One can hardly expect America’s major Telcoms to sit quietly as Net Neutrality becomes the law of the land.
And, indeed, they continue to poke at the February decision of the U.S. Federal Communications Commissions (FCC) to regulate the Internet in the U.S. as a public utility, which will ensure fair and speedy access to the Internet for everyone.
In addition to a whole basket full of lawsuits and congressional initiatives by Telcom friends in the U.S. Congress, the Telcoms continue to throw rocks at any window pane they can find.
The FCC rejected motions Friday by the major Telcoms (Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, CenturyLink and others) to delay implementation of the February order.
Interestingly, the Telcoms delay petition didn’t dispute the FCC ruling’s three functionally important prohibitions – no speed throttling, no extra-expensive “fast lanes,” no legal content blocking. Rather, the Telcoms sought the delay on the basis of the public utility rule itself – which will regulate the Internet Service Provides (ISPs) just exactly as the FCC regulated the Telcoms’ grandparent companies back in 1934 when they were merely phone companies.
(The emerging telephone system in the U.S. was so important and crucial to mass communications at the time the FCC decided it was in the public’s best interest to regulate private companies providing telephone service much like government regulated private companies providing other essential public services like electricity and water.)
The mass of lawsuits will continue to be hashed out in the courts over the course of month, maybe even years. But FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler told TechCrunch Disrupt in New York last week he is certain the FCC position will eventually prevail despite the court challenges.
Net Neutrality battle in India, too.
The battle for a fair and open Internet is being waged in India, too, a vast potential market where Internet connectivity is, obviously, crucial to growth.
The battle there is taking a slightly different form than in the U.S. with some major Internet providers – including, in this case, Facebook – are advocating for Net Neutrality while critics scream it is all a ruse aimed at setting up an Internet Oligarchy for the Telcoms, again including in this case Facebook (through its Internet.org initiative).
“What appear to be great initiatives to get India’s growing population online, like Internet.org, are actually wolves in sheeps’ clothing,” posted Asian investor and entrepreneurial mentor Manu Rehki in TechCrunch on Sunday. “Large companies with deep pockets, like Facebook, have the resources to be placed at the top of the ‘deck’ for consumers, but startups and small developers do not have the money to gain access through negotiations with Reliance Communications or Airtel, two of India’s largest telecommunications companies.
“There should be no Internet fast lanes for large corporations: Net neutrality needs to be truly free and not falsely bundled like a social venture. The current trajectory of these regulations is creating a walled garden that blocks innovation and will ultimately cause more harm than good for the Indian entrepreneurial landscape.”