Net neutrality is DEAD. Get over it, Internet

Bend over, the FCC chair says so (between the lines)


The Federal Communications Commission chairman seems to be saying that network neutrality isn't going to happen. In a series of statements, Tom Wheeler appeared to be tough on the industry, but something doesn't quite add up.

Despite Internet Slowdown Day, American consumers are never going to get the open broadband networks other countries enjoy. So you'd better get used to it, people.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers read between the lines.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

Stephen Lawson has bad news for wireless providers:

The [FCC] is reexamining how it treats wireless net neutrality. ... Under the Net neutrality rules the FCC set in 2010...mobile operators were given more leeway to treat some streams of traffic differently.

Carriers should be allowed "reasonable network management" to ensure their networks run properly, but the FCC will hold them strictly to that definition...FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said.

[He] also signaled that the FCC will stand by its insistence on a U.S. mobile industry with four major providers [and] called on all mobile carriers to publicly commit to participating in the FCC's planned incentive auction, in which TV broadcasters will be encouraged to give up some of their spectrum.  

Grant Gross gives airtime to this not-at-all-self-serving viewpoint:

The [FCC] should resist calls to reclassify broadband as a regulated public utility as a way to enact strong net neutrality rules [said 33] broadband equipment manufacturers, including Cisco Systems, IBM and Intel...in a letter. “Because Title II allows for so little flexibility and innovation, it would undercut substantially the broadband providers’ incentives to make the investments necessary to fund network deployments and upgrades.”

Reclassifying broadband as a regulated common carrier would hurt the U.S. economy and would “create unnecessary obstacles” to broadband deployment and adoption, the letter said.  

The FCC's Tom Wheeler explains himself:

Since becoming Chairman, I’ve spoken often about the importance of reviewing the FCC’s rules...and eliminating or modernizing [ones] that no longer make sense. There is no better example of an FCC rule that...deserves to be eliminated than our sports blackout rule. ... Clearly, the NFL no longer needs the government’s help to remain viable.

The sports blackout rule isn’t the only FCC rule in line for an update at this month’s meeting. I have circulated a rulemaking proposal that would [make] the regulatory approval process for satellite licenses easier and more efficient. [And] we continue to make steady progress toward implementing the first-ever incentive auction...to allow for more robust unlicensed service and efficient spectral use while protecting licensed users...to extend opportunities for innovative unlicensed use in the 600 MHz band, while preventing harmful interference.  

[Wait, he said nothing about net neutrality? -Ed.]

Exactly. You do the math. Gautham Nagesh returns to the main matter at hand:

Speaking at CTIA...in Las Vegas. Mr. Wheeler said his agency is seriously considering whether to apply the rules to wireless networks [which] ban broadband providers from blocking or slowing down individual websites, but open the door for them to cut deals with content companies for special access to consumers, like faster lanes. ... Net neutrality proponents have flooded the FCC with over 1.2 million comments this summer, most of them calling for the FCC to ban special deals.

Wheeler said the FCC has “specifically recognized that there have been significant changes in the mobile marketplace since 2010,” such as the spike in mobile data use and the deployment of faster, next-generation wireless networks. [He] also voiced concern about wireless carriers throttling or slowing down the connections of heavy data users [on] unlimited data plans. “We are very concerned about the possibility that some customers are being singled out for disparate treatment even though they have paid for the capacity.”  

Meanwhile, Maggie Reardon brings up the rear: [You're fired -Ed.]

Wheeler's comments and warnings come as many consumer advocates accuse him of being a shill for the broadband and wireless industries his agency is tasked with regulating [so] he is making a series of speeches to let the industries he regulates and the public know that he will be tough on them.

Wheeler said he believes that wireless operators and other broadband providers are sincere in stating they also want an open Internet.  

Did you get that last point? Read it again. Your humble blogwatcher reacts thuswise:



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