Verizon files challenge to FCC’s “Open Internet” order

posted at 10:12 am on January 21, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

It didn’t take long for one of the telecoms to challenge the FCC on its latest arrogation of regulatory jurisdiction over the Internet.  Verizon went to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, the same venue that rebuked the FCC and its chair Julius Genachowski for attempting to regulate the Internet without authority from Congress:

Michael Glover, Verizon’s deputy general counsel, said in a statement that the appeal follows a “careful review” of the FCC’s net-neutrality rules, which the agency passed in December.

“We are deeply concerned by the FCC’s assertion of broad authority for sweeping new regulation of broadband networks and the Internet itself,” he said. “We believe this assertion of authority goes well beyond any authority provided by Congress and creates uncertainty for the communications industry, innovators, investors and consumers.”

When Genachowski announced his “Open Internet” regulatory plan, the Net Neutrality advocates at Free Press didn’t exactly greet it with open arms.  However, they didn’t waste much time in blasting Verizon, as other did for filing the case in the same court that overturned the last FCC action:

“Verizon’s decision demonstrates that even the most weak and watered-down rules aren’t enough to appease giant phone companies,” Aparna Sridhar, policy counsel, said in a statement.

“It’s ironic that Verizon is unhappy with rules that were written to placate it, and it’s now clear that it will settle for nothing less than total deregulation and a toothless FCC in the relentless pursuit of profit,” she said.

Other net-neutrality proponents took issue with Verizon’s efforts to get the case into the D.C. Circuit, which was hostile to the FCC’s open Internet efforts last time around.

“Verizon is trying to be too cute in trying to pick not only the venue for the challenge to the rules, but also to pick the judges to hear it.  The court should see through this ploy and reject Verizon’s attempt to pick the home field for its appeal,” said Harold Feld, legal director at Public Knowledge.

House Republicans cheered Verizon’s challenge, which rests on four arguments.  The two that will probably carry the most weight with the court will be that the FCC has abused its regulatory discretion, and that the FCC has exceeded its statutory authority.  Congress made the latter argument last year — with large Democratic majorities — as Genachowsko’s first attempt at treating the Internet as a public utility foundered.  The same court ruled in favor of Comcast that Congress had not granted the FCC the authority to regulate the Internet, and that without a Congressional mandate, their actions were invalid.

The FCC claims that they have tailored the new rules to fit within their authority, but that may change anyway.  A statement from the new leadership in the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a warning to Genachowski:

“Equally important is putting a check on an FCC that is acting beyond the authority granted to it by Congress. Between our legislative efforts and this court action, we will put the FCC back on firmer ground,” they said.

The message is as clear as one can make it: Stop your regulatory adventurism, or we’ll stop it for you.  It may not take a court to settle this question in the short run, especially with the remainder of the FY2011 budget in Republican hands.


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To be honest, I’m not sure what to think about this stuff.
The Internet is just basically a virtual assembly ground.
And don’t we have to the right to assemble?

Badger40 on January 21, 2011 at 10:16 AM

remainder of the FY2011 budget in Republican hands.

One can only thank God!

jeanie on January 21, 2011 at 10:17 AM

Just defund the FCC. Easy Fix.

karenhasfreedom on January 21, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Badger40 on January 21, 2011 at 10:16 AM

I would like to comment but your FCC ID code was declined.

Electrongod on January 21, 2011 at 10:19 AM

FressPress should just use its funds and buy a cellular provider and implement their “Open Internet” dream themselves. Would not be the more simple route?

WashJeff on January 21, 2011 at 10:20 AM

Can you hear us now?

Gohawgs on January 21, 2011 at 10:21 AM

“Verizon is trying to be too cute in trying to pick not only the venue for the challenge to the rules, but also to pick the judges to hear it.

Right, because their the first to ever do this.

Cindy Munford on January 21, 2011 at 10:23 AM

And don’t we have to the right to assemble?

Badger40 on January 21, 2011 at 10:16 AM

So far, and I think that’s the problem.

