from the careful-what-you-ask-for dept
Well-connected telco-beat reporter Dave Burstein is now claiming that this past weekend, the top broadband lobbyists finalized the deal on their version of net neutrality, with part of the deal being a back-scratcher promise to dump a bunch of money into the campaign coffers of Democrats this upcoming election season:
This weekend, uber-lobbyists Cicconi (AT&T), Tauke (Verizon) and McSlarrow (Cable) are at the FCC to make a final deal on net neutrality, Arbogast and Kaut report. Ivan Seidenberg has put enormous pressure on the White House to intervene, and the rumor is that chief of staff Rahm Emanuel is telling agencies to go along. Seidenberg, who has been to the White House 16 times,made a major D.C. speech suggesting that the business community would throw their money and power against the Democrats in the campaign. NN was one of the specific points he demanded.Now, as Burstein notes, this isn't "final," so things could change, but everyone should have seen this coming. Yes, network neutrality principles are important, but fighting for network neutrality and understanding how the political process works are two different things -- and it's been obvious for years that any attempt to enshrine net neutrality in the law would almost certainly be twisted by telco lobbyists.
Under pressure like that, Julius has already agreed to almost everything Cicconi really wants, including loopholes wide enough to carry 350 TV channels. K & A say there is still some opposition so that nothing is final and that the public interest groups are ready to assail Julius. Meanwhile, Verizon and Google are discussing a separate peace that will make the FCC irrelevant.
This one is about power and money, not principle. The likely outcome is an agreement that will allow everyone to say noble things, will allow Julius to look himself in the mirror, and will essentially have no substance.