at Celtic to family & friends of Sean Heraghty, 26, who lost his life in a tragic accident in Donegal earlier in the week.“A big Celtic fan Sean will be a huge loss to all who knew him. RIP.”Prayers were said at a local mass yesterday morning and it is understood Sean’s wake will be held in Donegal. Sean’s family originally hail from the Falcarragh area and they had a holiday home in Dunfanaghy.Other tributes have also been paid to him online following the incident.One person said: “So sad to hear of this tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Heraghty family. RIP.”Celtic pay touching tribute to man killed in Dunfanaghy road tragedy was last modified: December 30th, 2017 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:celtic fcdeathdonegalSean Heraghtytragictributeslast_img read more

Survey results highlight roles of women in agriculture

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Women are active advocates for agriculture and successful business owners interested in filling leadership roles, according to a new Farm Bureau survey. A majority of those surveyed, 91%, also believe there should be more women in leadership roles in the industry. More than 3,000 women completed the informal survey online, which was conducted to determine the goals and achievements of women in agriculture.“Women play a vital role in modern farming and ranching,” said Sherry Saylor, an Arizona farmer and chair of the American Farm Bureau Women’s Leadership Committee. “We hope to use the survey results to drive our program of work and also to give women their voice and help them make even more of an impact in their communities.”More than 50% of women surveyed have started their own business that’s still in operation; 25% have not started a business but indicated they would like to do so in the future. Respondents cited prioritizing and finding time to accomplish tasks, acquiring financial support and marketing plan development as their top business challenges.Respondents ranked communicating effectively, inspiring and motivating others, and managing conflict among the most important leadership skills for women in agriculture.Another topline finding of the survey was that 75% of respondents are leaders at the local level, 50% are leaders at the state level and 26% are leaders at the national level.All women who are farmers, ranchers, farm/ranch employees, employed in agricultural businesses, pursuing ag-related higher education or supportive of agriculture in other ways were invited to participate in the survey.Full survey results, including comparisons to the initial “Women in Ag” survey (conducted in 2015), are available online at fb.org/women.last_img read more

Firefox to Get Official Browser Sync: Weave Graduates from Mozilla Labs

first_imgTags:#Browsers#news#web Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Mozilla just announced that Weave, the organization’s experimental browser sync addon, has graduated from Mozilla Labs and is now part of the official Firefox roadmap. The name of the product has been changed to “Firefox Sync” and Mozilla expects it to become a default feature of Firefox in “an upcoming major release.” Firefox Sync allows users to sync their bookmarks, preferences, browser history, passwords and tabs between different computers. Mozilla also added a few new features to Firefox Sync that will make it easier for new users to start using the addon.The sign-up and setup process of Sync is now considerably more streamlined that in the earlier versions of Weave. You can now also access all your remote tabs with the help of a single button. The addon is available in more than 15 languages including German, French, Spanish, Italian and Chinese. Opera and Chrome already feature a similar synchronization features as a core part of their browsers.From Weave to Firefox Sync Mozilla first announced Weave in December 2007. Since then, the organization introduced a number of additional betas. The basic idea behind Weave – to allow users to easily sync their browser data between different machines – has remained the same. If anything, Mozilla’s plans to allow users to manage more aspects of their online identities in the browser makes Firefox Sync an even more important part of Mozilla’s ecosystem. Just last week, Mozilla also announced that it has been working on an iPhone app that will allow users to access their browsing history and tabs from their most recent browser session on Apple’s platform. A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic…center_img Related Posts frederic lardinois 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more

