Copps and McDowell are on opposing sides of the Net Neutrality rules, which have still not been released to the public (and probably won't be until next week).
McDowell thinks that there is competition. This from the former lawyer at COMPTEL. He knows that there isn't competition -- it's what paid his salary for 10 years at COMPTEL. McDowell mentioned that this action would result in a court loss. He would know. At COMPTEL, he lost a lot of legal battles so he probably can spot losing litigation.
I can't really comment on the FCC order for Open Internet because it was released, I did listen to the 2.5 hour FCC Meeting while watching it on twitter as I followed Attorney Steve Coran, WISPA, Stacey at GigaOM, the FCC, and others. Here are snippets of thoughts throughout the meeting.
Chairman McDowell: Existing law provides ample consumer protection online. If that were so, coouldn't you have spelled out what law that was? How about Truth in Advertising? The FTC has not acted upon that in my lifetime in our industry. 3G, 4G, "Up to" 10MB, Best Effort, Fine print, and the * are all nebulous terms and hide the truth in what the consumer is paying for. Today's order makes that transparent.
McDowell said that the Broadband market is Competitive. "Nothing is broken in the Internet access market that needs fixing." Maybe in NFL cities but what about the other 65 MSA's? And you don't see the Comcast-Level3 Peering dispute as a sign of future trouble? Or the Comcast-TATA link?
McDowell then went on to predict the court battle and the political ranglings that will be coming about now. "The FCC is not Congress, we CANNOT make laws." Well, the courts aren't supposed to make laws either but as we have seen since 2000 that simply isn't the case any more. You take power where you can hold it in DC. Baker agreed that this order will result in endless litigation - and burn up FCC funds better spent elsewhere. Where else would you spend the funds? I mean, in 10 years you have yet to rule on anything important like Inter-Carrier Comp. So what do you do there all day? Check on licensing and forms are filled out mainly - from what I can gather from FCC Daily emails. [BTW, Benton says VZ is gearing up for the lawsuit.]
FCC Chair Julius Genachowski stated that he had support from tech company CEO's and venture capitalists; probably to offset the claims that this will prevent investment in infrastructure going forward. Moreover, let's not forget that taxpayers pumped in $6B into broadband infrastructure via BTOP and BIP. Comm. Baker remarked that efforts to get access to the third of Americans that don't have broadband will be harmed by this order. UM. How were you going to get to them? Buy them all computers and give them training? Your own data shows that 67% of homes that want broadband have it. Now it's a function of making sure that the broadband network we have still functions as designed. Hence, the remarks by Tim Berners-Lee quoted by Julius.
Baker further weakens her argument by stating that the cost of building out Internet infrastructure will now be borne by consumers. Who does she think PAYS for these broadband networks??? The consumers and taxpayers. DUH! In fact, How the Phone Companies Are Screwing America: The $320 Billion Broadband Rip-Off. "Since 1991, the telecom companies have pocketed an estimated $320 billion --- that's about $3,000 per household" in rate increases to build the broadband network that we have today. The broadband network that is not a Top 10 network at all.
Of course, Commissioner Copps : "I considered dissent very seriously. But it's clear to me that without action today, work on network neutrality would halt." Copps would have preferred stronger rules and wants to reclassify broadband as Title II. He also wanted more parity between wireline and wireless since "The Internet is the Internet, no matter how you access it." A line that Julius also used.
Commissioner Copps. "The Internet was born, thrives on, and succeeds only on continued openness." I don't think that people generally understand that our whole economy is based on an open and reliable Internet infrastructure.
The FCC has 3 objectives in the rules -- transparency, no blocking and no discrimination. That seems pretty simple. But government seldom is. And if you can't get 5 partison commissioners in DC to agree, how will you ever get any concensus?
Commission Clyburn's comments were actually published already. She states that an open internet should be available to all people. Without an open Internet, consumers would have fewer choices and opportunities - including tele-commuting and online education.
Baker stated that government action is not needed to preserve the open internet today. And The Commission has no power to act until Congress gives it authority. However, she did say: "Did the Commission kill the future of the Internet today? Of course not." Her concern was that capacity needs will strain ALL operators. And "prioritization" is now a dirty word. For her, it's about optimizing services for consumers. Yeah? But who chooses what services? When you pay for priority or whatever, am I getting the Internet the way it was designed? Am I getting ALL of the "legal" Internet? Or is prioritization going to take up 99% of the pipe that Comcast has and the rest of the content out there will have to squeeze through that 1%? That is the issue before us. When Baker was talking, I can almost hear the talking points that USTELECOM gave her to say. She is a Bell-Head. We need some Net-Heads running our Industry and at the FCC.
And as I continue to state: we paid for a better network. We continue to pay more for less than most places globally. If they have the millions to lobby and litigate, they have the money to throw at the capacity problem.
The only bug worry is enforcement. Well, excepot for enforcing paperwork deadlines, I haven't seen the FCC enforce anything.
Baker was upset about all the time wasted on this order. That's funny, because I thought that was your JOB!!!! So is Inter-Carrier Comp. How about doing something about it?
McDowell did make a funny reference to CupcakeGate.
Chairman Julius Genachowski was the swing vote and went last, saying: "I reject the notion that government should not protect the open principles that have enabled the Internet to thrive." He mentioned that innovation sells broadband; faster broadband fosters innovation. Kind of the circle of tech life.
Genachowski: Consumers have the right to know how network is managed by their providers. An Open Internet Resolution Principle: Transparency - Consumers and innovators have a right to know how their network is being managed. No blocking of lawful content, apps, and services. Consumers and innovators have the right to an even playing field. A Level Playing Field - No approval for so-called "pay for priority" arrangements involving some companies but not others. OIR will allow for reasonable network management. It won't forbid tiered service offerings or charging based on bandwidth consumed. Broadband Providers need meaningful flexibility to deal with congestion security and other issues.
The one comment that was surprising was "There is one Internet - no matter how you access it!"
Genachowski: Principal of openness applies to mobile internet. "Any reduction in mobile Internet openness would be a cause for concern." Julius then mentioned that VZW especially has to be open since they are using the 700 MHz that they bought at auction under the open and free principles.
This order establishes an Open Internet Advisory Board and allows for free complaints from consumers. Additionally, the FCC will set up an Apps Challenge on Challenge.gov for applications that inform consumers about broadband connection.
How did we get here? Here is the Net Neutrality Timeline.
UPDATE: So many bloggers have said we won! we lost! when truly, they have no idea. The Order was not published yet from the FCC so how do they know the detail? And it is all in the details. My guess is that everybody lost somewhere, especially taxpayers.
Steve Wozniak to the FCC: Keep the Internet Free in The Atlantic.
From the Washington Post: "Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) said she will reintroduce legislation to overthrow the rules. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.) said she will move to withdraw funds appropriated to the FCC to execute the rules."