Broadband

by Karl Bode


Filed Under:
fcc, net neutrality, open internet

Companies:
verizon



Verizon's Last Tiny Shred Of Credibility On Net Neutrality Just Died

from the can-you-actually-hear-yourself? dept

You'll of course recall that the FCC's original 2010 net neutrality rules didn't do much of anything and exempted wireless networks completely, in large part because they were written by Verizon and Google. As such, companies like AT&T and Comcast actually really liked the rules, because, from their perspective, they effectively "settled the conversation," but in the process didn't even cover the biggest emerging technology in the history of the Internet (wireless), and generally allowed all manner of shenanigans provided ISPs were just clever enough with the presentation (or blamed the network congestion bogeyman).

But Verizon couldn't help itself and sued the FCC anyway, much to the chagrin of AT&T and Comcast. Verizon had hoped to strike a killing blow to FCC authority for years to come, but instead is almost single-handedly responsible for the agency's emboldened decision to now go the Title II route. Not just for its lawsuit, but thanks to a long history of anti-competitive Verizon behavior (remember their attempts to block GPS? Bluetooth? Tethering? Google Wallet?) repeatedly highlighting that the Internet and consumers really do need some form of codified protection from big red's relentless but clumsy ambition.

So it's more than a little amusing to see Verizon pout over at the company's policy blog about the FCC's decision to pursue tougher Title II-based rules when it's largely thanks to Verizon's actions:
"Heavily regulating the Internet for the first time is unnecessary and counterproductive. It is unnecessary because all participants in the Internet ecosystem support an open Internet, and the FCC can address any harmful behavior without taking this radical step."
Except the FCC tried to do that, and Verizon responded by suing them. Like AT&T and Comcast, Verizon makes it clear it would really prefer it if the public supported the net neutrality rules being proposed by Senator John Thune and Representative Fred Upton, in large part because the broadband industry wrote them to ensure they don't do anything useful. Verizon hopes you'll believe it when the company says it really just want to settle the issue "once and for all":
"Moreover, Congress is working on legislation that would codify open Internet rules once and for all. It is counterproductive because heavy regulation of the Internet will create uncertainty and chill investment among the many players -- not just Internet service providers -- that now will need to consider FCC rules before launching new services."
So basically Verizon sued to overturn weak neutrality rules that most on the ISP side of the aisle were happy with. Now Verizon really wants everybody to support the same kind of flimsy rules it originally sued to destroy, or the company will sue. Verizon's position on the issue has veered well past good humor and into a sort of painful surrealism.

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  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 5 Feb 2015 @ 6:14am

    Dear Verizon

    > Heavily regulating the Internet for the first time
    > is unnecessary and counterproductive.

    Heavily regulating the Internet for the first time
    would be unnecessary if you were doing your job.

    Your Job: to route packets closer to their destination.

    Not Your Job: inspecting them, 'prioritizing' them, mis-routing them, playing games with DNS, being the copyright cops for a private industry that has it's head so far . . . well, let's just say it's not your job to do anything but route packets.

    As for your lawsuit. Boo Hoo. You brought all of this on yourself.

    Sincerely,

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

    • identicon
      andyroo, 5 Feb 2015 @ 10:56am

      Re: Dear Verizon

      Their greed came back to bite them very hard in the butt and i am happy abut that.

      The only reason they should be able to differentiate themselves from other isps should be the speed they sell and the price and the lack of caps for those poor soles that have them.

      There is no reason they should be allowed to sell their services on top of internet connectivity unless people want to buy them, If i want a clean 1gb connection to browse then i should be able to get it.
      I don't want to have to purchase phone connections and tv channels and other services they force onto consumers.

      hopefully this solves that but i am suspicious, this has been too easy and their are too many loopholes.

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 5 Feb 2015 @ 6:15am

    Self awareness has no place in this battle Karl. They plaid a risky card back them to make the FCC go for good and lost pretty big. I'm sure they could go with the rules proposed but they wanted less regulation and free pass with the FCC out of the way to screw customers and milk those with no choice dry of their money.

