The long-simmering opposition to the Federal Communication Commission's recently adopted rules to protect Net neutrality is starting to intensify. In a strongly worded three-page letter addressed to the congressional committee leaders with jurisdiction over the FCC, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam urged Congress to play a more active role in setting policy for the Internet.
"The FCC went far beyond open Internet rules," McAdam said, "engaging in a radical and risky experiment to change the very policy that resulted in the United States leading the world in the Internet economy."
Verizon's push for congressional legislation is merely the latest front in the battle to roll back the FCC's regulations. Already, two lawsuits have been filed alleging that the FCC exceeded its authority when it adopted the new regulations and reclassified broadband Internet service as a utility.
Last week the United States Telecom Association, an industry group that includes AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink, filed suit, as well as Texas-based Alamo Broadband.
Much of McAdam's objection to the FCC action centers on the fact that Congress has not done enough to keep up with the technological changes that have reshaped the telecommunication industry.
"It has been two decades since the last meaningful update of the laws governing the communications section. That's too long," McAdams said. "In that time, technology and markets have gone through several cycles, while law and policy have stood still."
Among other things, McAdams pointed out that during the same 20-year period, Internet access speeds increased from 128-kilobits-per-second to today's "near-ubiquitous 4G mobile data coverage" and high-speed broadband.
The problem, McAdams argued, is that the FCC is trying to apply rules created for the 1930s to the present. "A 21st-century policy framework could address these issues."
FCC Chairman Wheeler Is Confident
In a speech Friday to the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler seemed largely unconcerned about the legal mortar fire aimed at the FCC.
He opened his speech by reiterating his belief that far from stifling innovation, the Net neutrality rules will enhance it.
"The open Internet allows innovation to come from anyone, anywhere. All you need is a computer and a broadband connection," Wheeler said, "and you can introduce new products, services, or ideas to a global audience -- and this is the key part -- without asking anyone’s permission. The marketplace, not some gatekeeper, gets to pick winners and losers. This simple reality has allowed inventors in dorm rooms and garages to launch startups that toppled powerful incumbents to become world-leading companies."
After noting in passing that a Verizon attorney conceded in open court that his company would already be looking into the possibility of setting up so-called "fast lanes" for Internet access, Wheeler predicted that the FCC's regulations would not be overturned.
"One final prediction: The FCC’s new rules will be upheld by the courts," he said. "The D.C. Circuit sent the previous Open Internet Order back to us and basically said, 'You're trying to impose common carrier-like regulation without stepping up and saying, these are common carriers.' " We have addressed that issue, which is the underlying issue in all of the debates we've had so far. That gives me great confidence going forward that we will prevail."
Posted: 2015-03-31 @ 10:11am PT
McAdam wants Congress, whose vote can be affected by him giving money, to make laws that will be beneficial to his stock options.
As to America being leaders in the Internet; we're 25th in broadband speed, behind industrial titans like the Republic of Moldova.