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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Filed Under: net neutrality, open internet, telco vendors, title ii
Companies: adran, at&t, cisco, comcast, ibm, intel, sandvine, verizon


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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 23 Dec 2014 @ 4:02pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Only here in name only, 23 Dec 2014 @ 4:03pm

    So...

    Chinese manufactures support censoring the internet, I am shocked, let me get my fainting couch..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2014 @ 4:03pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2014 @ 4:04pm

    hes right its not idle speculation or fear mongering
    its
    idle speculation, fear mongering and crystal ball reading

    So sickening that they value their wallet above the well being of the internet. This is basically a list of people I will never give money to, Thanks!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Scott Dunn, 23 Dec 2014 @ 4:17pm

    Even if investors flee...so what?

    Community broadband will step in to take up the slack.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2014 @ 4:37pm

      Re: Even if investors flee...so what?

      Not if ALEC has anything to say!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 23 Dec 2014 @ 4:46pm

      Re: Even if investors flee...so what?

      Assuming they can manage to get around the 'No-one but major ISP's are allowed to offer service in this area' laws that scatter the country that is.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Christopher (profile), 23 Dec 2014 @ 5:30pm

        Re: Re: Even if investors flee...so what?

        There should have been a lawsuit against those laws already on the basis of limiting competition.
        I understand that the incumbents don't want to actually compete but it is time to MAKE them compete.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          clemahieu (profile), 23 Dec 2014 @ 8:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: Even if investors flee...so what?

          People have brought lawsuits and they lost. The problem stems from government intervention in infrastructure.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Whoever, 23 Dec 2014 @ 5:06pm

    Sales, sales, and more sales

    Deep packet inspection and filtering represents an opportunity to sell more boxes at higher prices. That's all this is about.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Dec 2014 @ 5:27pm

    Not surprising

    Each new creative way to break net neutrality is an upsell opportunity for these hardware vendors.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    clemahieu (profile), 23 Dec 2014 @ 8:00pm

    I'm reading the Title II and I see "different charges may be made for the different classes of comunications" can anyone explain how Title II reclassification prevents charging different rates for different classes of communication?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 24 Dec 2014 @ 7:38am

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

    I get the feeling there should be a comma in there somewhere...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Dec 2014 @ 2:17pm

    Lets not forget about the Trade in Service agreement and TPP.

    Please help wikileaks get the info by donate them on this

    http://org.salsalabs.com/o/1439/content_item/freetpp

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 28 Dec 2014 @ 9:27am

    "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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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