    So it's not really a surprise or surreal. It's more of the same. They are fighting for what will benefit them the most and now the riskiest card (lawsuits) may be the only way to *TRY* to get a better scenario.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2015 @ 6:31am

    Verizon wants it's cake and ice cream too.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2015 @ 6:40am

    Hey Verizon: Careful what you wish for...

    You sued over already pathetic regulations and now its coming back to bite you in the ass. Title II is closer than ever and its well past time.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2015 @ 7:45am

      Re:

      Yup. Wheeler played nice and Verizon, in its greed, sued, stopping Wheeler from taking an easy-loophole step.

      Now, he gets to play D-grade hardball. And AT&T, Comcrap et al are pissed at Verizon for it.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 5 Feb 2015 @ 6:42am

    I'm confused.

    In the title, you say that their 'last tiny shred of credibility' died. How does something that never existed in the first place die? It's like losing something you never had, you just can't do it.

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

  • identicon
    Reality bites, 5 Feb 2015 @ 6:44am

    If verizon doesn't like the FCC they will close them.

    Corporations always get their way and your money.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2015 @ 6:49am

    "all participants in the Internet ecosystem support an open Internet"
    And that's why we're completely against any sort of rules that try to enforce an open Internet!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2015 @ 6:51am

    It's amazing how their behavior is not unlike a spoiled child's behavior who suddenly ran face first into a parent that realized the error of their ways and has decided to put their foot down.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2015 @ 7:16am

    Bah...

    No matter who 'wins' this, the lawyers get richer...

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

  • icon
    yankinwaoz (profile), 5 Feb 2015 @ 7:19am

    WDJ Editorial

    In today's Wall Streek Journal editorial page, top letter from the WSJ was bitching about this move by the FCC and how terrible it was for the American way of business.

    I stopped reading it about half way through. Yes, they have a good point, that government rules always add friction. And in an ideal world, we would not have them.

    But the rest of the editorial was the same old BS. It works perfect now! Why are we breaking it then? No company would dare piss off if its customers by implementing discrimination (despite all evidence to the contrary).

    Man that letter ticked me off. I guess when Verizon buys full page ads in your paper, they get to write the editorials.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 5 Feb 2015 @ 7:26am

      Re: WDJ Editorial

      "Yes, they have a good point, that government rules always add friction."

      That's right, but when that friction is making it harder for companies to abuse the public, then it's a good thing.

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

      • icon
        OldMugwump (profile), 5 Feb 2015 @ 10:13am

        Re: Re: WDJ Editorial

        And yet again we introduce new rules and regulations to ease the symptoms instead of addressing the disease.

        If we allowed real, open competition in the provision of telecoms, Verizon would never have been able to get away with this bullshit - their customers would have walked away.

        But we let VZ and their cronies write the rules to keep out competitors. So now when they abuse their quasi-monopoly we write more rules telling them not to do that.

        I have a feeling this is going to end badly.

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

        • icon
          John Fenderson (profile), 5 Feb 2015 @ 10:37am

          Re: Re: Re: WDJ Editorial

          Yes indeed. I think we would all prefer an actual competition in this space (well, all of us who aren't the telecoms), but the odds of that happening are infinitesimal so we need to find other solutions.

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 5 Feb 2015 @ 7:26am

      Re: WDJ Editorial

      I guess when Verizon buys full page ads in your paper, they get to write the editorials.

      Isn't the WSJ generally pro-big business? I don't read it but my impression is they don't need outside help to promote those interests.

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

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 5 Feb 2015 @ 8:38am

      Re: WDJ Editorial

      Yes, they have a good point, that government rules always add friction. And in an ideal world, we would not have them.

      In an ideal world big corporations also don't use their financial power to kill competition and screw their customers.

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

  • icon
    Oblate (profile), 5 Feb 2015 @ 7:22am

    Verizon is really trying here...

    It seems like Verizon is trying to make me actually want to switch to Comcast (those being the two pathetic choices we have for internet/cable here). Seeing stuff like this actually makes me want to ditch cable and wired internet and go all wireless (i.e. no business with Verizon, but with another somewhat-less-evil corporation).

