Michael Grotticelli /
10.26.2009 08:28 AM
Critics attack FCC's net neutrality proposal

The opposition to the FCC's net neutrality proposal is wasting no time voicing their resistance and getting their proverbial ducks in a row. Almost simultaneously with the FCC's action on net neutrality, Verizon chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg criticized the commission's proposal in a speech at SuperComm in Chicago.

And just as quickly, U.S. Senator John McCain, R-AZ, has introduced legislation that would block the FCC from creating new net neutrality rules. He introduced the bill on the same day the FCC voted to begin its rulemaking.

Verizon’s Seidenberg said the FCC misreads how innovation happens. "Our industry has shown that we can work with the government as well as our partners and competitors to achieve mutually desirable goals of more competition, consumer choice and broadband expansion," Seidenberg said. "But we can't achieve these ends if we interrupt the flow of private capital and delay the cascading productivity impacts of a more networked world."

Seidenberg took issue with "proponents of net neutrality" who suggest that "network providers like Verizon and applications providers like Google, Amazon and others occupy fundamentally different parts of the Internet ecosystem — a binary world of 'dumb pipes' on the one hand and 'smart applications' on the other."

Earlier this month, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets president and CEO Ralph de la Vega also criticized the FCC. “Before we begin ‘fixing’ what isn't broken, we need to be thoughtful about the consequences. We believe the marketplace today is vibrant, and there is no need to burden the mobile Internet with onerous new regulations,” said de la Vega.

“Imposing new regulations on an intensely-competitive market that has been such a phenomenal success could have unforeseen consequences for jobs, investment, innovation, networks, and how the industry structures and prices services to customers.”

Meanwhile, McCain’s legislation, called the Internet Freedom Act, would prevent the FCC from enacting rules prohibiting broadband providers from selectively blocking or slowing Internet content and applications. Net neutrality rules would create “onerous federal regulation,” McCain said.

McCain, who ran against President Obama as the 2008 Republican nominee, called the proposed net neutrality rules a “government takeover” of the Internet that will stifle innovation and depress an “already anemic” job market in the United States.

He protested the FCC’s proposal that wireless broadband providers be included in the net neutrality rules. The wireless industry has “exploded over the past 20 years due to limited government regulation,” McCain said.

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