& cplSiteName &

FCC's 'Middle Ground' Already Under Attack

Carol Wilson
4/24/2014
50%
50%

The reactions to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) 's new net neutrality proposals have been swift and predictable even though those proposals haven't even been formally announced yet.

In advance of the expected announcement today, multiple news outlets are reporting that Chairman Tom Wheeler is circulating a proposal that seeks a middle ground. It would allow broadband ISPs to offer premium access to companies that want to carve out guaranteed high-speed bandwidth for their services, as long as such access was commercially available to all on reasonable terms.

Just the fact that anyone would be able to pay for premium services is drawing howls of protest and claims that both President Obama and Wheeler are reneging on their support for a free and open Internet. (See Wheeler Writes Regulatory Rubric and Wheeler Walks Line on Net Neutrality.)

In a Common Cause press release, former FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, now a special adviser to Common Cause's Media and Democracy Reform Initiative, said: "If true, this proposal is a huge step backwards and must be stopped. If the Commission subverts the Open Internet by creating a fast lane for the 1 percent and slow lanes for the 99 percent, it would be an insult to both citizens and to the promise of the Net."

The Wall Street Journal, which broke the story Wednesday , claims the winners in the net neutrality wars would be the broadband ISPs, who would be able to make money selling services to both consumers and content providers, and larger content companies such as Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), and Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX), who can pay more to make sure their content reaches consumers with higher quality. (See Netflix CEO Wants 'Strong' Net Neutrality .)

But broadband providers, many of whom are announcing financial results this week, are being more measured in their responses.

"We have to see what's ultimately embedded in the proposal," said Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) Chairman & CEO Rob Marcus. "At this stage, it's difficult to speculate until we know what's contemplated.”

Asked about possible new business models for offering Internet video content, Marcus said it was "premature" to discuss. "We'll have to see what new business models emerge," he said.

The new rules were made necessary by a January court ruling that struck down the FCC's previous rules in a challenge brought by Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ). According to the Journal, the FCC would require broadband ISPs to disclose more information about their networks and would retain the right to decide on a case-by-case basis on the fairness and reasonableness of the commercial terms broadband ISPs have set. (See Net Neutrality Fight Not Over.)

UPDATE 11.30 AM EST: FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is "setting the record straight" in a blog you can read here , in which he says the FCC's proposal to be circulated today would set "a high bar" for what is commercially reasonable. In addition, he says the agency will solicit other approaches to preventing "behavior harmful to consumers or competition by limiting the openness of the Internet."

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(31)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 4   >   >>
Ray@LR
100%
0%
Ray@LR,
User Rank: Blogger
4/24/2014 | 12:26:07 PM
Lobbyists
I wonder how much in lobby funds has gone into this?
sam masud
100%
0%
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/24/2014 | 1:09:49 PM
Stick a fork in it
I'm betting the days of the open Internet are numbered. The FCC will triangulate and allow a fast lane, and then tell us the change is to ensure the Net stays open (sort of a variation of the Supreme's logic that money is free speech).
RitchBlasi
0%
100%
RitchBlasi,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/24/2014 | 2:54:02 PM
FCC
I guess likening this to paying for a first class ticket for the same flight is out of the question?

 
Carol Wilson
0%
100%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
4/24/2014 | 3:00:01 PM
Re: Stick a fork in it
I'm as tired of the polarizing talk about Net Neutrality as I am the polarizing talk around Obamacare, immigration reform and deficit spending. 

This can't be an all-or-nothing thing - either the Internet is free and open OR broadband ISPs can develop premium services for OTT content. 

Beating up on the FCC is pointless - these aren't evil beings seeking to undermine the Internet, they are human beings looking for a logical solution to a difficult problem. 

Are they heavily lobbied by those with deep pockets? No doubt. I'm not entirely convinced that means they are incapable of consumer protection. But maybe I'm just being naive. 

 
Mitch Wagner
100%
0%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/24/2014 | 3:41:54 PM
Fundamental arguments
The fundamental arguments against preferential treatment are:

- It makes it harder for the next YouTube, Facebook, or Netflix to go into business, as they basically have to ask permission from service providers before reaching a noticeable size. 

- Consumers don't have choice because if you want a new service provider, you have to move. The overwhelming majority of Americans can get broadband from zero, one, or two providers. If they have two providers to choose from, one -- likely the cable company -- is far faster than the other. 

Are these arguments wrong?
Carol Wilson
0%
100%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
4/24/2014 | 4:09:29 PM
Re: Fundamental arguments
Mitch,

I'm well aware of the fundamental arguments in favor of Net Neutrality.  There are arguments against it as well. For example:

The way networks work today, companies such as Netflix already pay more to have their content distributed close to the consumer on the fat pipes of CDNs - the new rules would only apply to the last mile networks. The argument can be made, and is, that allowing premium content services to traverse that last mile would give consumers access to higher quality content at more reliable speeds than today's best-effort Internet. 

Broadband service providers also make the argument that upgrading their networks to meet demand isn't free, and if the demand is being generated by OTT services that pay nothing for access, where is the financial incentive for them to upgrade? Unless the only answer is asking the consumer to pay more?

I'm sure that will make everyone happy. 

I'm not trying to take sides here, just state the arguments as I've heard them posed, for more than a decade now. The NN crowd didn't even see the FCC proposals before shooting them down. 
Carol Wilson
0%
100%
Carol Wilson,
User Rank: Blogger
4/24/2014 | 4:22:12 PM
Re: Fundamental arguments
Here is what Wheeler notes in his blog:

 

To be clear, this is what the Notice will propose:
  1. That all ISPs must transparently disclose to their subscribers and users all relevant information as to the policies that govern their network;
  2. That no legal content may be blocked; and
  3. That ISPs may not act in a commercially unreasonable manner to harm the Internet, including favoring the traffic from an affiliated entity.

