A Few Thoughts on Today’s FCC Vote

Posted by: Jim Cicconi on December 21, 2010 at 1:13 pm

For far too long, the question of net neutrality has hamstrung the FCC and prevented needed action on far more urgent, and real, problems.  Today’s vote, we trust, will put this issue behind us with a compromise that appears to balance major differences despite a number of lingering concerns.

We appreciate the views expressed publicly by Commissioners McDowell and Baker.  Theirs is, we feel, a position supported by the factual record in front of the Commission, and by law.  It would also be our preference, especially given the utter absence of any evidence that abuses are occurring in the Internet market, let alone any of the gravity to justify government intervention.

At the same time, we recognize the determination of the Chairman to move forward with a rulemaking.  In this circumstance, which is not ideal, our overarching concern is to bring market certainty so that investment and job creation can go forward, while ensuring that we can still meet the expectations of our customers.  Though a final view must await a careful reading of the FCC’s order, we believe the Chairman’s compromise can provide this certainty while taking steps to preserve flexibility for investment and innovation. 

In particular, we would like to commend Chairman Genachowski and his staff for seeking a fair middle ground in this contentious debate.  As we have seen in many issues, there are always radical voices urging heavy-handed government regulation and control of free markets.  Such voices have not been absent from the net neutrality debate despite their repudiation by the American public.

Too often, well-funded ideologues have used intimidation, vilification, and fear-mongering to advance their goal that government control the Internet and other forms of communication without regard for their impact on the jobs and livelihoods of millions already challenged by a difficult economy.  The Commission’s apparent rejection of such unfeeling dogma is an added reason to be heartened by today’s FCC vote.

Comments (2)

“Too often, well-funded ideologues have used intimidation, vilification, and fear-mongering to advance their goal that their way is the only way.” Just like AT&T and Verizon have done. Thanks for letting the public in on this guys. I think you all need to be broken up and sold off piece by piece.
It really is whoever has the deepest pockets writes the laws. The public has no say, and you big telcos just run rampant and do whatever you want with no regard at all to the consumer.

Mike Kloss December 22, 2010 at 12:14 pm

I was very upset with the FCC’s fake Net Neutrality rule which has loopholes allowing AT&T, Comcast and other companies to discriminate online. I shared the following comments with Comcast and will post them here on AT&T’s Public Policy Blog also.

I am not a Comcast customer but given Comcast’s predatory, abusive, illegal and evil actions that are immoral and should be illegal I wouldn’t want to be one. I am upset with the FCC for choosing to approve the merger with NBC Universal that will be disastrous for consumers — result in fewer choices, less competition more consolidation of big media etc. Given how AOL Time Warner merger backfired and how Time Warner Inc., even sold off Time Warner Cable well spun it off into an independent company why should a service provider like Comcast be allowed to merge with an entertainment company like NBC Universal which owns news channel MSNBC (a pro liberal media network) and considering the impact on retransmission agreements for NBC content with other pay TV providers why would this be a good deal for the public? Also given Comcast’s discriminatory and deceptive attempts to block Bit Torrent and now Netflix and given your company’s desire to kill the free and Open Internet and discriminate against online services — which would harm consumers and innovators (once providers can start picking favorites — and choose winners and losers smaller voices get squeezed out) the FCC passed a fake Net Neutrality rule recently that does not protect consumers and innovators well and exempts wireless services from nondiscrimination rules which is wrong.

It’s obvious by now that we cannot count on the government to protect us. whereas they should be breaking up comcast, de-bundling their phone, tv, internet, video on demand services from the cable laying business, they will surely do nothing to stop this merger.

Therefore I think it’s time to start to look at other avenues to pressure the likes of comcast, or these other big companies. The internet is all about peering, and sharing data and resources.

The users of the internet, and especially big networks that do not have any end user cable laying business, should band together and put the squeeze on those companies who would care not to be neutral anymore.

should comcast desire not to play fair, then why should they have the right to plug into the rest of the internet at all? once they are disconnected, even though they are a monopoly, their customers will drop like flies.

It was pressure like this that finally caused the likes of AOL to have to turn into a free add-on to being online, rather than a huge information blocking monopoly…

Also any service providers that take Universal Service Funds (USF) to build or expand their networks should have public interest obligations to not discriminate. This includes Ma Bell (AT&T) which never should have been allowed to re-constitute Ma Bell but was able to during the Bush Cheney years. If AT&T took USF funds their network should be treated as public property and belong to the government and to the public.

Maneesh Pangasa December 23, 2010 at 2:36 pm

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