The Net Neutrality Bomb Lands, Everyone Checks For Wounds

March 13th, 2015 by · 20 Comments

Yesterday the FCC finally gave us the details on its big move to enforce network neutrality by selectively applying Title II.  The 400 page order was more about rationale and objections than actual rules (just 87 of them).  And of course it was immediately followed by a variety of opinions, most of which were surely written in advance.  Here's a quick selection, accompanied by my translation of the lawyer-speak into English:

AT&T SEVP Jim Cicconi:  "Unfortunately, the order released today begins a period of uncertainty that will damage broadband investment in the United States. Ultimately, though, we are confident the issue will be resolved by bipartisan action by Congress or a future FCC, or by the courts."  

Translation:  See you in court, Wheeler.

Level 3 SVP Michael Mooney: "Level 3 has consistently said it is more interested in the substance of the Open Internet rules—ensuring that the rules protect a free and open Internet without loopholes—than the mechanics of implementing them. Whether the Open Internet is protected through a law written in 1890, 1934 or 2015 does not matter. What matters is that the law protects the free and open Internet. We commend the FCC for its actions to advance the evolution of the Internet and toward protecting American consumers."

Translation:  We actually won a round!  Please don't screw it up now.

Cogent Communications:  [The FCC] did not regulate the Internet; it prohibited abusive practices of mass market ISPs. The Commission wisely chose to use its regulatory power only where needed to correct abuse – in the last mile connection to consumers and interconnection among networks – and refrained from the application of burdensome rules from the telephone era.

Translation: Hey guys, about those overflowing peering connections...

TIA CEO Scott Belcher: The FCC order confirms that Title II is a Trojan horse that will open the door to heavy government control of the Internet and create marketplace uncertainty. With Title II in place, there is little to stop future commissioners from instituting government price controls or other market-distorting regulations. The FCC’s promise of a light-touch approach is just that – a promise. There is too much at stake to allow the future of the Internet to rest upon a simple promise.

Translation: The end of the world is nigh!

Dr. Michael Mandel of the Progressive Policy Institute:  From the economic perspective, it’s distressing that the Commission has decided to impose this many new regulations on a technologically dynamic and innovative sector that has been propelling growth. ...We all believe that having an open internet is important, but the FCC has picked the wrong approach. We urge Congress to pass a set of open internet rules that don't take us back in time.

Translation: [loudly] Congress save us!  [subvocalized] Rot in hell, John Oliver...

Free Press Policy Director Matt Wood:  These rules are an all-too-rare example of Washington actually working for the people — responding to a massive public outcry to protect Internet users and keep powerful corporations in check. Title II is the correct, common-sense path to providing real Net Neutrality protections under the law.

Translation: Did we just win? Someone pinch me...

Google, Apple, Netflix, etc: [Silence]

Translation: Maybe if we don't talk, nobody will notice we are now in charge.

And my reaction?  Only time will tell who is right.  My only question is how long it will take to land in court -- hours, days, or weeks?

Have an opinion?  Leave a comment!

Categories: Government Regulations · Internet Traffic

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20 Comments So Far


  • Etouffe says:

    The guy who runs this: http://monthlyreview.org/2011/03/01/the-internets-unholy-marriage-to-capitalism/ has his lobby group cited 40+ times. One need only check out the book list at right to see where he is coming from. If he is happy about these regs, we should be asking ourselves WTF just happened? That’s an informed policy advisor who influenced this fiat?!

  • mhammett says:

    How “free and open” does Level 3 really want to see the Internet? Can I peer with them and get all customer routes now?

    Regarding the TIA: From what telecomm attorneys have told our trade association, it’s much harder to make the rules and forebear than to unforebear. There’s also an expiration date on the small ISP exemptions.

    • Rob Powell says:

      For Level 3, I’d say they’re happy because they’re small enough and far enough removed from the consumer last mile not to get much direct scrutiny, and big enough to not be overburdened by the potential red tape smaller guys rightly fear.

      • HarryHood says:

        Yes but it was Level 3 that opened up the original can of worms with Comcast regarding peering relationships and eventually led to the throttling “issue” with Netflix that Comcast was called onto the carpet about. Level 3 has a larger stake in this outcome than some may think

    • Anonymous says:

      Where did you see the exemption for smaller ISP’s and is that exemption basically for all the regulatory and licensing fees? That’s what I am mainly worried about. Oh the irony of the people hating on Comcast… the smaller players won’t be able to live in this environment, but Comcast can just throw money and lawyers at the regulatory climate

      • mhammett says:

        Paragraphs 154-175 – Temporary exemption for new disclosure obligations for small ISPs (100,000 or less, including affiliates as reported on Form 477) until December 2015. Follow-on rulemaking proceeding between now and then. Time to sharpen the pen (again).

      • mhammett says:

        And yes, the thousands of small providers that the public should be cheering for and the government should be encouraging… get squished.

  • Parkite says:

    Funny. ATT broadband investment??? The lack thereof, other than when Google Fiber is announced in one of their markets, is why these regulations are necessary. They are so insular, I don’t even think they realize how their public comments come across.

    • Anonymous says:

      Parkite this is exactly the ignorance that has led to the regulations that will ultimately make it worse, not better for consumers. You refer to the LAST MILE, which is very different from the core, where this regulation will have the greatest negative impact. If we wanted to regulate last mile access more, we should have had a debate about that.

  • Robert Grutza says:

    Another OBAMA disaster. Every single thing this clown has done has turned to sh#!. We will never recover.

    • Chicken Little says:

      The sky is falling! The sky is falling!

    • Anonymous says:

      Robert Grutza and bebbers, you’re right. Who can argue with such cogent, not to mention well reasoned, logic. The guys that preceded him were amazing. Bring them back, so we can enjoy the good ole days because everything was great between 2000-2008 or between 1992-2000 or between 1988-1992 or between 1980-1988 or between 1976-1980 or between 1968-1976, etc.

      What you’re really pouting about is that your team lost the WH and even when they win the other team ruins everything (that’s why 2000-2008 was so screwed up).

      You love democracy only if everyone’s on the same team. Until that happens we need a dictator who will force everyone on the same team by clearing away all the misguided thinking. Then we can reintroduce democracy and let people vote again.

      • bebbers says:

        You must be a new man around here? Good luck if you are in this industry in keeping your job. I guess that you are for Clinton in 2016 ? Good luck with that and keep drinking the kool-aid.

        • Anonymous says:

          bebbers, not new to industry (started with brooks fiber in ’95) & not new to TR.

          Meaningless, unrelated comments like yours (and, yes, my response) that stray completely off-topic have no place on this website.

          And looking back on previous comments you’ve made suggest the only comment you add to any dialog here are unrelated POTUS comments.

          People like you amaze me. You drop in on a blog covering a specific topic, throw in an unrelated comment about POTUS or politics in general and then convince yourself you’re saying something. What you’re saying is “I’m an idiot with nothing substantive to add on this topic.”

  • bebbers says:

    You are correct on your statement Robert . The GOP needs to shut Obama down for the count .

  • Richard Tucker says:

    What do you guys think about XO?

  • LOL says:

    someone remind me again why we just regulated the internet? prior to this (secretly developed) regulation, it seemed to function very well and unleashed the large(st) gains in communication and productivity. what was solved?

    if i read items correctly, even Netflix who demanded regulations (to keep it from, egad, having to paying for tier1 bandwidth) wants out of this mess.

    is SV already getting cold feet about going head to head with VZ-ATT-COMCAST on their home court ?

    good luck !!

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