War for the Web
04 10.11

Telcos across the world unite…… in opposition to regulation.

Two things.

First, Verizon has filed suit against the FCC, claiming that the FCC has no right to regulate the Internet based on the 2005 rule change that reclassified all telcos as “Information Services.” As Ars Technica notes, this is the second time that Verizon has sued the FCC in the last several months. The first time the case was dismissed because the rules that Verizon is suing over had not been published yet. Ars Technica has the details.

It is fair to say that Verizon has been proactive about heading off what it considers threats to “an open internet.” They certainly don’t want the government regulating what they can charge, how they can deliver service, or what they can offer over their lines. That said, as we mentioned in a previous post Free Press, the organization pressing strongly for enforced Network Neutrality is also suing the FCC over the rules they just released. Neither side is happy with the new rules.

Second and definitely more exciting, The European Commission for Digital Technology is reviewing the rates that European telcos charge to lease their lines to local providers. The commission is concerned that the rates are so high and so profitable for the line owners that they prevent the telcos from investing in newer, faster infrastructure like Fiber. This is definitely a valid concern. In response, the Telcos are concerned about devaluing high speed Internet connections. They don’t want to cut pricing on their copper infrastructure because they fear that it will prevent them from charging even higher, perhaps necessarily higher given the investment costs, prices for the faster broadband that the commission wants deployed throughout Europe by 2020. It is an extremely interesting debate, and one that is very relevant for the United States. The European model that currently exists allows for more competition in the consumer marketplace than the American system. Seeing how this issue gets resolved is extremely relevant for the future of the Internet in the United States. War for the Web will be watching the Commission’s actions closely.

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