It’s been about a year and a half since I last wrote about Net Neutrality and it is back in the spotlight again. Right before July 4th, Verizon filed a legal brief that argues the FCC regulations on Net Neutrality violate their free speech and that the FCC really doesn’t have the right to issue the regulations. The timing for this filing, right before July 4th, is likely not an accident. But how does one make the leap to free speech from Net Neutrality? Well, Verizon is arguing that data transmitted on its networks represents a form of “speech.” So Verizon is going for it since how much more basic an American tenet is “free speech”?
Obviously, this is a tough issue. Companies are making lots of money using the networks other service providers deployed, via the OTT services. And the service providers that put the networks in the ground, or in the air, feel they aren’t getting properly compensated, or want to make sure that their direct customer base can at least have preferential service. This is a tough issue since the innovation and job creation from the OTT providers is likely immense. So while one may feel compelled to argue on the side of the service providers, the job creation and the taxes that are taken from these jobs are compelling to the government as well.
Since this issue is never going to be resolved easily, it’s important to understand both sides of this debate. This needs to be resolved fairly unambiguously so everyone knows the rules. Then everyone can go play the same game.