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.

Filed Under: fcc, net neutrality, open internet
Companies: verizon


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  1. 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.)

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