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  (Source: NJ Journal)
Wireless carrier claims it still cares about net neutrality

Verizon Communications, Inc. (VZ) has sued the U.S. Federal Communications Commission for a second time looking to block its proposed net neutrality rules.  But the puzzling thing is that it's not clear what the pair is fighting for.

Last August Google Inc. (GOOG) maker of the world's most used smart phone operating system and most used search engine, teamed up with Verizon Communications, Inc. (VZ), America's largest wireless network, to unveil a net neutrality proposal.  While the proposal aimed to block landline companies like Comcast Corp. (COMCSA) from discriminating against data, it contained exceptions for illegal data (e.g. P2P traffic) and wireless traffic (which the proposal argued was too bandwidth restricted to allow customers to freely access the internet).

The FCC, who Verizon and Google hoped would embrace those rules, was dismissive of the proposal.  FCC Commissioner Michael Copps remarks [PDF], "Some will claim this announcement moves the discussion forward.  That's one of its many problems. It is time to move a decision forward—a decision to reassert FCC authority over broadband telecommunications, to guarantee an open Internet now and forever, and to put the interests of consumers in front of the interests of giant corporations."

Still when the proposal was finally unveiled, it seemed to take into consideration a lot of what Google and Verizon said, largely exempting wireless traffic from the prohibition on throttling.

Despite that, Verizon made the curious decision to sue the FCC about the proposal, claiming it has no authority to make the rules regulating the internet.  Verizon, who throttles its most active data users, was supported by the U.S. House of Representatives who claim that net neutrality is an afront to capitalism.  The House argued that net neutrality regulation would prevent telecoms from monetization schemes, such as a charging users per website visit.

Pay per page visit
Fig 1.: The FCC proposal is unpopular among house Republicans and telecoms, who complain it would prevent a "free market" in which carriers could charge users per-website usage fees. [Source: Fierce Wireless Semina via Wired]

Ironically, Verizon is also supported by some of its enemies.  Activist group Free Press has also filed suit against the FCC [PDF] because it complains the proposed rules too closely follow Verizon's suggestion, which they argue illegally exempts wireless traffic from net neutrality provisions.  The Free Press argue that all internet connections should be mandated to be neutral, and that rules with exemptions are illegal.

Free Press protest
Fig. 2:  The FCC has also been sued by net neutrality advocates, the Free Press (pictured here protesting at Google's headquarters), who argues that its rules don't go far enough and illegally exempt wireless carriers like Verizon from some provisions. [Source: CBS Interactive]

For Verizon this is the company's second suit.  The last suit was dismissed as the FCC hadn't officially unveiled the net neutrality rules.

Recall that Comcast already won its suit to prevent the FCC from restricting its throttling.  

While Comcast's attorney acknowledged that Title I, Section 230(b) of the Communications Act, which defines that it is the policy of the United States "to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet" and "to promote the continued development of the Internet," she disputed that the provision gave the FCC authority to regulate the internet.  She said that only Congress can deliver that kind of authority via legislation.  The court bought that argument, ruling that the FCC did not have sufficient regulatory authority.

Now that attorney for Comcast -- Helgi G. Walker -- has been hired by Verizon to try to win another round against the FCC.

Helgi Walker
Fig 3.: Verizon has retained Helgi Walker (pictured; center), a top lawyer who already won a similar case against the FCC for Comcast. [Source: Washington Life]

Verizon senior vice president Michael Glover claims his company is actually a supporter of net neutrality, "Verizon is fully committed to an open Internet.  We are deeply concerned by the FCC’s assertion of broad authority to impose potentially sweeping and unneeded regulations on broadband networks and services and on the Internet itself. We believe this assertion of authority is inconsistent with the statute and will create uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers."

However, he calls the new rules "arbitrary" and "capricious".

If the rules are overturned it would likely have little bearing on the overall right to throttle by wireless carriers, which would be allowed under the pending rules.  It would, however open the door to Verizon and others charging users per-page-visit (regardless of data use), something that is prohibited under the pending rules.

Sources: Verizon, Gizmodo

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By quiksilvr on 10/3/2011 9:12:28 AM , Rating: 2
Verizon supports unrestricted WIRED internet except for P2P and supports restrictions on WIRELESS internet?

How about just make everything unrestricted? If Sprint can afford to deliver unlimited wireless I don't see why Verizon can't (especially for the insane monthly prices they charge).

