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Print 40 comment(s) - last by mindless1.. on Oct 4 at 11:48 AM


  (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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umm..
By theslug on 10/3/2011 10:26:31 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
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
quote:
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.


"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay














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