Claiming To Represent 'Tech' Network Hardware Vendors Shockingly Support Their ISP Clients In Opposing Tough Net Neutrality Rules

from the don't-fear-the-investment-bogeyman dept

By now, we’ve made it pretty clear that while Title II is being portrayed as a big, scary bogeyman by the nation’s largest ISPs, it’s really only a regulatory burden if you’re doing something wrong. And while ISPs like Verizon, Comcast and AT&T have been making the rounds telling anyone who’ll listen that Title-II based rules will stifle industry investment, those same ISPs have been not only regulated for years under Title II without problems, but ISPs like Verizon, Charter and Time Warner Cable have also been admitting to investors that’s simply not true.

Enter hardware vendors like Sandvine, Cisco, Intel, IBM and Adtran, who last week joined forces to oppose Title-II based net neutrality rules in a letter (pdf) to Congress and the FCC. Even though the investment-bogeyman mantra has been thoroughly debunked by this point, that didn’t stop the companies from upping the rhetoric ante — and proclaiming that Title II will kill the entire economy:

“While many experts have noted the damage Title II could do to network investment, the harm would cascade out far beyond the provision of broadband service because the Internet is now so entwined with our entire economy…Reversing course now by shifting to Title II means that instead of billions of broadband investment driving other sectors of the economy forward, any reduction in this spending will stifle growth across the entire economy. This is not idle speculation or fear mongering. And as some have already warned, Title II is going to lead to a slowdown, if not a hold, in broadband build out, because if you don?t know that you can recover on your investment, you won?t make it.”

Except fear mongering is exactly what it is. Wireless voice has always been regulated under Title II, yet wireless has seen an explosion in network investment over the last decade. Verizon’s FiOS services are regulated under Title II for tax purposes, and a quick glimpse skyward should illustrate that the sky didn’t fall. Meanwhile, to encourage regulatory apathy, the letter perpetuates the boring falsehood that the broadband market has “flourished” under a decade of deregulation regulatory capture, when the lack of competition, high prices, and horrid customer service clearly shows that’s not the case.

The network hardware vendors’ letter last week was bandied about as proof positive that “tech” companies oppose Title II rules, ignoring, of course, that in this case we’re talking specifically about tech companies that stand to profit handsomely from weaker (or no) net neutrality rules.

Much like the ISPs, it’s not really Title II hardware vendors oppose. What they oppose are rules that could potentially hamstring the billions that can be made from abusing the incumbent ISP gatekeeper stranglehold over noncompetitive markets, whether that comes in the form of double dipping, erecting arbitrary new tolls, discriminating against competing traffic, or imposing otherwise “creative” new pricing paradigms. After all, if these companies stand to make billions selling the hardware that makes this bad behavior possible, why on Earth would they want net neutrality rules that prohibit it?

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Companies: adran, at&t, cisco, comcast, ibm, intel, sandvine, verizon

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Comments on “Claiming To Represent 'Tech' Network Hardware Vendors Shockingly Support Their ISP Clients In Opposing Tough Net Neutrality Rules”

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That One Guy (profile) says:

Who is paying the investment?

And as some have already warned, Title II is going to lead to a slowdown, if not a hold, in broadband build out, because if you don’t know that you can recover on your investment, you won’t make it.

Leaving aside for a moment that even Verizon slipped up and publicly stated that reclassification wouldn’t do squat to hinder investment, if we’re going to talk about ‘recovering’ the investment these companies are making, we should also bring up the billions of tax-payer dollars they’ve been given for their networks, and the massive tax-breaks they’ve been given for the same reason.

If they’re claiming that re-classification would make expanding their networks too ‘risky’, then it only seems fair to completely eliminate those tax-breaks and subsidies. After all, their purpose is to help the companies expand and maintain their networks for the benefit of the public, if they’re doing neither, then they clearly don’t need the ‘help’.

So no more subsidies, and no more tax breaks, if expanding the networks is too risky, then the public shouldn’t be the ones putting their money on the line.

Now, such networks do need to be built and maintained, but if the major players aren’t willing to do so, sounds like a perfect opportunity for smaller players to take up the slack. I’m sure they would love to have the perks the major ISP’s don’t need anymore.

Anonymous Coward says:

Vendors are in the same position as a customer of big telcos as grocery stores. If your customer gets pissed he’ll go to the competition. Likewise if the big telco gets pissed, it will go to the vendors competition.

So vendors are really strong on what the telco wants as long as it won’t cut into their own profits to do so.

The idea that big telcos won’t expand is a worthless idea given that most of rural America can’t get cable or DSL out in the country unless they lay in close to a city where it is financially beneficial to wire them in.

In this aspect we are in the same place as power companies in the 30s. The REA was formed in 1935 to help finance third party vendors of electricity to basically wire the US for power. Unfortunately, the telcos have been paid to do so and sat on the money, while at the same time fighting any attempts to spread broadband beyond their control.

More and more we are looking at a repeat of history with broadband replacing electricity as the issue.

clemahieu (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

” and such other classes as the Commission may
decide to be just and reasonable” seems to indicate that new classes can be created at any time. A class for flash traffic that peaks and consumes 1/3 of all internet traffic each day seems a easy candidate for a new class.

Again, let me know if anyone can find how Title II prevents class-based traffic charging because as far as I can see this is the biggest misconception about Title II reclassification out there.

Sheogorath says:

“And as some have already warned, Title II is going to lead to a slowdown, if not a hold, in broadband build out, because if you don’t know that you can recover on your investment, you won’t make it.”
Indeed. That’s why, because of the lack of investment and build out under Title II regulations, phone services are landline only, and they’re priced so highly that only rich people can afford them. Amirite?

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