RE: So...
By Omega215D on 10/3/11, Rating: 0
RE: So...
By Iaiken on 10/3/11, Rating: -1
RE: So...
By Omega215D on 10/3/11, Rating: -1
RE: So...
By Reclaimer77 on 10/3/2011 2:26:22 PM , Rating: 1
lol I see Iaiken is as mature and pleasant to converse with as always. Nothing like a cell phone topic to invoke mental images of choking on peoples privates...

But I guess the hot and controversial topic of data providers get's EVERYONE this angry and irrational. I mean am I right? We take everything else on the chin, but by god, nobody better make a profit on our mindless entertainment and need to self medicate ourselves with excessive mobile device usage.

RE: So...
By Omega215D on 10/3/2011 3:01:36 PM , Rating: 1
It appears the assholes are out in full force because I mentioned that Verizon has a larger wireless network to deal with for maintenance and upgrades. Instead people downvote based on their being a fan of another company.

This is becoming like engadget.

RE: So...
By Reclaimer77 on 10/3/2011 3:23:25 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah there are just certain topics here that almost aren't even worth trying to discuss. Like trying to pull a meaty bone out of the jaws of a pit bull.

RE: So...
By semiconshawn on 10/3/11, Rating: 0
RE: So...
By Kurz on 10/3/2011 9:50:11 AM , Rating: 2
People need to start voting with their money... Though its hard to do when everyone is contracted into their current plan.

One Regulation I would think would benefit the consumer would be the end of contracted phones. Smart Phones do not cost $500! There is a cartel going on between our Government and the Major Cell providers.

RE: So...
By gladiatorua on 10/3/2011 10:00:00 AM , Rating: 2
There is cartel going on between your government and most major corporations(with loads of money).

RE: So...
By Invane on 10/3/2011 12:41:52 PM , Rating: 2
Amen to that. There's the real problem.

RE: So...
By Omega215D on 10/3/2011 10:53:13 AM , Rating: 2
Actually unlocked smartphones are quite pricey in other countries.

RE: So...
By Kurz on 10/3/2011 11:11:22 AM , Rating: 1
We are the dominate market of the world, we set the prices.

RE: So...
By FITCamaro on 10/3/2011 11:48:13 AM , Rating: 4
No cost of production + profit sets prices.. Smartphones are not cheap to produce. Most people want a free or $100 phone. Not a $400-500 phone. So as a result you sign up for a contract. You know what you're getting into. If you don't like it, you're free to buy a phone without a contract at full price. Which is usually between $300-800. These things are basically mobile computers now. The smaller things are, the more expensive they are.

RE: So...
By gladiatorua on 10/3/2011 12:28:16 PM , Rating: 2
We do not live in ideal world. Humans exploit every possibility and so the profit margin is not as logical and reasonable as you want it to be.
Just look at the Apple. It doesn't win by volume, but profit margins are quite high. And it's not exactly a bad thing... No, in case of Apple it is.
$300-800 is the price of tablets. Not smartphones.
And subsidising does not reduce the price. It actually increases it. Like a credit.

RE: So...
By someguy123 on 10/3/2011 3:06:53 PM , Rating: 2
No, the cost of the parts in these smartphones is indeed high. the iphone is an exception and used outdated hardware at launch.

the reason they appear to be cheap is because companies subsidize the phone costs in order to attach you to a contract. the price of the phone is technically reduced (sometimes substantially) compared to purchasing the phone and contract individually.

As you said, the world isn't ideal, and it's not a right to own a subsidized computer in your pocket.

RE: So...
By Dark Legion on 10/3/2011 12:05:49 PM , Rating: 2
Smart Phones do not cost $500!

Yes, they do! Unlocked and unsubsidized, top end smartphones are easily $500-$700. However, get rid of the subsidy, interest, and the rest of the BS you gotta take with it, then we might finally have decently priced plans to make up for it, basically how they do it in the rest of the world.

RE: So...
By Kurz on 10/4/2011 11:05:22 AM , Rating: 2
My Argument is that in parts a smart phone doesnt cost anywhere close to 500 dollars. They typically run around 200-300 in parts. A 10% profit puts it at 330.

In case you were wondering...
By gladiatorua on 10/3/2011 9:56:27 AM , Rating: 5
This kind of shit is the reason why a lot of second-world have better internet access than USA. And MUCH better priced too.

