Broadband

by Karl Bode


Filed Under:
fcc, net neutrality, states rights

Companies:
comcast, us telecom, verizon



Telecom Lobbyists Whine About State Net Neutrality Efforts They Helped Create

from the this-is-on-you dept

In the wake of the FCC's extremely-unpopular repeal of net neutrality, more than half the states in the country are now pursuing their own net neutrality rules. Some of these efforts are taking the form of actual legislation that closely mirrors the discarded FCC rules (as seen in Oregon and Washington), while others involve the creation of executive orders adjusting state policies to ban states from doing business with ISPs that engage in anti-competitive net neutrality violations. In most instances these rules carve out vast exemptions for "reasonable network management," only outlawing anti-competitive behavior.

ISPs have of course been quick to whine about the unfairness of having to adhere to 50 different rules governing net neutrality, even though most implementations closely mirror the FCC rules these same lobbyists just successfully killed. US Telecom, a lobbying organization primarily managed by AT&T, lamented the unfairness of this scenario in a conversation with the Washington Post:

"As we have cautioned repeatedly, we simply cannot have 50 different regulations governing [broadband],” said USTelecom, a major trade association for Internet providers. “It’s time for Congress to step up and enact legislation to make permanent and sustainable rules governing net neutrality."

So one, most of the state-level rules closely mirror the same rules the FCC is trying to eliminate, so most of them are fairly uniform. It's also worth pointing out that these companies already have to navigate a vast array of regulations governing phone, cable and broadband service -- rules that can often vary town by town. In other words, these net neutrality efforts aren't as uncommon, discordant and fractured as the telecom industry might have you believe.

Granted having disparate state-level protections may in some ways be cumbersome, but that's again something ISPs like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast should have thought a little harder about before killing extremely popular and modest (by international standards) federal protections. Large ISP lobbyists created this mess and, unsurprisingly, they're simply refusing to own it.

US Telecom is also being disingenuous in claiming to want "permanent and sustainable rules" via new legislation. As we've noted several times, what they really want is a net neutrality law they know they'll write. One that prohibits ISPs from doing things they never intended to do (like blocking websites entirely), while carving out vast loopholes allowing anti-competitive behavior on numerous other fronts (zero rating, interconnection). The real goal: pass flimsy legislation that pre-empts tougher state rules, or future efforts by the FCC or Congress to implement meaningful protections.

ISPs like Comcast and Verizon successfully lobbied the FCC to include language in its net neutrality repeal banning states from protecting consumers ("states rights" and all that). But the FCC's legal authority on this front is untested, setting up some interesting legal showdowns in the weeks and months to come. And while this too is going to generate ridiculous costs predominately in the form of billable hours, blame for this needs to be placed where it belongs: in the laps of ISP lobbyists and revolving door regulators that thought ignoring the facts and the public interest would be a wonderful idea.


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 6:53am

    So is Chip going to congratulate the rest of the planet for fucking up the telecom lobbyists' plans?

    Of course not. Anything and everything you do in Chip's eyes is nothing short of corporate-favoring failure.

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

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 8:04am

      Re:

      You mean good old paint chip? Haven't read one of his posts in a while.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 11:20am

        Re: Re:

        you guys do know that chip is just a troll account focused on one of my quotes about people getting the governments they deserve right?

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

        • icon
          The Wanderer (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 11:27am

          Re: Re: Re:

          You do know that the two people above were referring to the person whom the "Chip" persona is parodying, not to the person who posts under that name, right?

          (Or I'm reasonably sure they both were, and all but absolutely positive that at least one of them was.)

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 6:04pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Don't worry, you special snowflake. I was referring exactly to you.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 7:00am

    and dont forget to throw a good deal of blame and crap at the likes of Marsha Blackburn and John Kennedy for being so 'obliging' towards Comcast etc!!

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 7:14am

    It's like copyright morons, they won't be satisfied until everything is theirs. And when people start pushing back they will pout and whine like petulant kids. Monopolies.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 7:26am

    Because meme culture is a thing...

    https://i.imgur.com/aDrgHGn.png

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 8:19am

    ill say it for you americans

    "HEY TELCOMES!!!!"

    Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

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

  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 8:34am

    Hoi Techdirt, how is that whole Everyone vs FCC and/or the telecom business in general court cases going? I meant what's the current count and cases being presented. I kinda lost track.

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

  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 9:21am

    LMFTFT

    "we simply cannot have 50 different regulations governing"

    we simply do not want to have at least 50 different payments due to state lawmakers, we paid damn well for Pai & we refuse to pay more.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 11:25am

    ISPs "Waaa we don't want a federal agency ( FCC ) telling us what we can and can't do"

    So now that they are no longer overseen by a federal agency, states can make their own laws since there is nothing on the federal level to conflict.

    ISPs "Wait a minute what we REALLY meant was we don't want anybody to oversee us."

    Another cunning plan well thought out.

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 2:17pm

    Wait, this WASN'T the natural outcome the FCC was hoping for?

    That was the first thought that came to mind, not just have the states pass net neutrality laws, but rather pass it down to the counties, and make sure each one puts it in their own words and varies the regulatory standards a bit.

    Then Comcast can quintuple their legal department to make sure each region is operating legally.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 12 Mar 2018 @ 7:29pm

    "we simply cannot have 50 different regulations"

    Oh, you just won't "have" that, huh? I realize that you view yourselves as part of a ruling class over the dirty masses of the general public, but you will "have" what you get.

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 12 Mar 2018 @ 8:18pm

    "The only good regulation is a lack of."

    Based upon their actions so far I think it's not so much that they object to much to having to deal with fifty different sets of rules, it's that they might be subject to any rules at all that they themselves didn't write.

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

    • icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), 13 Mar 2018 @ 12:14pm

      Mickey's great "oh crap" moment

      I think big telecom was aiming to not be regulated at all, yes. And I suspect they really want the courts to say that the FCC can not only choose not to regulate in favor of the public, but can force the states to not do so as well.

      But now they chopped the animated broom to splinters, they're now watching in horror as each splinter reforms into a broom of its own.

      (cue Paul Dukas' bassoons)

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Mar 2018 @ 5:53pm

    This is the Greek Hydra effect of attempting to manipulate popular well-reasoned legislation. If you cut the head off of the federal law dozens of states sprout up there own legislation.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Copying Is Not Theft
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.