FCC's Net Neutrality Decision Incites Backlash from Verizon and AT&T
The FCC voted Thursday morning in favor of enforcing a Net Neutrality stance that prevents Internet service providers from creating fast lanes, inciting a backlash from major telecommunications providers Verizon and AT&T.
The FCC voted 3-2 vote in favor of Chairman Tom Wheeler's proposal to reclassify the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, making it a public utility. Title II would also give the FCC authority to step in and regulate any broadband providers acting outside of public interest.
Although many provisions fall under the scope of Net Neutrality, one of the most hotly debated issues centers around the creation of Internet "fast lanes" where certain content is given priority over others. In layman's terms, it means a company like Netflix would be able to pay Internet service providers extra for bandwidth to ensure their website content doesn't get bogged down by other Internet traffic. The FCC's Net Neutrality decision goes against this.
Verizon almost immediately issued a scathing response to the decision, all in Morse code.
"The FCC's move is especially regrettable because it is wholly unnecessary. The FCC had targeted tools available to preserve an open Internet, but instead chose to use this order as an excuse to adopt 300- plus pages of broad and open- ended regulatory arcana that will have unintended negative consequences for consumers and various parts of the Internet ecosystem for years to come," reads Verizon's statement when translated.
AT&T wasn't pleased either. AT&T senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs Jim Coccini wrote of the decision's weaknesses.
"We have never argued there should be no regulation in this area, simply that there should be smart regulation," Coccini said in a company blog post. "What doesn't make sense, and has never made sense, is to take a regulatory framework developed for Ma Bell in the 1930s and make her great grandchildren, with technologies and options undreamed of eighty years ago, live under it."
Another problem with the decision, Coccini explains, is that the 3-2 vote leaves room for the changes to be undone easily. Not only does the close vote demand a continuing debate, he says, but it also means that a 3-2 vote in two years can render the current Net Neutrality ruling null.
"FCC decisions made without clear authorization by Congress (and who can honestly argue Congress intended this?) can be undone quickly by Congress or the courts," Coccini wrote. "This may suit partisans who lust for issues of political division, but it isn't healthy for the Internet ecosystem, for the economy, or for our political system. And, followed to its logical conclusion, this will do long-term damage to the FCC as well."
What do you think of the FCC's decision to reclassify the Internet as a public utility? Let us know in the comments section below.
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