Cindy Munford on January 21, 2011 at 10:24 AM

The FCC signed their own ending by getting involved in this blatant attack on our freedom. May their demise come quickly.

Keemo on January 21, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Dear Liar’s regulatory regime: ignore the law and ignore court cases that go against it.

Ah the good old days when we had the rule of law.

rbj on January 21, 2011 at 10:25 AM

In this climate of over whelming paranoia, I don’t want to be left behind. So…is Obama himself behind this? Or is this a push from lefty would be power grabbers whom obama finds it safer to ignore? Or…does he not know or care because it’s beneath his pay grade?

jeanie on January 21, 2011 at 10:26 AM

If fact, I’m going to spend some time tonight (wife’s away at work) writing my GOP Congressman suggesting politely that the FCC should be defunded immediately, as they have outlived their intended purpose by several decades.

Keemo on January 21, 2011 at 10:26 AM

The message is as clear as one can make it: Stop your regulatory adventurism, or we’ll stop it for you

It needs to be formally and decisively stopped by Congress anyway…otherwise the FCC can simply try again when fewer people are looking.

JohnTant on January 21, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Just defund the FCC. Easy Fix.

karenhasfreedom on January 21, 2011 at 10:18 AM

Amen to that! They are nothing but a pain in the backside to every broadcaster in the country. They do nothing but think up ways to fine people and have done nothing to improve radio and tv since 1926

flytier on January 21, 2011 at 10:29 AM

“Verizon is trying to be too cute in trying to pick not only the venue for the challenge to the rules, but also to pick the judges to hear it.

Nonsense. Only an incompetent attorney doesn’t steer his case to the most amenable venue available.

flyfisher on January 21, 2011 at 10:33 AM

The same court ruled in favor of Comcast that Congress had not granted the FCC the authority to regulate the Internet, and that without a Congressional mandate, their actions were invalid.

What gives congress the right to mandate this authority? The very basis of the entire argument is flawed.

Wine_N_Dine on January 21, 2011 at 10:34 AM

in the relentless pursuit of profit

Last I checked, that is why companies are in business.

search4truth on January 21, 2011 at 10:37 AM

It’s scary how willing the left is to shut people up.

Blake on January 21, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Can you hear us now?

Gohawgs on January 21, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Lulz

The Mega Independent on January 21, 2011 at 10:37 AM

If the FCC has the manpower to spare on trying to expand its jurisdiction, then it clearly has manpower in excess of its needs to preform it actual mandated duties.

So the FCC clearly needs a reduction in force, with a corresponding reduction in its budget.

LarryD on January 21, 2011 at 10:40 AM

It’s scary how willing the left is to shut people up.

Blake on January 21, 2011 at 10:37 AM

Except themselves.

jeanie on January 21, 2011 at 10:42 AM

It is kinda funny. I worked at Verizon for the Finance Dept for about 10 years in Dallas. We were GTE when I started. Then Bell Atlantic bought us in a “merger of equals” and I can say that much of the higher ups from the Bell Atlantic side were liberals and I’m sure they loved Obama. I cannot speak specifically about Ivan Seidenberg though. I always assumed he was pretty liberal, but never heard enough to know what was going on with him.

Hey Libs… You made your bed, now sleep in it!

jeffn21 on January 21, 2011 at 10:42 AM

…the FCC has abused its regulatory discretion, and that the FCC has exceeded its statutory authority.

Defund this FCC back to bare bones. It has gone rogue.

petefrt on January 21, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Julius “Seizure” Genachowski is a professional putz who should be trounced out of office and booted out the door without the right to an appeal!

pilamaye on January 21, 2011 at 10:46 AM

Michael Glover, Verizon’s deputy general counsel, said in a statement that the appeal follows a “careful review” of the FCC’s net-neutrality rules, which the agency passed in December.

“Mr. Genachowski, after very careful consideration, I’ve come to the conclusion that your new rules suck.”

teke184 on January 21, 2011 at 10:48 AM

Good on Verizon.

