Verizon: We Still Hate Net Neutrality And Hope It Loses, But We Love Net Neutrality!

Image courtesy of chrismar

Verizon is at it again: with a ruling on net neutrality likely to show up in the next few weeks, they are falling all over themselves to talk about how much they love net neutrality and what it protects, while explaining that they hate the rule that’s been put in place to protect net neutrality, and think it could ruin everything.

“Verizon is committed to an open internet,” begins the corporate blog post from the company that sued the FCC to get the 2010 net neutrality rule thrown out.

The post then outlines several of the large investments, purchases, and mergers Verizon has made in recent years, like its 2015 acquisition of AOL. “These investments would be at risk without an open Internet,” Verizon exec Craig Silliman writes. “Now more than ever, we see protecting an open Internet as a business imperative that is inextricably tied to our future success.”

We agree with Silliman about the importance of the open internet, but Verizon seems to have a different opinion on protecting it than we do.

It’s far from the first time Verizon has tried a similar argument; they posted in 2014 that enacting a strong open internet rule would only ruin everything. Later that same year, they said that actually, their investments would be fine, but they’d still sue anyway — a threat they, and others, followed through on nearly a year ago.

Oral arguments in the case were heard in December and the court is expected to issue its ruling basically any day now — March or April was always the forecast time frame.

Verizon expects the ruling soon, they say, and they put out their message to get in front of it. “We don’t know how the court will rule,” Silliman writes. “The court could reverse the FCC completely, uphold the FCC completely, or issue a mixed decision.”

In the event that the court reverses or partially reverses the FCC’s action, though, Verizon has a few polite suggestions about what the future of net neutrality should look like instead. Although they have directly benefited from Title II regulation, they want it to go away. And instead, they want it to be replaced with rules that prohibit blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization explicitly, as well as including a general conduct rule.

That sure does sound familiar. Almost as if it’s exactly what the FCC did. Hmm.

Verizon generously lets the FCC off the hook a little bit, though, and deflects some of the blame for the Federal Communications Commission trying to follow their mandate to regulate how telecommunications companies work to Congress.

“In the past we have criticized the FCC for applying outdated rules to the fast-moving Internet ecosystem,” writes Silliman. “We still think that’s true, but let’s be fair: Congress hasn’t updated the FCC’s toolbox for over 20 years, so the FCC is working with the only tools it has, however inadequate. Congress can give the FCC the tools it needs to do this properly and on a legally sustainable basis.”

“It should do so,” he adds, as if getting Congress actually to agree on and pass any laws in the Year Of Our Election 2016 was a thing likely to happen.

Meanwhile, despite all of the Chicken-Little warnings and the lawsuits, investment has not dried up — not at Verizon or any other major ISP — and the internet continues to turn.

[via DSL Reports]

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