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Ad Hoc Neutrality Isn’t Neutral, It Is Discriminatory and Unfair

 

For a neutrality or non-discrimination principle to have legitimacy, it must be applied neutrally and non-discriminatorily itself, because everyone knows true neutrality means not taking sides.

Non-neutral application of a net neutrality policy takes sides and thus is discriminatory and unfair, the exact opposite of net neutrality’s purported purpose and the definition of its signature word.

Arguably, most all the controversies and conflicts over net neutrality for the last fifteen years have resulted from a supposed neutrality principle applied non-neutrally, to favor Internet intermediary distribution networks like Google, Amazon and Facebook, and cloud computing networks, like Amazon, Microsoft and Google, over legacy communications and content networks.

Today the FCC, in voting 3-2 for the Restoring Internet Freedom Order, is legitimately implementing net neutrality in a neutral fashion, i.e. treating similar information services similarly with the same light touch, under the same market transparency enforcement oversight at the FTC, and not taking sides by non-neutrally, picking winners and losers from the start.

A Tale of Two Realities -- DOJ versus AT&T-Time Warner Merger

Sometimes it is easy to miss the forest for the trees.

That may be the case with the outlook for the DOJ v. AT&T-Time Warner case.

In this analysis, rather than recount the legal antitrust “trees” that have been well-argued in the DOJ’s complaint brief and AT&T-Time Warner’s defense brief, and the rule of law “tree” I analyzed initially, it is important to focus on how this case is highly-unusual in one characteristic, and that characteristic begs us to try and examine the forest not the trees.

What is highly-unusual about this precedent-driven case is the Judge, U.S. District Court Senior Judge Richard J. Leon.

Debunking Edge Competition Myth Predicate in FCC Title II Broadband Order – FCC Comments

SUMMARY:

In 2015, the FCC’s Title II Open Internet broadband order was predicated on a demonstrably false central competitive premise: that the Internet’s edge was competitive while the broadband Internet core was not competitive. The facts prove the opposite.

The 2015 FCC’s competition premise is myth.

While there is plenty of information in the record, and in the July 17 comments, that broadband is  competitive, until now there has been little data and research on the overall competitiveness of the Internet edge providers, save for NetCompetition’s July 17th comments that showed how concentrated the Internet edge is using the Internet Association as a proxy.

To further rebut comments that were predicated on the demonstrably false central premise that the Internet’s edge is competitive, NetCompetition submits additional Internet competition research below.

Debunking Edge Competition Premises in FCC 2015 Title II Broadband Order – FCC Comments

 

July 17, 2017

FCC Restoring Internet Freedom WC No. 17-108

Submission by Scott Cleland, Chairman, NetCompetition (An e-forum supported by broadband interests.)

 

 

Debunking Edge Competition Premises in FCC 2015 Title II Broadband Order – FCC Comments

In 2015, the FCC’s Title II Open Internet broadband order implicitly was based on three core competitive premises about “edge” competition and competitors, that are demonstrably false, which undermines the factual legitimacy and legal justification of the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet order, and which supports the current FCC’s Restoring Internet Freedom NPRM to overturn it.

Summary: The 2015 FCC’s three demonstrably false core competitive premises are:

 

Why Aren’t Google Amazon & Facebook’s Winner-Take-All Networks Neutral?

 

Ironically, the world’s leading winner-take-all Internet platforms -- Google, Amazon, and Facebook -- are the leading voices of the July 12th “Internet-wide Day of Action to Save Net Neutrality.” They want to pressure the U.S. FCC to maximally regulate ISPs as Title II telephone utilities, even though they don’t believe in operating neutral networks themselves.

Even more ironic, is this 1 min. Google-YouTube video -- by the Internet Association, “the unified voice of the Internet economy.” It defines net neutrality and what it wants the FCC to ban ISPs from doing. However, those banned behaviors closely describe how Google, Facebook and Amazon often operate. Awkward.

In yet another video supporting this Day of Action, three U.S. Senators video message said: “We believe the Internet is the extraordinary opportunity that gives everybody in America the chance to get ahead. We have to make sure it is not controlled by a handful of powerful corporations.”

This piece has two tasks.

Why Title II Net Neutrality Directly Conflicts with Consumer Privacy

At best the notions of net neutrality and consumer privacy are somewhat in tension.

At worst, they are in opposition, and harm consumer privacy as happened when the Wheeler-FCC subordinated the goal of what’s best for consumer privacy to the conflicting and overriding goal of what was best for imposing maximal, Title II net neutrality.

Net neutrality and consumer privacy are in tension because they are very different concepts, priorities, and approaches for the handling of information online.

However, the original tension between the FCC’s first concept of net neutrality and consumer privacy was very limited because the Martin-FCC’s 2005 Internet Policy Statement on net neutrality was an extension of the Powell-FCC’s “Internet Freedoms” concept of net neutrality, and both approaches were consumer-first, i.e. very clearly centered around what consumers could expect from the Internet.

What thrust them into the more opposing concepts that they are today?

It was when net neutrality flipped from being primarily a consumer-centric principle to an edge-provider centric principle defined by Google, Amazon, Facebook and Netflix; and from the enforcement of a general broadband nondiscrimination principle, to the preemptive imposition of “the strongest possible,” specific, utility rate regulation framework – i.e. Title II of the 1934 Communications Act -- on a competitive industry that had done nothing wrong to warrant it.

On PBS NewsHour Gigi Sohn & I Discuss End of FCC Broadband Privacy Order

Please see PBS NewsHour’s five minute segment here with Gigi Sohn and I discussing Congress’ rescission of the FCC’s unimplemented broadband privacy order that the Wheeler-FCC majority passed last October by a 3-2 vote.

Congress right to save consumers from net neutrality privacy rules The Hill Op-ed

 

Please see my latest The Hill op-ed: “Congress was right to save consumers from privacy rules imposed under net neutrality.”

Consumer privacy has been the biggest loser from net neutrality proponents’ politicization of privacy.

NetCompetition: FCC BDS Deregulation Will Spur Infrastructure Investment

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, March 23, 2017, Contact:  Scott Cleland 703-217-2407

FCC Chairman Pai’s Proposal to Deregulate Competitive Business Data Services Will Accelerate Private Investment and Deployment of Fiber & 5G Gigabit Mobile Broadband      

WASHINGTON D.C. – The following may be attributed to Scott Cleland, Chairman of NetCompetition:

 

“Kudos to FCC Chairman Pai for clearly understanding the business, economic, and investment, realities and challenges, of multi-billion dollar private investments in infrastructure; and purposefully organizing the FCC to better encourage broadband infrastructure deployment quickly to be part of the solution to America’s economic growth and job creation needs.

“Chairman Pai knows one of the best ways for the FCC to promote private investment in infrastructure and advance 5G broadband innovation is to encourage facilities-based broadband competition in the business market, by permanently stopping FCC rate regulation of the long, fully-competitive, fiber-based, business data market, and ending most all FCC rate regulation of the antiquated copper-based business data market, except in the minority of counties or areas where there still may be insufficient competition.”

“Let the investing, building, and deploying of the Nation’s next generation, fiber and 5G broadband networks begin -- soonest!”

 

 

NETCompetition.org is a pro-competition e-forum representing broadband interests.

Pai’s FCC is rebooting broadband facilities competition and 5G investment

 

Please don’t miss my latest The Hill op-ed: “Pai’s FCC is rebooting broadband facilities competition and 5G investment.”

 

It uncovers what is important underneath the focus on Title II net neutrality.

 

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Q&A One Pager Debunking Net Neutrality Myths