CantCureStupid on January 21, 2011 at 10:48 AM

“It’s ironic that Verizon is unhappy with rules that were written to placate it, and it’s now clear that it will settle for nothing less than total deregulation and a toothless FCC in the relentless pursuit of profit,” she said.

“We are piling on fewer regulations than we really wanted to. Frankly, we’d rather just nationalize the whole thing. They should be thanking us.” she added.

forest on January 21, 2011 at 10:49 AM

“We are piling on fewer regulations than we really wanted to. Frankly, we’d rather just nationalize the whole thing. They should be thanking us.” she added.

Gee, doesn’t that sound familiar?

teke184 on January 21, 2011 at 10:51 AM

it’s now clear that it will settle for nothing less than total deregulation and a toothless FCC

I personally will settle for nothing less than an extinct FCC.

Vashta.Nerada on January 21, 2011 at 10:51 AM

Can you hear us now?

Gohawgs on January 21, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Perfect, Gohawgs!

Thread winner!

tickleddragon on January 21, 2011 at 10:55 AM

It’s snowing here today and the roads are bad so I think I’ll fill my time writing to my newly in place(and terribly welcome)GOP pols and complain about the FCC. May I invite you all to do the same?

jeanie on January 21, 2011 at 10:58 AM

I own a Verizon phone and Verizon stock …………… and, thankfully, I believe Verizon is right.

Now would the FBI and the police forces of other nations go after the creeps that create malware and viruses ………… along with the thugs that steal our credit card numbers.

SC.Charlie on January 21, 2011 at 11:00 AM

To be honest, I’m not sure what to think about this stuff.
The Internet is just basically a virtual assembly ground.
And don’t we have to the right to assemble?

Badger40 on January 21, 2011 at 10:16 AM

The problem is that the internet, as a physical collection of wiring, fiber optics and hardware is actually the private property of the companies that spent millions and millions of dollars on the switches, routers, wiring, fiber optic cable, land, leases, and labor to install all the other parts.

Vancomycin on January 21, 2011 at 11:06 AM

I’m kind of mixed in my opinion on this – Internet service has become a utility, with one or two providers in most areas having a virtual monopoly on pricing and service. Given that most daily functions in a modern household – banking, communications, entertainment, billing, etc – require internet service, I would argue that the FCC’s position on their status as a utility is correct.

I resent my utility telling me that I cannot use the service to do things that compete with their other revenue-generating functions (e.g. streaming movies and tv, VOIP telephone, etc) without their getting a piece of the action – or blocking it outright.

Verizon, in particular, has a history as a cell phone carrier of disabling functions in their smartphones in order to drive you to pay extra for their version of the service that is a native function to the hardware (email sync, contact sync, bluetooth file sharing, etc).

With those issues in mind, I agree that they should be prevented from blocking services merely to drive revenue towards their other business units. I also believe that regulation should be in place to ensure that they deliver the service levels that they are selling you (don’t advertise a 1.5M connection that doesn’t deliver 1.5M speeds). I feel that the ISPs should (with a few exceptions) have any right to tell me what to do with my internet any more than the power company has a right to tell me what I do with the electricity I buy from them.

I don’t, however, believe that the internet itself belongs in the same category as delivery. The FCC should have no business regulating content.

The two issues are separate.

RustMouse on January 21, 2011 at 11:08 AM

Why don’t these Net Neutrality advocates build their own network and offer it up for free instead of hijacking someone elses property through “regulation”?

bds1976 on January 21, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Why don’t these Net Neutrality advocates build their own network and offer it up for free instead of hijacking someone elses property through “regulation”?

bds1976 on January 21, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Why do the work yourself when you can just take someone else’s???

search4truth on January 21, 2011 at 11:13 AM

RustMouse

It’s their property. That’d be akin to the government telling you that you’ve got to let random people off the street walk through your house whenever they want.