I think it's at least worth a discussion and not all the moaning, groaning and wailing that has gone on in response to the WSJ account.
sam masud
100%
0%
sam masud,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/24/2014 | 4:23:04 PM
Re: FCC
I think that's comparing apples to oranges. Air travel was not created so all could travel by air. By contrast, content on the Net was/is there for anyone who has access to it, either via dial-up or broadband.
futurephil
50%
50%
futurephil,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/24/2014 | 4:24:58 PM
Re: Stick a fork in it
I think you might find my most recent podcast refreshing. Martin Geddes and I discuss why both sides of the net neutrality debate need to agree that networks are trading spaces and time and quality are the most important measurements of those trades. 

We also discuss the second act of the musical "Oklahoma!," because there's an analogy that Geddes uses that really works. 

 
Mitch Wagner
100%
0%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/24/2014 | 4:26:33 PM
Re: Fundamental arguments
I'm not taking sides either, just trying to get a better understanding of the problem. 

My philosophy here -- as with some of the other hot-button political issues you listed -- is that there is no shortage of people eager to jump in and take sides on these issues, and there is a shortage of people trying to figure things out. 

How do you preserve innovation -- leave openings for the next YouTube or Netflix -- if the incumbents (the current YouTube or Netflix) have been able to raise the price as a barrier to newcomers?
Page 1 / 4   >   >>
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Let's Get Past SD-WAN Hype

6|23|17   |   04:02   |   (0) comments


Technology becomes a "shiny object" unless it's properly focused on solving business needs for enterprise customers, says Bill Grubbs, network solutions architect for CenturyLink. He explains to Light Reading why SD-WAN deployments have to be tailored to specific needs – and more.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera's Sales Director Paints Tech's Big Picture

6|21|17   |   4:14   |   (1) comment


Shannon Williams, Infinera's director of sales, shares how she achieves work's many balancing acts -- between her role and the broader company, today and tomorrow's tech and more.
LRTV Custom TV
SD-WAN Innovation & Trends

6|20|17   |     |   (0) comments


Versa CEO Kelly Ahuja discusses with Carol Wilson the current status and trends in the SD-WAN market, Versa's innovation around building a software platform with broad contextualization, and the advantages that startups can bring to the SD-WAN market.
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Dario Talmesio on 5G in Europe

6|20|17   |   02:16   |   (0) comments


At 5G World 2017, Dario Talmesio, principal analyst and practice leader on Ovum's fixed and mobile telecoms European team, explains the emerging trends amongst European operators as they prepare for 5G.
LRTV Custom TV
Putting Power on a Pedestal

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


ARRIS's John Ulm says a major accomplishment of SCTE•ISBE's Energy 2020 program is increased focus on power cost and consumption, including inclusion of energy requirements in operators' RFPs and RFIs.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit Access: The Last-Mile Pipe for All Future Services

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


A Gigabit access platform being deployed today must be able to deliver all types of services to an increasing number of devices. A non-blocking architecture is necessary to support the ever-increasing growth in bandwidth demand. The Huawei Gigabit access solution is based on a distributed design that is fully scalable to deliver a unprecedented performance.
LRTV Custom TV
Key Factors to Successfully Deploy an SD-WAN Service

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


As service providers transition their SD-WAN solution from trials and limited deployments into production at large scale, there are important considerations to successfully operationalize these solutions and realize their full potential, without adding complexity, introducing uncertainty or disrupting current business operations. Sunil Khandekar, CEO and Founder ...
LRTV Custom TV
IoT Solutions: Rational Exuberance

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


IoT solutions are morphing from hype into viable business opportunities. Huawei has the platform and ecosystem support to help carriers successfully address new business opportunities in the IoT space.
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing ICN as a Network Slice for Mobile Data Distribution

6|19|17   |     |   (1) comment


Network slicing in 5G allows the potential introduction of new network architectures such as Information-centric Networks (ICN) as a slice, managed over a shared pool of compute, storage and bandwidth resource. Services over an ICN slice can benefit from many architectural features such as Name Based Networking, Security, Multicasting, Multi-homing, Mobility, ...
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Mike Roberts on 5G Uptake

6|19|17   |   04:08   |   (0) comments


Mike Roberts, research director for Ovum's service provider markets group, explains why he has boosted his 5G subscriptions forecast.
LRTV Interviews
AT&T's Hubbard on Intersection of SD-WAN & MPLS

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Rick Hubbard, SVP of Network Product Management for AT&T Business Solutions, discusses how AT&T's approach to SD-WAN fits in with its overall virtualization strategy, explains how SD-WAN can improve enterprise customers' use of the cloud and addresses the intersection of SD-WAN and MPLS.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Keep Connected IoT Devices Under Control With Allot

6|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Allot AVP of International Pre-Sales, Daniel Keidar, explains how communications service providers can protect infrastructure and service availability from flooding attacks caused by malfunctioning or bot-infected devices connected to their network.
Upcoming Live Events
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Netflix's Lesson in Culture Expectation Settings
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
No Imagination: UK Chip Biz Goes Up for Sale
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/22/2017
Kalanick Steps Down as Uber CEO
Sarah Thomas, Director, Women in Comms, 6/21/2017
BT Tech Chief Makes Plea to 5G Chip Vendors
Ray Le Maistre, International Group Editor, 6/20/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.