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Net Neutrality Reaction Roundup

Tom Wheeler

Net Neutrality Reaction Roundup

Today the FCC voted on what many consider to be the most important public policy decision of our time. While the regulatory agency’s sudden move towards Title II (and listening to the public instead of corporate interests for a change) surprised many, the reactions to today’s news were rather predictable. The Verge has categorized the most significant ones in an article on their site, but among the most notable are the following:
President Obama, who drew accusations of political meddling and injecting partisanship into the regulatory process, issued a statement supporting the move.

The telecoms were less than pleased. AT&T tried to find a silver lining in the fact that the FCC’s 3-2 vote along partisan lines could easily be reversed as soon as the political winds shifted, while doubling down on their previous promise to attack the new rules in court as well. Comcast joined AT&T in vowing a legal fight.

Fellow telecom giant Verizon, possibly the entity most responsible for these new tougher rules, proved that they at least had a sense of humor about being on the receiving end of the regulatory nuclear option. They issued a pair of statements, one in morse code, the other in a typewriter-style font, cleverly dated 2/26/1934, a reference to the 1934 Communications Act which the FCC will be using to regulate them now.

Democractic Senator and former SNL cast member Al Franken praised the decision, while Republican Senator and former presidential candidate John McCain tweeted that a free and open internet means one “not regulated by federal bureaucrats.”

Tech companies by and large were happy with the plan, with Kickstarter, Microsoft, and Tumblr singing the plan’s praises. Two big advocates of net neutrality, Netflix and Google, were also supportive, but wary of loopholes like those pesky interconnection fees.

Lobbying groups are fuming, with the National Cable and Telecom Association, the Telecommunications Industry Association, the Consumer Electronics Association, and the Cellular Telepone Industries Association all condemning the plan.

Kevin Speedy

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