Broadband

by Karl Bode


Filed Under:
congress, fcc, laws, net neutrality

Companies:
at&t



AT&T Continues Its Bullshit Sales Pitch For A Fake Net Neutrality Law

from the zero-credibility dept

While Verizon, Comcast and AT&T may have convinced the FCC to repeal net neutrality, they've still got a steep, uphill climb before they can be comfortable that the repeal is on solid footing, meaning we still have some time before they begin taking full anti-competitive advantage. The FCC's repeal still needs to survive a wall of legal challenges from consumer groups, Mozilla, and nearly half the states in the union. From there, ISPs need to ensure that a future FCC or Congress doesn't just pass new, tougher rules all over again.

That's why Verizon, Comcast and AT&T are all now pushing for a new "net neutrality law" in name only. While the same ISPs that gutted these popular consumer protections insist they're just interested in "putting this contentious issue to bed," the reality is they want a law that pre-empts any future federal or state attempts to protect consumers. As usual, they've managed to get industry marionettes like Martha Blackburn behind the legislative push. Since they've long since demolished any credibility on this subject, there's been little traction in these legislative efforts so far.

But with the power they wield over Congress, they remain dedicated to the cause all the same, and they know full well that many of these kinds of legislative efforts are won by brutal repetition. Enter AT&T, who this week penned yet another blog post insisting that they really love net neutrality just like you!:

"So, today is another “Day of Action” for net neutrality advocates across the United States. We are supporting today’s Day of Action just as we did last summer’s Day of Action. But also like last summer, we support real action – actual legislation from Congress that places the pillars of net neutrality into law and applies those pillars across the internet for the benefit of all consumers.

Except the "real action" AT&T wants is little more than a head fake. AT&T's definition of "real action" involves throwing campaign contributions at Congress in exchange for a Congressional "solution" it knows its lawyers will literally be writing. Said law will ban things ISPs never had any intention of doing (the outright blocking of websites), but include so many loopholes as to be effectively meaningless. Again, the goal isn't passing real net neutrality protections -- it's to prevent real, comprehensive protections from being passed later.

A federal law would also pre-empt all of the numerous, state level measures currently winding through state legislatures across half of the States in the nation. Large ISPs convinced their BFF Ajit Pat to include pre-emption language attempting to ban states from protecting consumers in the wake of federal oversight apathy, but that effort rests on pretty shaky and relatively untested legal ground, and ISP lawyers know it.

And amusingly, while AT&T's version of "consumer protections" would be little more than a giant legislative middle finger aimed at consumers, AT&T's Bob Quinn acts as if trying to buy a hollow net neutrality law is some kind of altruistic act:

"We received criticism from a certain corner of this debate last year for our support of the Day of Action and I expect we will hear from those same folks again today. But no matter what some of the advocates argue, AT&T has supported enforceable net neutrality rules that do not crush investment incentives for over 10 years; there is nothing weak about them. The simple reality is that we won’t achieve those rules unless and until Congress acts. So, for today’s Day of Action, we reiterate our call for a Federal Consumer Bill of Rights that provides consumers with openness, transparency and privacy protections no matter where they go on the internet."

You'd be pretty hard pressed to find a company (outside of Verizon and Comcast) that has less credibility on the subject of consumer welfare than AT&T. After all, this is the same company that in the last few years has been fined for ripping off the hearing impaired, helping drug dealers run a directory assistance scam, ripping off a program intended to help the poor, and for actively making their bills harder to understand to help scammers and crammers. AT&T's the company you go to if you want tips on protectionism, the NSA's favorite foods, and regional monopolies, not consumer protection.

Regardless, expect AT&T's push for a new law to continue gaining momentum in the new year as incumbent ISPs grow increasingly nervous about their legal chances in the looming court case. A case that's going to repeatedly highlight all of the shady nonsense that occurred as the FCC rushed to repeal popular consumer protections solely to benefit a handful of telecom monopolies like AT&T.


Reader Comments

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  • icon
    orbitalinsertion (profile), 28 Feb 2018 @ 11:13am

    Dear Autocorrect: Marsha

    Yeah, AT&T always goes all out when they try to sell the bullshit. Remember the pro-merger spots with children and fireflies? That was cute too.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 11:24am

    everyone hates the phone company

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 12:03pm

      Re:

      Are you calling them Bad Company? Well, they say you just "Can't Get Enough" of your love!

