For OTT providers, ‘strong’ Net Neutrality may be losing its strength

Don’t look now OTT fans but the net neutrality rules expected to be enacted Thursday by the FCC may turn out to be not as OTT-friendly as it originally appeared they would be.

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn

FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn

When FCC chairman Tom Wheeler unveiled his “fact sheet” on the upcoming rules on Feb. 4, it looked as if the commission was poised to adopt the “strong” version of net neutrality pushed by Netflix and others. According to the fact sheet, the rules would treat interconnection arrangements between ISPs and third-party edge providers as a Title II service subject to the same “just and reasonable” standard that will apply to ISPs’ management of their last-mile networks. Read More »

The next OTT battleground: Zero-rating

The FCC this week is expected to approve on a party-line vote chairman Tom Wheeler’s long-gestating plan to impose new net neutrality rules by reclassifying internet access as a telecommunications service under Title II of the Communications Act, setting in motion a process by which the world will finally get to see the full text of the 308-page Memorandum and Order and begin fighting — almost certainly in court — over its particulars.

TMO1-1149_Baracuda_ALL_R13_03-03One thing that apparently will not be in the order, however, is any bright-line rule banning so-called “zero-rated” data plans offered by wireless operators and ISPs under which particular applications are not counted toward a user’s monthly data cap. Read More »

Net neutrality disconnection?

As ISPs, both large and small, gear up to sue the FCC over its forthcoming net neutrality order, even strong supporters of net neutrality have begun pointing to potential legal problems with the proposal outlined by FCC chairman Tom Wheeler earlier this month. One of biggest we-can-haz-net-neutralitypotential problems, as far as OTT providers are concerned, was flagged by Free Press policy director Matthew Wood. Read More »

Title II, Round 2

Now that we know the broad outlines of the FCC’s forthcoming open internet order the next phase of the battle over net neutrality rules is getting under way. It will be fought out on at least three fronts: in the courts, on Capitol Hill and within the FCC itself.

The main front will be in the courts, where litigation is all but certain to be filed challenging the commission’s decision to reclassify broadband access as a Title II telecommunications service, probably by AT&T, just as soon as the new rules are formally published in the Federal Register. AT&T has already telegraphed its litigation plans, as well as the legal arguments it’s likely to make. Read More »

BlackBerry’s two-sided view of net neutrality

Say what you will about BlackBerry CEO John Chen’s blog post last week calling on policymakers to include application/content neutrality as part of any carrier-centric net neutrality rules — and the reviews have been brutal — but there is an important insight about the evolution of the over-the-top video market lurking inside what is otherwise an impractical proposal.

classic_black_frontChen suggests that broadband providers today “are like the railways of the last century, building the tracks to carry traffic to all points,” but notes that “the railway cars travelling on those tracks are, in today’s internet world, controlled not by the carriers but by content and applications providers.” Read More »