On Friday last week the FCC politely, yet firmly, denied a request from organizations representing major telecos and cable companies to delay the implementation of their plan to reclassify them under Title 2.
From day one of the reclassification discussions the major players in broadband (and sort-of-close-to-broadband) have objected to the FCC reclassifying them under Title 2.
The main reason they object to the reclassification is that it would give the FCC the power to impose fines and implement other punishments if/when they start screwing around with who gets what content over the Internet.
It all started when the FCC found that Verizon was messing around with their customer’s broadband services. The FCC tried to levy a fine and Verizon fought back in court – not based on the idea that they didn’t do it, but that the FCC didn’t have the authority to fine them under their current rules. The judge told the FCC to go back and rewrite their rules and then they could levy fines.
So the FCC did that and now the telecos and cable giants are worried that every time they throttle some websites and give preference to their own content the FCC will have the power to stop them.
It has nothing to do with stifling innovation or overly burdensome regulations. And in spite of their claims that they already support net neutrality they have already proven over and over again that they have no interest in providing equal access to all Internet content. They have blocked competition every step of the way. They practice illegal billing schemes. They charge customers for Internet access and then throttle sites that compete with their own content services. Then they charge those sites extra fees in order to let their content through.
We can look forward to a host of lawsuits in the coming months and years challenging the FCC’s authority but it looks like the FCC isn’t backing down so I imagine the telecos and cable companies will just have to buy a few more legislators and get them to rewrite the laws.