Will net neutrality bring internet freedom? (laughter)

Written by on March 4, 2016 in Guest Blog with 1 Comment

net neutralityFCC Net Neutrality rules are being tested from both directions

While the whole subject may become moot under President Trump, until that event becomes inevitable, the debate around FCC Net Neutrality rages on.

The FCC Net Neutrality is in the middle of some serious legal and legislative wrangling over spectrum auctions and other big topics. But as the presidential primaries start to coalesce around Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the question looms of what happens to the FCC and its plans after the inauguration.

The FCC may not be as high-profile as the Supreme Court, but it’s decisions have some far-reaching consequences, especially for the tech industry. Until now, the FCC chairman stepped down when a new president came into office, though there’s no law requiring it. And Mr Wheeler isn’t making any promises.

A few critical FCC Net Neutrality topics are being challenged at the same time now

The U.S. Senate is dealing with legislation by Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) that aims to bring an end to so-called net neutrality regulations by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Sen. Mike Lee is offering a bill that will repeal FCC’s so-called net neutrality regulations and prohibit the Commission from issuing any similar regulations until such time that Congress authorizes it to act. It is the exact kind of application of Congress’ Article One responsibilities that all members of Congress should follow.

The FCC decided against Congress that opposed the Agency’s administrative rewrite of the 1934 Communications Act to treat broadband Internet as a utility under Title II. The whole process avoided the constitutional law-making process, and Sen. Lee’s bill aims to restore Internet freedom.

At the same time, Comcast’s Stream TV is dealing with a complaint filed against them. The FCC is claiming their service is illegal. Comcast says the service isn’t subject to net neutrality rules because it isn’t an Internet service.

Stream TV was accused of violating both net neutrality regulations and a condition Comcast agreed to when it purchased NBCU. It agreed not to favor its services over other competing services over broadband.

The complaint is based on the following statement – “Whether or not Stream TV travels on the “public Internet,” customers access it over their broadband Internet Access Service connections.” Comcast’s response to this statement is this:

“Our Stream TV cable package does not go over the Internet, so it can’t possibly violate a condition which only applies to Internet content. Customers do not access Stream TV through their broadband service. Period.”

Overall, looking at 2015, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler argued that investment in broadband has actually risen since the agency passed its landmark net neutrality rules last year, contradicting fellow commissioner Ajit Pai’s contention that the regulations have stifled Internet growth.

Pai argued that investment slowed down in 2015, particularly among smaller Internet providers, after the FCC, in approving the rules, reclassified the Internet as a Title II telecommunications service. He said that some companies are putting their investments abroad or, in the case of Verizon, using their capital to buy AOL.

Wheeler responded that investment in broadband increased, along with a 13% jump in fiber investment, as well as Internet usage and increased revenue per subscriber.

The FCC’s net neutrality rules are being challenged in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has yet to issue a ruling after a hearing last year

The rules prohibit Internet providers from blocking or slowing traffic, or from so-called “paid prioritization,” in which a site could offer payment for speedier access to subscribers. The FCC moved to Title II to establish a stronger legal footing to withstand a court challenge. The debate rages on.

More Here [Yahoo] [DCinno] [Net Neutrality]

This article was first published here, and is reproduced with kind permission.

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About the Author

About the Author: Jonathon has been lurking around the Telecoms and Internet space for the last 20 years. He is now a man on a mission – that being the reformation of the Industry Analyst business. He is working with his co-conspirators on transforming the Industry Analyst world forever as an Expert with EMI. .


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  1. Michael Elling says:

    Net neutrality has weak foundations as it is a contrived notion. Those who conjured it up pointed to the benefits of open or equal access of the 1980s-90s in the voice markets which provided commercial scale for the data internet. But net neutrality does not recognize or account for the role inter-network/actor settlements play as price signals for incentives and disincentives, and to share network effect value equitably.

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