Light Reading
Net neutrality proponents claim Wheeler has betrayed the free and open Internet by advancing plans to allow premium broadband services.

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
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. 

 
FakeMitchWagner
100%
0%
FakeMitchWagner,
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: Moderator
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. 

 
FakeMitchWagner
100%
0%
FakeMitchWagner,
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   >   >>
Flash Poll
LRTV Documentaries
Sprint's Network Evolution

7|24|14   |   14:59   |   (0) comments


Sprint's Jay Bluhm gives a keynote speech at the Big Telecom Event (BTE) about Sprint's network and services evolution strategy, including Spark.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE Keynote: The Software-Defined Operator

7|24|14   |   18:43   |   (1) comment


Deutsche Telekom's Axel Clauberg explains the concept of the software-defined operator to the Big Telecom Event (BTE) crowd.
Light Reedy
Numbers Are In: LR's 2014 Salary Survey

7|24|14   |   1:25   |   (3) comments


Our fourth annual Salary Survey paints a picture of who's hiring, firing, earning, and yearning for a change in the telecom industry.
LRTV Custom TV
Driving the Network Transformation

7|23|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


Intel's Sandra Rivera discusses network transformation and how Intel technologies, programs, and standards body efforts have helped the industry migration to SDN and NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed NFV-Based Business Services by RAD

7|18|14   |   5:38   |   (0) comments


With the ETSI-approved Distributed NFV PoC running in the background, RAD's CEO, Dror Bin, talks about why D-NFV makes compelling sense for service providers, and about the dollars and cents RAD is putting behind D-NFV.
LRTV Custom TV
MRV Accelerating Packet Optical Convergence

7|15|14   |   6:06   |   (0) comments


Giving you network insight to make your network smarter.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV-Enabled Ethernet for Generating New Revenues

7|15|14   |   5:49   |   (0) comments


Cyan's Planet Orchestrate allows service providers and their end-customers to activate software-based capabilities such as firewalls and encryption on top of existing Ethernet services in just minutes.
LRTV Custom TV
Symkloud NVF-Ready Video Transcoding, Big Data

7|9|14   |   3:41   |   (0) comments


Kontron and ISV partner Vantrix demonstrate high-performance video transcoding and data analytic solutions on same 2U standard platform that is ready for SDN and NFV deployments made by mobile, cable and cloud operators.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Evolving Role of Hybrid Video for Competitive Success

7|4|14   |   4:09   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's Global Analysts Summit in Shenzhen, China, Steven C. Hawley from TV Strategies speaks to us about the evolving role of hybrid video for competitive success.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
How CSPs Leverage Big Data in the Digital Economy

7|4|14   |   4:48   |   (2) comments


Justin van der Lande from Analysys Mason shares with us his views on how telecom operators can leverage customer asset monetization with big data. His discusses the current status of big data applications and the challenges and opportunities for telecom operators in the digital economy era.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerator for Digital Business Future Oriented BSS

7|4|14   |   3:08   |   (0) comments


Mobile and internet are becoming intertwined; IT and CT are integrating; and leading CSPs have begun to transform to information service and entertainment providers. How should the BSS system evolve to enable this transformation? Karl Whitelock, an analyst at Frost & Sullivan, shares his views.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Orange Tunisia Discusses Multi-Band Antenna With EasyRET Solution

7|4|14   |   2:45   |   (0) comments


As new site acquisition becomes more difficult, Orange Tunisia has requested multi-band antenna to support UMTS and LTE innovation. Some things considered include reducing the cost of antenna maintenance and having high reliability antenna and EasyRET solution.
Upcoming Live Events!!
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
September 16, 2014, Santa Clara, CA
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
Allot's latest MobileTrends Charging Report shows that value-based pricing plans are up from 35% in 2011 to 85% in 2014.
Today's Cartoon
Vacation Special Caption Competition Click Here
Latest Comment
Hot Topics
The Municipal Menace?
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, 7/22/2014
Cisco Puts a Fog Over IoT
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 7/23/2014
GM: 10 Car Models on Road With AT&T's LTE
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 7/18/2014
Apple Earnings: Strong iPhone Sales, iPad Sales Slump, $7.8B Profit
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 7/22/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed