In no way is the title of this post meant to be against the concept of net neutrality. Quite the opposite, in fact. That being said, considering how directly connected the telecommunications industry is to the political machine in the United States, I’ve pretty much given up hope for true net neutrality being implemented.
I suppose the FCC should be commended for going forward with the concept, as watered down as their version is, but there’s a real sense that whatever version the United States receives will have the fingerprints of AT&T, Verizon, Time-Warner and any other powerful telecom entity in the United States all over what gets adopted. Considering AT&T’s burning love for capping its Internet customers, as well as their oft-discussed political influence via the purchase of various politicians, and the Supreme Court’s previous acquiescence to Verizon over the FCC, and it’s easy to see why this particular writer isn’t holding his breath for true net neutrality in the United States.
Editorials aside, the FCC has officially laid down the soon-to-be cast aside guidelines for what net neutrality adherence would mean in the United States. The rules, courtesy of an FCC pdf, are as follows:
i. Transparency. Fixed and mobile broadband providers must disclose the network management practices, performance characteristics, and terms and conditions of their broadband services;
ii. No blocking. Fixed broadband providers may not block lawful content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices; mobile broadband providers may not block lawful websites, or block applications that compete with their voice or video telephony services; and
iii. No unreasonable discrimination. Fixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic.
These “three basic rules” should be the backbone of any Internet network — in a perfect world, anyway — but we already know that AT&T and Verizon oppose these rules, thanks to their desire to turn the Internet into a 21st century cable television subscription package, and when you consider the sway these corporate entities have over the very government that supposedly backs the FCC, you can see why it’s hard to be optimistic about net neutrality being truly adopted in the United States.
With that in mind, at least the FCC is giving it the old college try. These net neutrality provisions are scheduled to become active rules on November, 20th of this year, but it’s doubtful these rules go unchallenged by the corporate masters who rule the telecommunications industry.