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Verizon Playing Dangerous Game in Net Neutrality Battle

First, a little background on net neutrality itself. The framework of rules developed by the FCC is intended to ensure an even playing field for all on the Internet, and prevent Internet service providers like Verizon or Comcast from blocking certain content, or giving preferential treatment to other content.

In that case, Verizon simply asserted that the FCC was exceeding the bounds of its authority. Nevertheless, according to the FCC site, "The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The FCC's jurisdiction covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. possessions." That sweeping charter appears to grant the FCC the exact authority Verizon claims it doesn't have.

Second, the FCC net neutrality rules don't to tell the truth inhibit an ISP's ability to express itself freely. Pursuant to this agreement the FCC rules, Verizon is free to publish whatever content it chooses--it simply can't block or discriminate against other content as a matter of business practice.

The fact of the matter is the vast majority of the data traversing the ISP's network doesn't belong to the ISP to begin with. An argument could be made that by throttling or blocking traffic Verizon is as a matter of fact the party guilty of stepping on the First Amendment rights of others.

Part of the underlying problem is the fact that the major ISPs are as well content providers. Verizon has a vested interest in preventing Netflix traffic because it has itsown streaming entertainment services. Comcast is owned by NBC, so it could gain a strategic advantage for its own content by throttling the bandwidth for rival networks. The simple solution is for Congress to impose regulations banning ISPs from delivering their own content, or being owned by companies that publish or deliver content.

The net neutrality rules recommended

If the net neutrality rules recommended by the FCC to keep the Internet fair and open to all seem too draconian for Verizon, like as not the problem is that Verizon the ISP needs to be separated from Verizon the cable TV provider, or Verizon the wireless broadband provider, or Verizon the VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone provider.

What do you think? Does the Verizon First Amendment claim have merit? Should Verizon and other ISPs be allowed to throttle or block certain network traffic? Or, do you think the FCC net neutrality rules are valid and necessary?

More information: Idg