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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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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
quote:
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?

quote:
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.


"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins














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