RE: In case you were wondering...
By Obujuwami on 10/3/2011 1:59:30 PM , Rating: 2
Define second world countries for me, I need a good laugh right now.

RE: In case you were wondering...
By gladiatorua on 10/3/2011 2:37:24 PM , Rating: 2
Most countries of eastern Europe... I know, because I live in one.
Almost all prices for wired broadband are under 20$. And now it includes IPTV some times. And that include speeds upto 100MBit/s(upto means not guaranteed but close most of the time). NO data caps(well there is a data cap in the contract that says half of total possible monthly traffic, but I don't think its possible). And I have at least 5 providers to choose from. Most are FTTB.
So it's about competition.

RE: In case you were wondering...
By Reclaimer77 on 10/3/2011 2:45:02 PM , Rating: 2
Almost all prices for wired broadband are under 20$.

Because broadband is basically state owned in Europe or at the very least extremely subsidized. So it's no wonder. Things are a bit different here so it's not really a direct comparison.

I don't think it's possible for American ISP's to provide world class broadband for "under" $20. At least not any that want to stay in business for long.

RE: In case you were wondering...
By Omega215D on 10/3/2011 3:03:08 PM , Rating: 2
Does South Korea count as a 2nd world country or is it 1st?

RE: In case you were wondering...
By gladiatorua on 10/3/2011 3:13:57 PM , Rating: 2
Nope. None of them are. Except one. But it provides landline phones and ADSL. And it was sold recently.
No sane government would subsidise 5 different ISPs in one part of the city.
Most people just wouldn't pay more than 20$. Internet became popular pretty late, so infrastructure was built from scratch with all the good stuff... And there is no monopolist that can make it hard for new players except by actually competing with them. No laws that will make it impossible to enter the market unless subsidised. ISPs mostly worrying about ARPU. And equipment costs the same. And even without most of streaming services we have widespread piracy(YARRRRR!) so the load is quite substantial. And No miracle ways to reduce it.
So American prices and quality are result of government screwing ISPs(which I doubt) and/or ISPs screwing customers, and without competition...

RE: In case you were wondering...
By Reclaimer77 on 10/3/2011 3:52:22 PM , Rating: 2
ISP's only provide broadband to the end user. I'm talking about the ACTUAL people who provide broadband TO the ISP's. That is the main factor in determining broadband end user costs, and it's absolutely massively state subsidized in Europe. It's kind of offensive that you're lying right to my face about it.

I guess it's just a different way of looking at things. You rave about your $20 Internet even though you are being taxed to death. A lot of places in Europe have a total tax rate of 60% of your income! You act like you're saving money somehow, but you really aren't. I rather have my $50 plan that I have now and not have to live with a VAT on everything and whatever other absorbent fee's and taxes you have to deal with. Like it's any wonder why basic services are cheaper?

So American prices and quality are result of government screwing ISPs(which I doubt) and/or ISPs screwing customers, and without competition...

Umm actually government is the reason we have less competition here. Businesses are actually blocked from trying to compete with ISP's who the government granted a monopoly in that area. It's pretty screwed up...

RE: In case you were wondering...
By croc on 10/3/2011 5:13:42 PM , Rating: 2
"ISP's only provide broadband to the end user. I'm talking about the ACTUAL people who provide broadband TO the ISP's. That is the main factor in determining broadband end user costs, and it's absolutely massively state subsidized in Europe. It's kind of offensive that you're lying right to my face about it."

And you have some links to some articles to support this argument? Or are you just shooting your mouth off here, as usual, denigrating any and all that proposes a view that you do not share...

RE: In case you were wondering...
By mindless1 on 10/4/2011 11:44:14 AM , Rating: 2
Do you realize this conversation you're in [on the internet] makes the statement "... lying right to my face about it.", highly improbable?

RE: In case you were wondering...
By Jaybus on 10/3/2011 3:23:44 PM , Rating: 2
That's not the issue. The issue is, for example, whether Comcast can throttle Netflix traffic to artificially make their own proprietary on demand video appear to work better than Netflix.

By theslug on 10/3/2011 10:26:31 AM , Rating: 2
The House argued that net neutrality regulation would prevent telecoms from monetization schemes, such as a charging users per website visit.

Preventing telecoms from doing that is a good thing...

This is anti-consumer corporate greed. Is the House really this corrupt that they would even begin to consider this?

