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Stop this crazy crusade! Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon scold FCC over net neutrality

Lengthy filing by Internet Association highlights value of today's rules

Paper by paper

It then name-checks and body-slams the analyses used by the FCC to argue for getting rid of the current rules:

  • Nurski's working paper from 2012 only focuses on the UK and is "not directly relevant."
  • Hazlett and Wright's 2016 paper questioning the economic benefits of net neutrality is "not exclusively concerned with infrastructure investment."
  • Hal Singer's work that argues there has been a reduction in investment is "anecdotal" and "relies on simple year-on-year 6‑month period comparisons and only for a small set of companies." The result is not statistically significant.
  • George Ford's 2017 paper is "theoretically incoherent" and uses an "inappropriate control group" of too few companies in the wrong industries.
  • The Free State Foundation blog post "is a chart with no author, no data sources, no statistical analysis."
  • And the recent paper from Faulhaber, Singer and Urschel that complains about the "lack of economic analysis" around net neutrality has itself been heavily critiqued by another paper as "biased analysis" – a claim that the paper was funded by the ISP industry.

In short, the Internet Association argues, "there is no credible evidence of network operator industry harm."

Legal foundation

It then goes on to argue the point that the FCC should not scrap rules that took years to arrive at, and which have been upheld in the law courts, without having a solid legal basis on which to base new rules.

In other words, the FCC should stick with its current "Type II" classification of broadband providers – which effectively makes them utilities – until there is a new law or a different legal foundation.

Currently ISPs are claiming that they are willing to abide by all the concepts in the Open Internet Order:

  • No blocking, throttling or paid prioritization of internet traffic by ISPs.
  • No unreasonable interference or disadvantaging of lawful internet traffic.
  • Enhanced transparency.

But they just don't like the outdated Type II classification.

Of course, no one honestly believes this, but the Internet Association decides to take them at their word and argues that it is a mistake to undercut the legal authority to enforce those rules until there is an effective replacement.

It notes that it is "open to alternative legal bases for the rules, either via legislative action codifying the existing net neutrality rules or via sound legal theories offered by the commission."

It also slams the FCC's plans – pushed heavily by new FCC chair Ajit Pai – as containing "no clear alternatives" to the issue identified.

It concludes: "We urge the Commission to maintain strong and enforceable net neutrality rules so that the US internet economy may continue its unparalleled success story and deliver competition and consumer choice to US consumers in the years to come."

In other words: Put an end to this ridiculous charade, Pai. ®

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