California simply has some motivated politicians seeking to capitalize on the state’s animus toward the FCC, Washington, the Red States, and the Trump Administration with a symbolic act of rebellion. Net neutrality is a California export, so in some sense it’s fitting for it to come home.
Changing ISPs from their historic status to Title II is a move the FCC can’t make without Congressional authorization. This is especially true given the 1996 Telecommunications Act clearly declares ISPs to be information services. There is no clue in the ’96 Act that substituting dial-up for broadband changes the nature of ISP service.
Their problem in the long tail of pirates, scammers, and amateurs who impose costs on the platform but don’t generate revenue. That’s a business model issue that should concern Alphabet. It’s not an excuse for making artists pay for YouTube’s content-related costs out of their own pockets to support piracy.
Trump Administration gadfly American Oversight is circulating a collection of 1,300 pages of email it obtained from the FCC through a FOIA request. The emails, related to the meltdowns experienced by the FCC’s comment system following HBO personality John Oliver’s comedy bits on net neutrality in 2014 and 2018, fail to disclose any new information.
At a minimum, Facebook needs to reorganize the company in such a way that a single CEO can exercise effective control over its major pieces. An Alphabet-like reshuffling with a new level of management would at least signal seriousness about improvement.
Senate Democrats and their pals in Silicon Valley and in the media had a good day. But life goes on and the serious issues remain to be addressed. That’s why it’s not merely a talking point to say that bi-partisan legislation absolutely needs to be written for the orderly regulation of entire Internet.
The peril of net neutrality is stagnation. If we force the Internet back to the traditional straight jackets, this fully competitive future may never arrive. I’m not willing to take that risk when lawmakers are so blind to the reality of the Internet that they can float this “one word at a time” nonsense with a straight face.