In a move that can be securely placed in the “You don’t say?” file, internet providers have sent a letter to the FCC urging the agency not to reclassify broadband internet service as a Title II utility. The letter, which presumably can only be read after holding for eight to twelve minutes while repeatedly being told how important readers of the letter are to its authors, comes after FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced his revised proposal for net neutrality.
Get Me A Ticket for An Aeroplane, Ain’t Got Time to Take A Fast Train, the ISPs Wrote Me A Letter
Dated May 13, 2014 and signed by CEOs from Comcast, Time-Warner, Verizon, AT&T, and 24 other internet providers from across the United States, the letter maintains that, while such reclassification would give the FCC more regulatory power over ISPs, it would stifle innovation and lead to less money being invested in broadband networks. Ultimately, the letter states, this would hurt consumers’ internet experience, something that has long been fallen under the jurisdiction of the internet providers themselves.
The full letter can be read here.
New Net Neutrality Proposal Prompts Prose
Last weekend, Wheeler’s revised net neutrality proposal was unveiled (results of a planned commission vote are still pending at the time of this writing). The new proposal asks for public opinion on whether or not broadband should fall be governed by the same regulations as telephone service.
If such reclassification were approved, the FCC would gain the power to enforce net neutrality, the wacky, off-the-wall concept that all internet content should be equally accessible to all.
In their letter, which inexplicably pauses to buffer right when readers get to the good part, the internet providers claim that they want to work toward rules that would secure net neutrality, but that reclassification is not a viable solution.
“Such an action would greatly distort the future development of, and investment in, tomorrow’s broadband networks and services,” said the companies, while monthly payments from their millions of customers, often for hundreds of dollars each, piled up in their bank accounts.
Public-Interest Group: ISPs “Not Truly Committed”
Public Knowledge, a public-interest and digital-rights group, maintains that reclassification is necessary because internet providers are not truly committed to net neutrality. “In a world without reclassification, we inch closer and closer to paid prioritization on the internet,” said Public Knowledge spokesman Bartees Cox, Jr. in a statement.
“Some ISPs claim they are pro-net neutrality,” the statement continued, “but when the buck stops they are quick to allow paid prioritization, sponsored data agreements, and other anti-competitive measures that discourage competition and innovation on the web.”
- The LA Times: “Internet providers urge FCC not to reclassify broadband as a utility”
- PC World: “Big Cable, lawmaker question drive to classify broadband as a utility”