So the FCC appears to be poised to vote on its latest proposal for network neutrality, and from all appearances it will pass 3-2. So why hasn’t Telecom Ramblings’ offered commentary on this subject until now? Well, to put it bluntly, what we have is a proposal a) that has yet to actually see the light of day, b) whose underlying power is derived from the FCC’s ability to creatively reinterpret its own mandate, c) that probably doesn’t cover the wireless last mile which is the only place it really matters currently, and d) which will be challenged in court before the ink is dry with a better-than-even chance of success.
So why are they doing it? Even if it is challenged, it will still be on paper and will be the document referred to by those judging who is being naughty and nice for the next few years. Better to have a disputed guideline rather than no guideline – that is the rationale, IMHO. And by the time they lose in court, the whole issue will surely have been superseded by the next one anyway – whatever that turns out to be.
There are some questions left open though. Will the FCC comment on the Level3/Comcast dispute? Probably not, there hasn’t been enough time yet for a bureaucracy to form an expressible opinion. Of course, if they are thinking ahead they’ll have realized that the fight over traffic has already moved upstream to the world of peering and transit. But while it is composed of some very smart individuals, as an organization the FCC doesn’t think ahead unless it helps them avoid a decision in the present, so I think there’s little likelihood of that happening.
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