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

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 28 Feb 2018 @ 2:42pm

      Re:

      everyone hates the phone company

      Yes, and almost always for a very good reason. Those who don't hate the phone company either haven't had to deal with it, or are rich and get special treatment (as numerous articles have detailed).

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

    • identicon
      AnnaMouse, 28 Feb 2018 @ 3:01pm

      Re:

      AT&T is really just re-named trash Southern Bell/SBC so it is hard to be surprised they do the things they do.
      And as I recall, Southern Bell/SBC bought ATT in 2005 so they could re-brand themselves and hide their horrible reputation behind a name that was less disreputable. Fancy that..

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

      • icon
        orbitalinsertion (profile), 28 Feb 2018 @ 3:20pm

        Re: Re:

        They bought up a lot of the other Baby Bells or their successor outfits, as well as AT&T.

        It's far worse than when the original AT&T owned everything, plus they provide exactly zero innovation and research. We had a short honeymoon.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 12:03pm

    Soo....

    businesses do like regulations despite the usual accusation around here that they don't!

    Reverse psychology works so very well on you guys when it runs afoul of your dogmatic principals.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 12:10pm

      Re: Soo....

      It has been discussed here over and over again the difference between the regulations that businesses businesses and their profits, and regulation that protects the consumer, like net neutrality. Obviously businesses like the first, and hate the second. Most people here understand nuance, but you appear not to.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 12:29pm

      Re: Soo....

      Something something, vague, generalistic.

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

    • identicon
      Will B., 28 Feb 2018 @ 1:05pm

      Your daily reminder:

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

      • identicon
        Will B., 28 Feb 2018 @ 1:06pm

        Re: Your daily reminder:

        ...for gods' sakes. Hit the enter button instead of shift, and it posted a blank comment. TECHDIRT, GET AN EDIT BUTTON!

        Anyways, yes. Your daily reminder: Don't feed the trolls, guys.

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

        • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 1:42pm

          Re: Re: Your daily reminder:

          You mean, please lets have an echo chamber at TD? Anyone caught not conforming to "group think" is nothing other than a troll?

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

          • icon
            orbitalinsertion (profile), 28 Feb 2018 @ 3:22pm

            Re: Re: Re: Your daily reminder:

            No, there is a clear difference between a person with different or directly opposing ideas, and trolls. I find much of the commentariat here is pretty well aware of the distinction.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 3:28pm

            Re: Re: Re: Your daily reminder:

            Oh please chip. Not only are you a troll. You’re one with zero self awareness who isn’t particularly good at it.

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

    • identicon
      Valkor, 28 Feb 2018 @ 3:08pm

      Re: Soo....

      It's simple enough, even for you:
      Businesses like regulations that help them and harm their competitors.
      (look up Regulatory Capture)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 12:28pm

    I guess it's always been this way since we gained sentience. The human fallback is to obfuscate and misdirect until you get what you want. The world has always been a shitty place, technology just allows it to do damage more quickly.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Feb 2018 @ 5:26pm

    If they want to write the laws themselves i say let them... Just one little caveat. Any loophole found or double speak hidden on the law will imediately result in a repeal of the law and all participating corporations on this fiasco will agree in a legally binding way to be broken up in no less that 6 separate entities each much like it was done with old bell never to consolidate again. If they truly love net neutrality they will have nothing to fear... if they don't then they better shut the hell up.

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

  • icon
    Rob Speed (profile), 28 Feb 2018 @ 5:31pm

    Here I was expecting the article to have some actual actual information about said "fake net neutrality law". Silly me, I keep forgetting that it's all about emotion.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 28 Feb 2018 @ 5:51pm

      Re:

      Third link in the article leads to a previous article covering Blackburn's 'fake network neutrality law'.

      Or put another way, they've already covered one attempt, this particular article is focused on the gross dishonesty of AT&T in trying to claim that they are just so very concerned about the public and want a bill in place to 'clarify' things.

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

    • identicon
      Thad, 1 Mar 2018 @ 10:43am

      Re:

      Here I was expecting this comment to make some kind of actual actual actual actual actual actual argument attempting to refute the contents of said article. Silly me, I keep forgetting that it's all about smug one-liners.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Mar 2018 @ 10:56am

    Martha should be Marsha

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


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