Friday, May 8, the Federal Communication Commission denied petitioners including AT&T and CenturyLink the chance to delay opening Open Internet.
On Friday, May 8, the Federal Communications Commission categorically denied requests to halt any reclassification of Internet service providers as common carriers. The petitioners were industry leaders who disagreed with the Title II regulation in the Open Internet Order.
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However, the FCC believed the presented arguments do not meet criteria to reconsider any decisions on Net Neutrality. Tactic and attempt failed, although one commissioner didn't agree with the majority of the Committee.
Of course, the bigger questions are: who objected, why did they object, and why were they denied?
The groups and businesses looking to halt the introduction of a common carrier status and to face government regulation were United States Telecom Association (USTelecom), CTIA-The Wireless Association, AT&T Inc., the Wireless Internet Service Providers Association (WISPA), and CenturyLink.
American Cable Association (ACA) and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) were also included in the petition decree, but were not part of the larger petition.
USTelecom et al. argue that “the Commission’s assertion of comprehensive control over the Internet will subject broadband Internet access providers — especially, small providers — to enormous unrecoverable costs and reduce their ability and incentive to invest in broadband infrastructure.”
Petitioners added into the disagreement that “the Commission has identified no urgent public interest need to layer common carrier regulation and a vague Internet conduct standard on top of those rules while petitions for review are pending." In short, the reclassification isn’t necessary at the moment and to carry on as is.
Included is a sky is falling tactic as well. In reference to the fact the Order has not be issued as lawful yet, telecomm businesses feel they should not have to regulate and burden consumers until such time. In other words, a stalling tactic.
"Consumers and the industry would face a twice-convulsive situation if a fundamentally new and ill-fitting regulatory regime of extraordinary breadth is imposed on broadband providers and then, as Petitioners respectfully submit is likely, vacated by the reviewing court."
According to the FCC document, the petitioners argued in one point that the mobile BIAS should be exempt since the BIAS is connected to the Internet, not phone networks, and there could be no interconnected, commercial mobile service.
The Commission rejected the entire position because unlike 1994, the current mobile BIAS is considered "public switched network" based on an updated definition. Furthermore, it is no longer "akin to the private mobile service of 1994, such as a taxi dispatch service, services that offered users access to a discrete and limited set of endpoints.”
The FCC noted that the USTelecom et al. ignored an independent Commission conclusion under section 332(d)(3), which states mobile broadband Internet is the "functional equivalent" of a modern commercial mobile service. Also, mobile BIAS is wrapped up in one of the "bright light" rules.
In short, mobile Internet is still a commercial service since it's bought and paid for by consumers. It’s often added into carrier deals, such as gigabyte data speed and implies a high use. Even more worthy of note is the fact the petitioners all gave the FCC permission to define "public switched network” in the first place.
Additionally, Section 332(d)(2) states that "what is clear from the statutory language is not what the definition of ‘public switched network’ was intended to cover but rather that Congress expected the notion to evolve and therefore charged the Commission with the continuing obligation to define it."
If one insists on letting another group define the language and agrees to it, then it's very hard to argument against the already stated permission to do so. And since Congress moved forward with the action, the FCC will be the regulating body for quite some time.
The fact of the matter is the Commission sees access to the Internet and communication platforms as “most vibrant, and best able to serve the public interest, when consumers are empowered to make their own decisions about how networks are to be accessed and utilized.”
An open internet would allow consumers to buy without concerns over false product pricing and service. The Open Internet Order may be harder to argue against as the industry leaders continue to offer easily disputed claims.
Engadget points out that most of the carriers, a.k.a. petitioners, “believed would bring not only the industry but the infrastructure that powers the internet under tighter, heavier government control.”
In an effort to push against future growth, opposing FCC commissioner Ajit Pai stated the Commission would have “the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works." Which is not the idea at all of an Open Internet. Only to provide opportunities for consumers to feel heard when making a wise decision.
And the fact the big three “bright light” rules weren’t argued against is a good thing. But really, it’s hard to dispute the fact that opposing “no blocking legal content, no throttling and no paid prioritization” would not go over with consumers very well.
As the Open Internet Order is slowly absorbed into the nation’s fabric, many telecommunication leaders will rub against the idea. The question is if the FCC will protect the consumer from bad business practices. If Tom Wheeler has his say, the answer will always be yes.
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Sources: Engadget, FCC, Public Knowledge