If a company spent the money on the infrastructure, then they get to decide what runs on that infrastructure…period. Companies that don’t play nice, don’t keep customers.
There are multiple broadband services in my area, and I expect most non-rural areas have 2 or more choices for broadband internet carriers. Hell, I know a few rural areas that have either none, or 2.

Vancomycin on January 21, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Can you hear us now?

Gohawgs on January 21, 2011 at 10:21 AM

If you can’t, put the can closer to your ear and pull the string tighter.

Uniblogger on January 21, 2011 at 11:14 AM

The problem is that the internet, as a physical collection of wiring, fiber optics and hardware is actually the private property of the companies that spent millions and millions of dollars on the switches, routers, wiring, fiber optic cable, land, leases, and labor to install all the other parts.

Vancomycin on January 21, 2011 at 11:06 AM

Yeah but they only did it in the relentless pursuit of profit, so they don’t deserve to keep it.

/

Lily on January 21, 2011 at 11:14 AM

It is kinda funny. I worked at Verizon for the Finance Dept for about 10 years in Dallas. We were GTE when I started. Then Bell Atlantic bought us in a “merger of equals” and I can say that much of the higher ups from the Bell Atlantic side were liberals and I’m sure they loved Obama……..
jeffn21 on January 21, 2011 at 10:42 AM

Another group of liberals mugged by reality. Kinda sucks when you get what you wish for, eh libs?

iurockhead on January 21, 2011 at 11:17 AM

Genachowski is one of those bureaucrats who doesn’t get the message until he’s beaten to a pulp by the courts.

(Is that too “heated” or “graphic”)?

GarandFan on January 21, 2011 at 11:19 AM

There are multiple broadband services in my area, and I expect most non-rural areas have 2 or more choices for broadband internet carriers. Hell, I know a few rural areas that have either none, or 2.

Vancomycin on January 21, 2011 at 11:14 AM

Here is SW ND, we just recently go broadband (thanks to YOUR tax dollars).
Before that the only choice was dial up through the ONE phone company or satellite through Dish or Wild Blue (there might have been one more choice for it).
Now we have ONE choice & that is Consolidated, the ONE phone company.
We have no other choices, other than the satellite, which is not that great.
I actually am happy withmy service provider, Consolidated Telcom. I hear that the other one east of me, West River Communications, really sux. And they don’t even have bundled packages for services.
So I am lucky.
But hey, I live ni the stix.
I am very happy to be able to get broadband.
In fact, we gave an easement to Consolidated (which they did pay us for) so that everyone else could get it, too.
Our stingy neighbor did not grant an easement & they had to spend more $$ to put the lines in.
I feel very fortunate to have this service.
I do wish the govt would just stay in the BASIC regulatory arena & GET OUT of the way of these companies.

Badger40 on January 21, 2011 at 11:24 AM

The problem is that the internet, as a physical collection of wiring, fiber optics and hardware is actually the private property of the companies that spent millions and millions of dollars on the switches, routers, wiring, fiber optic cable, land, leases, and labor to install all the other parts.

Vancomycin on January 21, 2011 at 11:06 AM

And see that is the crux of it all.
No I have no problem with member-owned co-op utilities like we have out here in rural areas getting a little extra help bcs let’s face it, none of us out here would even have gotten electricity to this very day yet if there weren’t such things.
Bcs what company would spend so much $$ to put in all of that expensive infrastructure for a few customers.
It’s not worth their time.
Which kinda sux for us out here.
But I am just flabbergasted as to why the govt thinks it’s going to make any of this better when in reality, services & choices for most people are very good.

Badger40 on January 21, 2011 at 11:28 AM

What gives congress the right to mandate this authority? The very basis of the entire argument is flawed.

Wine_N_Dine on January 21, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Really?

Tennman on January 21, 2011 at 11:33 AM

The House Energy and Commerce Committee should find a way to penalize the FCC for this over-reach. The most the courts will do is issue a “cease and desist” ruling, and then FCC will try another end-around play until they’re forced to pay attention – reduced funding and staff positions come to mind, starting with Julius “the Siezer” Genachowsko.