Net Neutrality: Your Cheat Sheet To The FCC’s Proposal

first_imgdan rowinski Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Tags:#AT&T#broadband#Carriers#Comcast#FCC#fiber#Government#Internet#net neutrality#open internet#open internet order#verizon The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Related Posts What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … In net neutrality, as in so many other walks of life, what people do is much more important than what they say.Consider, for instance, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler, who repeatedly insists that the commission’s proposed rules for preserving “net neutrality” don’t inherently allows for Internet “fast lanes.” Such fast lanes—known in FCC parlance as paid prioritization—would allow Internet services providers like Comcast or Verizon charge companies more for faster Internet connections directly to consumers. See also: White Spaces And Dark Fiber: Internet Giants Angle For Control Of The Internet’s Pipes“There is nothing in this proposal that authorizes fast lanes. In the blocking section of the proposal we ask the question, should there be a ban in paid prioritization as an action of blocking?” Wheeler said. “In the non-discrimination section of the proposal we ask if there should be a ban on paid prioritization.”Yet the FCC proposal doesn’t actually rule out paid prioritization, either, which means it could be allowable under certain circumstances. In reality, the FCC is simply asking for comments as to whether it should ban paid prioritization entirely; the option for Internet fast lanes is still very much on the table, despite Wheeler’s apparent denial.That’s far from the only head-scratcher hidden away in the thicket of jargon and political rhetoric around the FCC’s net-neutrality proposal. Here’s a shorthand guide to the major issues at stake as the FCC ponders how—and how hard—to preserve an open Internet. (You can also see the full text of the FCC’s proposed rules at the end of this post.)The Paid Prioritization PuzzleImagine that you are Netflix. You deliver television and movies straight into the homes of consumers via the Internet. You want the biggest and fastest pipes you can get, because your business depends on providing responsive, high-quality video on demand.Cable companies want to be able to charge companies like Netflix higher fees for these faster, more reliable connections directly to consumers. If they get their way, wealthy companies like Netflix or Google could afford to pay for better Internet services; smaller companies and individuals may not be so lucky. Hence the term “fast lanes” for paid, privileged Internet channels.The FCC’s proposal asks specifically for comments as to whether it should ban such “paid prioritization” outright. But as it currently stands, the proposal doesn’t go that far. In fact, it would technically make it possible—and desirable, at least if you’re a broadband provider—to implement the fast lanes.“Let’s be clear. Any proposal to allow fast lanes for the few is emphatically not net neutrality,” said former FCC commissioner Michael Copps in a statement through Common Cause, a policy reform group. “The clear common-sense prerequisite for an Open Internet is Title II reclassification, guaranteeing the agency’s authority to protect consumers and ensure free speech online.”What’s Title II? See below.The Rebuttable PresumptionThe FCC’s fact sheet about the open Internet proposal contains a curious statement. With respect to rules that would prevent practices that threaten an open Internet, the sheet states that the draft “includes a rebuttable presumption that exclusive contracts that prioritize service to broadband affiliates are unlawful.”This is a loaded statement, so let’s break it down. Priority service for broadband affiliates means that the cable companies could give their own properties faster service while throttling or providing slower service to competitors. For instance, Comcast owns NBC Universal. The cable company could provide perfect delivery of NBC content to consumers while slowing down service for competitors, like CNN or ReadWrite.The FCC proposal does suggest that this priority service—which directly ties to the notion of paid prioritization—is a bad thing, and making it unlawful sounds like pretty strong medicine. But that pesky term “rebuttable presumption” is a giant loophole. The FCC itself describes a rebuttable presumption as “a presumption that is taken to be true unless someone comes forward to contest it and proves otherwise.”That means priority service is bad unless you can prove to me that it is good. And you know that broadband providers will be lining up their lawyers to prove that it is good. If they succeed, then poof! The paid prioritization genie is out of the bottle. As Gigaom’s broadband reporter Stacy Higginbottom writes, “Yes, that is a house the FCC is building on sand.”Title II And Section 706One important thing to bear in mind in this fight is that much of the discussion actually has little to do with consumers or broadband providers. But it has everything to do with what the FCC can and cannot do to regulate the Internet by law.You’re going to hear a lot about Title II. This is a reference to Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, the first major U.S. law to regulate telephones and transmission media. Title II is known as the “common carrier” provision of law. If a company falls under the designation of Title II, it is considered a public utility subject to FCC rules that guarantee public access to service.This entire battle over net neutrality stems from two actions by the FCC in the last 10 years. The first was in 2004 when then FCC chairman Michael Powell outlined four basic Internet freedoms that became the framework of net neutrality. The second was the FCC’s 2010 Open Internet Order, which created the first net official neutrality regulation in the U.S.Broadband providers weren’t all that pleased with the 2010 Open Internet Order. Verizon sued, claiming that the FCC lacked authority to regulate broadband providers, because they were (and are) classified as information services—not public utilities (or, technically, as “common carriers”). Verizon won its fight in January this year; ever since, the FCC has been struggling to figure out if it has any power at all in this arena.So when you hear about Title II, what net neutrality advocates want is to classify broadband as a public utility which would then give the FCC power to enforce net neutrality as it sees fit. But the FCC knows that if it tries to go down the Title II route, the broadband providers are going to sue yet again. (In all honesty, of course, they’re likely to sue no matter what.)Still, the prospect seems to alarm the commission. The FCC’s preference to date has been to apply net neutrality rules under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 because it upsets fewer applecarts. But it’s also legally ambiguous. The federal appeals court gave Verizon its victory recommended that the FCC use its Title II authority if it wants to pursue net-neutrality regulation.The FCC’s notice for rulemaking specifically asks for comment on which avenue is preferable to creating policy to regulate an open Internet, with initial comments due by July 15. Here’s where you can leave a comment for the FCC.The No Blocking RuleThe “No Blocking Rule” is a provision with the proposal that “proposes ensuring that all who use the Internet can enjoy robust, fast and dynamic Internet access.” That means broadband providers couldn’t deny fast Internet service to consumers, businesses or organizations on any basis and would be forbidden to purposefully provide slower service.The No Blocking Rule is the flip side of paid prioritization. Broadband providers could feasibly slow down an Internet service (like Netflix) to make it basically unusable. No Blocking would create rules for the minimum viable service that broadband companies provide so that Internet services are guaranteed to work.Expanded TransparencyAn ombudsman is a watchdog that oversees an organization or an industry to make sure that all participants are acting fairly. The FCC wants to create an ombudsman position to take formal and informal complaints against Internet service providers and to act as arbiter for conflict resolution.The FCC also wants broadband providers to self-police by providing regular reports about network congestion, data speeds and possibly even paid prioritization practices.Wireless Net NeutralityThe FCC essentially wants to bring back the full force of the 2010 Open Internet Order that the courts struck down. But the 2010 order had a glaring loophole itself: It set different rules for wireline broadband (like DSL) and wireless Internet, which would include 4G LTE.Wireless broadband was effectively exempted from net neutrality in the 2010 order, which allowed carriers like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile to block or slow down services as they saw fit. We saw this happen in practice when Verizon blocked the Google Wallet payments app from smartphones on their networks in favor of their own payments solution, called Isis. (This example would also fall under the category of giving priority service to broadband provider affiliates, something the FCC is considering banning.)The FCC doesn’t plan to make that mistake again; this time around, it wants to subject wireless service to the same net-neutrality rules as fixed, wired networks. The FCC is discussing how it can achieve this, either through employing Title III of the Communications Act of 1934 (which governs wireless transmission like radio or television) or through existing measures like Section 706 or Title II.Here’s the FCC’s notice of proposed rulemaking: Lead image by Flickr user tlsmith1000, CC 2.0last_img read more