Feeds

'Big Internet' wades into 'net neutrality' battle with the FCC

We'd love Class II reclassification – but just not yet. Oh hang on

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Major internet companies have submitted their comments to the US Federal Communications Commission's consultation on new rules for internet discrimination and pricing – the so-called "net neutrality" consultation.

The Internet Association – which lobbies on behalf of Google, Amazon, Facebook and others including Reddit – said in its comments to the FCC [PDF] that it would mount a public campaign for its preferred vision of internet regulation, but wouldn't campaign for the reclassification of packet data services as old-school POTS-era regulations and obligations.

If the "net neutrality" campaign has any kind of coherent political goal in the US, then this is it.

Classifying broadband as a class II telecommunications service would bring regulations designed for the Bell monopoly to the broadband services market, and along with them, neutralists argue, greater control over the private agreements that broadband providers make.

Netflix recently struck an agreement with Comcast for faster and more reliable delivery of its popular internet streaming service, which accounts for one-third of peak time traffic in the USA. But Netflix didn't pay a "tax" to do so - it dropped the carrier it was using for a direct connection - and saved money doing so.

Since 1996, US data services providers have not been subject to such regulation, partly because packet data is different to switched networks - with a large dynamic wholesale market - and partly because the technology is still young, and Congress wants to encourage new entrants.

The FCC was given a mandate to increase broadband adoption, but that's about it.

FCC chairman is Tom Wheeler, and much of Congress is against Class II reclassification arguing that it wouldn't achieve anything strong business regulation can't already achieve.

Critics point out it would be likely to lock in today's Comcast/Verizon duopoly forever. It's doubtful whether the FCC has the authority to reclassify anyway, as this Verizon lawyer argues - this would require a revision to the 1996 Telecommunications Act. ®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.