Bob in VA on January 21, 2011 at 11:37 AM

Badger, I, too, live in the stixs far from being about to getting a broadband land-line. I have a phone land-line but no broadband option. The phone line coming in here is about one third of mile or more. And, it was put in in the 1960s.

SC.Charlie on January 21, 2011 at 11:43 AM

I live in a rural area. The only broadband internet available is satellite; HughesNet is what I use because it is supposed to be the best. It sucks and it’s very expensive. I have Verizon as my cell carrier because they’re way better than AT&T, and Sprint, T-Mobile and others don’t even work this far from a town. My best bet right now is that Verizon expands their 4G net work out this way so I can switch. With the FCC sticking their nose in this, that probably won’t happen, at least not in my lifetime. The ONLY roll the FCC should have is to referee the frequency spectrum for transmissions–that’s it!

cartooner on January 21, 2011 at 11:46 AM

It’s really time for the FCC to bo away. With cable and then secure satellite, and now with the internet, this isn’t about “public airwaves” anymore.

Information is being dispersed as a result of private investment, and regulations should be market driven.

Relentless pursuit of profit… as opposed to the relentless pursuit of debt?

I want Verizon to make a lot of profit, it will mean that I get FIOS available in my area sooner. This will mean that it is available in more areas, which will compete with cable.

reaganaut on January 21, 2011 at 11:52 AM

total deregulation and a toothless FCC

Fine with me.

katy the mean old lady on January 21, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Should I sell my Vz stock since someone will try to target them for retribution.

Kissmygrits on January 21, 2011 at 11:54 AM

“It’s ironic that Verizon is unhappy with rules that were written to placate it, and it’s now clear that it will settle for nothing less than total deregulation and a toothless FCC in the relentless pursuit of profit,” she said.

“We are piling on fewer regulations than we really wanted to. Frankly, we’d rather just nationalize the whole thing. They should be thanking us.” she added.

forest on January 21, 2011 at 10:49 AM

In short, be happy we aren’t screwing you as deep as we wanted to.

TQM38a on January 21, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Really?

Tennman on January 21, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Really.

What constitutional authority is there for congress to regulate this private property?

For that matter, where is the constitutional authority for government to regulate smoking rules in privately owned establishments….the list goes on and on. The government is out of control and the very groundrules on which these arguements are based on are outside the enumerated powers.

We don’t need a fence on the border with mexico, we need a fence around Washington DC.

Wine_N_Dine on January 21, 2011 at 11:55 AM

Badger40 on January 21, 2011 at 11:28 AM

I live in SD and early on in the internet age we had a rather forward looking Governor (Janklow) who saw it as a wave of the future and put a lot of state money into the basic infrastructure state-wide. He worked especially hard to get service to all the rural schools. But, to my mind, that is exactly the sort of thing that SHOULD be done by the states. He opined at the time that if the state had a responsibility to provide roads etc. then the information highway should count too. And frankly, we aren’t a huge market here in SD. There weren’t any providers beating a path to our lucrative (heh) markets.

So I have broadband in a tiny town in SD, whereas my brother-in-law in a suburb of Indianapolis can’t get it because the providers there won’t go to areas unless there is a certain number of people. I don’t blame them, it is expensive to put in the infrastructure.

Lily on January 21, 2011 at 11:57 AM

The House Energy and Commerce Committee should find a way to penalize the FCC for this over-reach.

Bob in VA on January 21, 2011 at 11:37 AM

The committee should target the FCC for a congressional waterboarding and ultimately killing their funding. They should make such a bloody fuss over Genachowski that he couldn’t avoid being in the White Houses’ crosshairs before the 2012 campaign!

cartooner on January 21, 2011 at 12:01 PM

Relentless pursuit of profit… as opposed to the relentless pursuit of debt?

reaganaut on January 21, 2011 at 11:52 AM

Great line! I may steal it.

cartooner on January 21, 2011 at 12:04 PM

Lily on January 21, 2011 at 11:57 AM

I agree with you. It should be the business of the states to make sure their citizens have access to utilities like this.

