My God in Heaven! It’s been about four hours since the FCC announced its intention to add two more pillars to its idea of Net Neutrality: one, ISPs should not be allowed to wily nilly permit/disallow traffic on their networks (non-discrimination); and two, traffic management should be done is as transparent a manner as possible, so you don’t wind up with people discovering that their software is being tampered with, without their knowledge or consent, after the fact. I don’t know about yous guys (not a typo), but that seems pretty reasonable to me. And if you disagree, then you’re probably a high-ranking executive at Comcast.
One of Comcast’s executive vice-presidents, David L. Cohen, posted a message to the company’s Web site that, in so many words, attempts to throw cold water on the FCC’s proposals lest they become popular with its customers. The post, entitled “Does the Internet Need More Regulation? FCC to Decide,” is skeptical of the whole operation even before it begins. If not the FCC, then who should regulate the Internet? I’m certainly not Mr. The Government Solves Everything, but I’d much sooner trust the FCC to see to it that consumers don’t get screwed by this nation’s ISPs than the ISPs themselves.
So yes, the FCC should decide; that’s what it’s there for.
Then there’s a bit of a contradiction within two breaks:
There’s been a debate in Washington for the last six years over whether rules like these are necessary to promote an “open Internet” and an innovation economy. And before that, there was a debate that began more than a decade ago over whether Internet Service Providers should be required to let others resell their services.
But before we rush into a new regulatory environment for the Internet, let’s remember there can be no doubt that the Internet has enjoyed immense growth even as these debates have gone on.
How you can characterize six years of discussion as a “rush,” I’ll never know. In six years you have two congressional elections, and one general election. That hardly seems like “rushing” to me. And if what the FCC is true about Internet traffic doubling every two years, then six years is plenty of time to Figure Something Out™.
It’s not all negative, though, as Comcast says it’s “committed” to working with the FCC. So that’s good, and promising.
For the record, I’m not some scorned Comcast customer; I’ve never used it. I’ve used two ISPs since 2002 when I first got broadband: Cablevision’s Optimum Online, and Time Warner. So, really, what Comcast does isn’t any of my business.