In a perfect world if an ISP actually attempted this, we'd move to another ISP. But seeing as many areas only have one or two to choose from, that's not really an option. All the more reason why regulation is needed.

RE: umm..
By Omega215D on 10/3/2011 10:52:04 AM , Rating: 2
You know very well that our government tends to be in the pockets of the corporations.

I hate being stuck with Time Warner but sadly I they are the main providers in my neck of NYC.

RE: umm..
By Kurz on 10/3/2011 11:30:05 AM , Rating: 2
In your case its the State and Local governments you should be angry with. :D

RE: umm..
By Omega215D on 10/3/2011 3:04:42 PM , Rating: 2
Trickle down corrupt-enomics...

RE: umm..
By Reclaimer77 on 10/3/11, Rating: 0
RE: umm..
By Reclaimer77 on 10/3/11, Rating: 0
RE: umm..
By theslug on 10/3/2011 4:12:25 PM , Rating: 2
I'm no fan of the FCC either. I'm not rooting for them or any particular agency, I just want someone or something that will ensure net neutrality exists.

RE: umm..
By Reclaimer77 on 10/3/2011 4:24:31 PM , Rating: 2
I'm no fan of the FCC either. I'm not rooting for them or any particular agency, I just want someone or something that will ensure net neutrality exists.

But we've always had de-facto Net Neutrality without any Government policies guaranteeing it before. Yes, SOME traffic shaping and rate conflicts have crept up in recent years, but the Internet is far from the badlands filled with throat slitting bandits that the Government is making it seem like.

Look at how amazing the Internet is, really, just think about it. We the people, along with the ISP's, have created the single biggest depository for information and artistic expression that the planet has EVER seen. And we did it without ANY mandate or intervention from the FCC. And very little from the Government in general, if any.

Now suddenly the Government is here to say that we have a problem and they can help. Well you know how that saying goes about people from Washington wanting to help.

Make no mistake about it, when the FCC get's involved in something, it's time to get worried. I'm trying to tell you people, if we let them in the door it won't just end at Net Neutrality.

RE: umm..
By mindless1 on 10/4/2011 11:48:40 AM , Rating: 2
Suddenly? No, companies realized that consumers, then FCC, would step in if they didn't at least "appear" to be neutral.

What the FCC is doing now is merely responding to the active /suggestions/ of the industry.

Like it or not, those F, C, C letters stand for something. If we want to neuter them, can we still let them govern other topics or is that biased and favoritism?

To suggest that just because we used to, or even currently might have neutrality is no assurance it would remain that way. Leave it to greedy people to scheme up new ways to extract more money, in the sneakiest way possible.

By Joz on 10/3/2011 9:07:19 AM , Rating: 1
The picture of Helgi....

Look for the hand.

RE: .
By AlterEcho on 10/3/2011 10:06:00 AM , Rating: 2
LOL...exactly what I was thinking.

This type of positioning makes the telecom's look weak and scared. The FCC should make the providers advertise the true "usage" that the telecom's will allow. Example for Verizon: "200k up and 500k down with 5 gig monthly and no P2P." If the FCC approached the 'fight' from that angle...the telecom's would quickly quiet down. Can you imagine the average "Joe" finding out what the telecom's want to allow...and how restrictive in comparison to other countries. And that is the problem...the providers are safe as long as they can hide behind obscurification. Make that data available within their advertising...then watch the consumers change the market.

Unhappy with lot's of money...
By greylica on 10/3/2011 9:49:49 AM , Rating: 2
Consumers pay for a connection with X velocity data, then they aren't happy, and push for obscurity of traffic shape, it didn't work very well as expected, then they push for data cap plans, when data cap plans arise offending consumers, some start to cease and desisted of using what they're paying for (useless conections), then they start to sue popular iniciatives over small cities that tried to be freed from their absurd prices with all of the problems above, and now they want to charge enterprises and consumers for ''page access''. Will their next step be charge for clicks or brain imagination of a page that can't be reached ?

Well friends, we are dealing with ISPs acting like depressive childs, they really don't know what they want, and they are still very unhappy with all the money they gain, then there will be no limit. (may be a handling of their asses ?) Let's get them lot's of antidepressive, because if they have all of the money in the world, they will still be very unhappy, like any other sick enterprise childs named as directors that pass their days trying to figure out a way to rule the world with a help of a psichyatric dude...

Poor guys...

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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