Badger40 on January 21, 2011 at 12:05 PM

They better make a permanent fix now when they can. Otherwise, this will be back.

Mirimichi on January 21, 2011 at 1:10 PM

The ONLY roll the FCC should have is to referee the frequency spectrum for transmissions–that’s it!

cartooner on January 21, 2011 at 11:46 AM

The FCC should be auctioning leases for broadcast bandwidth (returning money to the treasury), and its only regulatory powers should be over interference. Signals over wires, by their nature, are not finite resources (add a wire), where signals over the air need management.

AS a finite resource, blocks of frequency spectrum should be leased for reasonable time periods (if you have to build a radio for a particular band and depreciate it fully, 5 years is pretty short). So your local TV station could lease the bandwidth for channel 4 (66-72 MHz) in a specific geographic region for 10 years, maybe with an option to renew, and use it for a video channel, wireless networking, cellphones, radio, or whatever they want. If they went bankrupt, the remaining lease would be an asset subject to sale. The FCC’s role should not have anything to do with content or usage once the lease is signed.

cthulhu on January 21, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Lily on January 21, 2011 at 11:57 AM

I loved Janklow. He did a lot for SD. Especially when he would get into some verbal spats with the governor of MN. He got a lot of jobs/companies to leave MN and go to SD because of MN’s worker comp laws.

Mirimichi on January 21, 2011 at 1:17 PM

No I have no problem with member-owned co-op utilities like we have out here in rural areas getting a little extra help bcs let’s face it, none of us out here would even have gotten electricity to this very day yet if there weren’t such things.

Badger40 on January 21, 2011 at 11:28 AM

And I don’t mind paying taxes for helping you. Without federal programs earlier in this century, much of rural America would still be reading by candlelight and using wringer-washers. Sometimes it really is worth it to bring everyone else up to speed.

Dark-Star on January 21, 2011 at 1:24 PM

“We are piling on fewer regulations than we really wanted to. Frankly, we’d rather just nationalize the whole thing. They should be thanking us.” she added.

Someone else said this about the oil companies.

Mirimichi on January 21, 2011 at 1:29 PM

And I don’t mind paying taxes for helping you. Without federal programs earlier in this century, much of rural America would still be reading by candlelight and using wringer-washers. Sometimes it really is worth it to bring everyone else up to speed.

Dark-Star on January 21, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Agree. There are cases where big government is needed to get some things done. But, we don’t need big government to run everything in our lives.

Mirimichi on January 21, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Dark-Star on January 21, 2011 at 1:24 PM

Agree. There are cases where big government is needed to get some things done. But, we don’t need big government to run everything in our lives.

Mirimichi on January 21, 2011 at 1:31 PM

Agreed on both counts.

Dark-Star on January 21, 2011 at 1:32 PM

Two things would make the whole “neutrality” problem go away: transparency and competition. Transparency so you know they’re shafting you and how; competition so there’s an alternate vendor. Presumably some carrier will realize there’s a market for customers who don’t appreciate being shafted. Done.

Kenosha Kid on January 21, 2011 at 1:58 PM

There’s another term for the

relentless pursuit of profit

.

It’s called capitalism, and it’s what built this nation. We should be thanking you? Who the **** do you think you are? Hugo Frickin’ Chavez?

What a maroon.

hillbillyjim on January 21, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Just abolish the Fascist Communist Commission.

Any worthwhile stuff it does (like refereeing frequency assignments) can be handled by a small office with maybe a staff of 10, buried somewhere inside Commerce.

landlines on January 21, 2011 at 3:27 PM

All of those power lines running to your home were installed by private companies, and are technically owned and operated by private companies. The government does not own the power poles in front of your house, nor did the government run all the cable or install all the transformers.

So, that being said, should your power company be able to change things around so that only appliances you buy from them will run on the power they provide to your house?

