Last updated: February 17, 2011 - 9:44am
[Commentary] What's worse than the thousands of pages of rhetoric and willful misunderstanding contained in the network neutrality comments that were submitted to the Federal Communications Commission while it spent more than a year setting its network neutrality rules? Watching Congress express the same grandstanding and willful misunderstanding of the order for more than three hours. It’s nauseating, and less fun even than reading pitches for the latest GroupOn clone.
Here are the only three things worth noting from the hearing:
- FCC Chairman Genachowski said the Level 3 and Comcast debate over access to Comcast’s last mile subscribers is a business issue and not a net neutrality issue. For the implications of this fight, refer back to our previous coverage.
- FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell resurrected the ghost of unlicensed white spaces and set it up as a competitive threat to existing ISPs. He then used that threat of eventual competition to argue we no longer need net neutrality rules. I tend to agree that if we had robust broadband competition, we wouldn't need network neutrality, but according to McDowell, white spaces aren't dead. If they aren't dead, that’s important.
- The FCC will keep the docket open on its effort to reclassify broadband, which would give the FCC the legal authority under existing laws regulate broadband as a transportation service (the so-called Title II authority). This is a good thing for network neutrality fans, as the existing net neutrality rules will likely be challenged in court, and keeping that docket open leaves a back door for the FCC to implement rules. However, the industry hates the idea of reclassification and will fight it tooth and nail. It also means more hearings, comments and arguments over the entire issue.
- Network Neutrality and Internet Regulation: Warranted or More Economic Harm than Good?
- Was Google’s Fiber Plan Just Saber Rattling?
- Get Congress Out of the Network Neutrality Debate, Please
- Yes, We’re Still Talking About Network Neutrality
- CISPA panic may be premature
- What the Network Neutrality Filings Say
- FCC Will Probe Managed Services As Part of Network Neutrality Push
- Transparency Is Good But Intelligence Is Better
- Governments & Startups Just Don't Mix
- Net Neutrality -- Spring Sweeps or Last Seasonâ€™s Rerun?
- Smart TVs cause a network neutrality debate in South Korea
- Say it with me now. Data caps are about profits, not recovering fixed costs
- Bait and switch: What’s behind AT&T’s stance on FaceTime?
- Even if carriers don’t like network neutrality, their investors should
- Ready, set, sue! Network Neutrality rules almost official