    I'd probably save a lot of money by ditching cable, too- it's mostly used for my wife to watch QVC.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2015 @ 9:45am

      Re: Verizon is really trying here...

      Out of curiosity, who are your options for wireless? I presume it's more than just re-branded Verizon and AT&T offerings? Sprint or T-Mobile maybe?

      Sprint would actually be a good option for wireless broadband, if you're in a location where you can get a strong signal.

      I have a feeling though that you're likely moving from one duopoly to another. Plus, wireless is great for streaming but not so great for ping times. If you're planning to do anything real-time over the internet, wired is still king.

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

      • icon
        retrogamer (profile), 5 Feb 2015 @ 9:49am

        Re: Re: Verizon is really trying here...

        Just adding to that, I find this whole situation hilarious as an American who has NO options for wireless. I have one wired option for anything that is not telephone, that being Time Warner.

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

      • icon
        Oblate (profile), 5 Feb 2015 @ 10:08am

        Re: Re: Verizon is really trying here...

        We actually do have Sprint for wireless, and although we're about a mile from a 4G tower according to their coverage map, we only get spotty 4G and decent 3G service at home. The other carriers probably use the same tower, so switching probably wouldn't provide any benefit. As much as I hate to admit it, Fios works well even if it is overpriced. And the cable company tombstone near our house is almost continuously left open exposing the interior to the elements, which probably doesn't have any positive effect on reliability. There's really no other good choice for now.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 5 Feb 2015 @ 9:58am

      Re: Verizon is really trying here...

      In my opinion, wireless broadband remains something that really isn't quite there yet. It's substantially worse than wired, but better than satellite (it mostly shares the same problems as satellite, but to a lesser degree.)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Feb 2015 @ 9:58am

    So Verizons argument is that they can't compete in the market if they have to treat their customers data fairly. Then they should die, fail, go away and let the corporate raiders distribute their parts far and wide.

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

  • identicon
    relghuar, 5 Feb 2015 @ 11:17am

    "Heavily regulating the internet"

    I'd really like to hear someone finally say it loud and clear:

    The ISPs are NOT THE FUCKING INTERNET!!!
    This regulation should actually make sure that ISPs themselves can't regulate the internet as they see fit :-/

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

  • identicon
    Zonker, 5 Feb 2015 @ 11:41am

    "Moreover, Congress is working on legislation that would codify open Internet rules once and for all. It is counterproductive because heavy regulation of the Internet will create uncertainty and chill investment among the many players -- not just Internet service providers -- that now will need to consider FCC rules before launching new services."
    That's strange because according to their own stock price after the FCC's announcement, investors seem to be thrilled with the new Title II rules. How is that "chilling investment"? If their stock went up so much with just the announcement, think of how far it will go up when the rules are actually implemented.

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

    • icon
      Karl Bode (profile), 5 Feb 2015 @ 12:43pm

      Re:

      Well and this is also a company that also just spent $10 billion at wireless auction, after their CFO basically admitted investment won't be impacted one way or the other by Title II (though he then backtracked after a stern talking to).

      I'm not sure who that "chilling investment" line is aimed at, since not even Verizon actually believes it.

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

  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 5 Feb 2015 @ 5:12pm

    ...the FCC can address any harmful behavior without taking this radical step.


    I wonder what their threshold for "harmful behavior" is.

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

  • identicon
    Dan G Difino, 6 Feb 2015 @ 9:50am

    Masses Have Unconstrained Power

    Until the masses who feed these giant conglomerates show everyone who's really the boss, the masses are going to continue to suffer at the hands of unconstrained greed and rule.

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

  • icon
    GEMont (profile), 9 Feb 2015 @ 4:32pm

    Credibility killed the Cat

    Well, I'm shocked, and frankly quite amazed.

    I really had no idea that Verizon had one Last Tiny Shred Of Credibility On Net Neutrality, left.

    I actually thought that Verizon believed that honesty and integrity were undesirable things that were both unprofitable and counter-productive and thus not a part of their corporate structure at all.

    Has anyone actually seen this "last tiny shred", cuz I think if it exists, its actually just a dead cat they dressed up to look like a bit of Credibility.

    ---

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


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