Originally published: December 1, 2010
Last updated: December 2, 2010 - 11:18pm
[Commentary] So how is it that, five years after network neutrality grudgingly came into being as the pathetic shard of oversight salvaged from the total deregulation of broadband, it now utterly dominates the telecom policy landscape and will not die? And why hasn't it actually passed? Because the Internet, once the network of networks, is now the platform of platforms.
The idea of “convergence” where everything in media and telecom policy that used to take place in separate silos — voice, video, wireless policy, you name it — came true. It all revolves around the Internet. This ensures two very important things: 1) No matter how good carriers try to behave, they will inevitably step on a lot of industry toes, and 2) without a rule, there is no good way for anyone to get on with their lives. As a result, when something like the Comcast-Level 3 fight comes up, it becomes a major donnybrook that paralyzes everyone. It’s too big and potentially important to ignore, but there is no orderly way to resolve it — or even to establish what is actually going on. So everything grinds to a halt while parties publicly posture and all the other ISPs sit on the sidelines and wait to see how customers and regulators react.
Between now and December 21, all sides will be pushing as hard as they can to shape a final rule. Carriers will do what they can to broaden loopholes and undercut the enforcement mechanisms while trying to make sure that network neutrality supporters cannot get stronger rules. Network neutrality supporters will be doing the opposite — trying to close loopholes and prevent the proposed rules from getting even weaker. Because the Republicans have locked themselves into opposition, the real question is how far the three Democrats are willing to go, which depends in large part on what the public blow-back is from both sides and how the internal knife-fighting comes out.
- We Need a Network Neutrality Rulemaking Not A Backroom Deal
- Telecom Bill Appears Dead For Year
- Will The Senate Save the Internet?
- From Google and Verizon, a path to an open Internet
- A telecom veteran, Baker stands firm on network neutrality, spectrum plan
- Sen Brown undecided on network neutrality vote
- FCC chair prefers to keep framework for broadband unchanged: sources
- Telecom tussle over public safety
- Don't Neutralize Video Franchise Reform
- Following the Carter Model on Net Neutrality
- Google offers "Facts about our network neutrality policy proposal"
- South Korean ambassador touts network neutrality policies
- We Believe in America, Telecommunications, and the Internet
- Sen Hutchison calls for Senate to repeal FCC’s network neutrality rules
- Gloves off, telecom giants to FCC: It's on!