Verizon threatens to sue FCC if it pushes ahead with net neutrality, reserves right to continue gouging customers
Verizon’s legal counsel has published a new blog post threatening the FCC with legal action if the government regulatory body attempts to curtail the company’s egregious behavior over net neutrality, while simultaneously arguing that the regulatory methods it went to court to kill can now be used to monitor its good behavior.
To explain that, we need to flash back to 2010, when the FCC attempted to regulate the concept of net neutrality using what’s called Section 706. This section of the law gives the FCC the authority to “encourage the deployment … of advanced telecommunications capability … by utilizing price cap regulation, regulatory forbearance, measures that promote competition in the telecommunications market, or other regulating methods.” Verizon took the FCC to court over its efforts, claiming Section 706 didn’t give the FCC the authority to implement its version of net neutrality — and won.
That same court case affirmed, however, that the FCC had the authority to regulate telecommunications by classifying the telecommunication companies as common carriers or public utilities. The FCC is now investigating doing this, in a move that could subject Verizon and its other competitors to much harsher and stricter rules — and Verizon, predictably, is attempting to squirm out of a problem it created for itself. Randal Mich, general counsel for Verizon, now writes:
If, as the FCC proposed back in May and as the D.C. Circuit suggested in its decision nearly a year ago, the new rules are based on Section 706 of the Communications Act, then the possibility that a rule prohibiting paid prioritization will be overturned is essentially eliminated.
The general counsel from Verizon goes on to argue that the FCC’s proposed hybrid model, which would regulate some aspects of the network under Title II and some under Section 706 would unsettle two decades of settled precedent and that the hybrid approach “fairly guarantees litigation.”
Buried in this screed is an implicit assumption that litigation is a bad thing, because clearly the purpose of the FCC is to create a regulatory environment that benefits huge corporations, right?
Let’s face it: US broadband sucks
You don’t have to love government regulation to recognize that the US broadband market is completely and utterly screwed up. Much like our healthcare system, what was once a market leader in terms of quality of care and lower overall costs has been transformed, over the past 20 years, into an incredibly expensive market. Monopolies and duopolies are the order of the day virtually everywhere across the nation, including major metropolitan areas. We pay more, we get less.
Meanwhile, in some parts of the country, the problem is getting any kind of service hooked up at all. Ars Technica has published the story of Jesse Walser, a rural NY lab analyst who has been handed build-out estimates of between $20,000 and $26,000 from Time Warner and Verizon — despite the fact that TWC accepted $10 million in funds earmarked for creating access for rural people like him. Absent any affordable alternative, he pays $90 a month for cellular broadband to Verizon.
I’ve railed on Verizon at multiple points in the last few years, not because it’s uniquely terrible, but because it is, by all appearances, the worst of a bad bunch. Verizon cut deals to provide access to New Jersey, built out only the metro areas, took money from both federal and state officials, then walked off the job (and got permission to do so), leaving huge areas of the state without the fiber access they were paid to build. Verizon tears out copper infrastructure that some consumers actually rely on, then refuse to repair it. Now, having sued to destroy the FCC’s more modest attempts at creating net neutrality, they’ve got the gall to inform the FCC that its actions might cause litigation — as though the company was anything more than a profit-skimming leech fond of dreaming up its own tracking concepts to better monetize its captive audience.
Net neutrality, as a concept, won’t be enough to set the US market right — the fundamental lack of competition in many areas creates huge problems — but Verizon’s sly commentary that it would accept Section 706-based rulings after going to court to oppose them is simply ridiculous.
We can’t offer a critique of the FCC’s new plan yet, because to be clear, there is no official plan. There’s not even an official draft. But clearly Verizon thinks it’s seen enough to be spooked. The spectre of full regulation under Title II would subject the telcos and carriers to a heavy hand of regulation they haven’t experienced since the days of Ma Bell — but after seeing the wreck they’ve made of things already, how much worse could get it get? We’ve already got cable and telcos writing legislation with the help of ALEC to forbid local municipalities from partnering with Google or other companies to create fiber optic networks in markets that the incumbents don’t want to service — and they’ve got the cojones to call this “protecting the free market.”
This is the link tagged (Verizon) where you can see all the problems I’ve had with Verizon in just less than a year. Includes 5 FCC complaints. Targeted Individuals (as I am as an Anti Public Corruption Activist/Government/Public Corruption Whistle Blower). In addition to the problems I’ve shown how the common industries utilized in organized gang stalking campaigns in Minnesota, do so with ease and NO ACCOUNTABILITY as a result of their close ties to The Minnesota DFL run State of Minnesota and State Offices (Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson). Simply put, what it amounts to in my case (circumstances are heinously unbelievable, including murder of my family members) IS AN ORGANIZED CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE OR AS I CALL IT THE MASSIVE MINNESOTA RICO AND IT CONDUCTS BUSINESS, INTERSTATE! …FROM CALIFORNIA TO NEW YORK!