I’m very pro-business, and really think most government regulation sucks, but I also think we have to be careful not to let business have too much power either, and they are grasping more and more power and control. As the begin to gobble up the smaller companies they also begin to be the new lords and masters of what company lives, and what company dies. Some neat little service starts up that wants to afford people some desired product for cheap? The big boys check it out, gobble it up and charge more, OR they create their own version choke off the little guys air supply and charge more. We get screwed, and competition is often little more than an illusion. A lovely principle that I firmly believe in, but more and more becoming a hall of mirrors.

flyfishingdad on January 21, 2011 at 7:54 PM

flyfishingdad:

I suspect you don’t actually believe in competition or the free market.

And if a company could get away with doing “changing things around so only their appliances will work” then, yep. Their lines, their labor, their property. You don’t *have* to do business with them.

Vancomycin on January 21, 2011 at 8:09 PM

MetroPCS accused of blocking certain Net content | CNET News http://t.co/zLuTsZc Carrier playing fast and loose with Net neutrality

TheBigOldDog on January 21, 2011 at 8:21 PM

flyfishingdad:

I suspect you don’t actually believe in competition or the free market.

And if a company could get away with doing “changing things around so only their appliances will work” then, yep. Their lines, their labor, their property. You don’t *have* to do business with them.

Vancomycin on January 21, 2011 at 8:09 PM

Unfortunately, you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the arrangement. In order to invest in running lines to homes, companies applied for, and were granted monopoly status. In return for exclusive rights, they agreed to regulation as utilities. That means, in part, their rates are negotiated with the government and guaranteed. Consumers have no choice in the matter. If the want gas, lights, cable, water, etc., they have to use the monopoly and pay the rates the government says they must pay for the service.

For many, many years, telephone service was just such a monopoly utility and it was against the law for you to install ANY DEVICE that was not provided by Ma Bell. That changed when MA Bell was sued under antitrust and broken up. The lines, which were essentially paid for by the public under a forced monopoly became accessible, by law, by any carrier that chose to compete in the telephone market. The Baby Bells were forced to provide equal access to an infrastructure that was paid for by the people, at inflated, regulated rates for decades.

TheBigOldDog on January 21, 2011 at 8:35 PM

“Verizon is trying to be too cute in trying to pick not only the venue for the challenge to the rules, but also to pick the judges to hear it.”

Why shouldn’t Verizon seek the 10th Circuit? They do business there.

The reason the Free Press is so out of joint, is they know this is one really pissed off justice. Just after the FCC was told they had no statutory authority over the internet, Julius flies in his face and reclaims it.

What chutzpah!

Corky Boyd on January 21, 2011 at 8:37 PM

There’s another term for the

relentless pursuit of profit

.

It’s called capitalism, and it’s what built this nation. We should be thanking you? Who the **** do you think you are? Hugo Frickin’ Chavez?

What a maroon.

hillbillyjim on January 21, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Do people really have such a simplistic view of utility monopolies and they way they work?

TheBigOldDog on January 21, 2011 at 8:39 PM

To be honest, I’m not sure what to think about this stuff.
The Internet is just basically a virtual assembly ground.
And don’t we have to the right to assemble?

Badger40 on January 21, 2011 at 10:16 AM

The question becomes: What are you allowed to do on the virtual assembly ground? Verizon wants to limit you. They don’t want you downloading your own television shows from Hulu.com (or whereever) — legally or not — because they provide, with their FIOS service, television access. Ditto for VOIP — if you want to build out your own phone system via Skype or whatever — they can stop you. So, without Net Neutrality, they get to block any content you want to see — or even content you want to provide — if they feel it’s competitive with their services.

That’s what Net Neutrality is designed to prevent. Within the confines of your contract (speed/bandwidth), you are free to upload or to download anything legal. New applications can appear which compete with (and are potentially better than) services provided by your ISP, and you are free to access them OR TO PROVIDE THEM via Internet service provided by your ISP.

unclesmrgol on January 22, 2011 at 3:03 PM