The Courts Overturn the Net Neutrality Rules

Well, I had been trying to avoid blogging about Telecom issues to start things out. I actually had a completely different plan for today. With the Court ruling this week, I feel obliged to say a few things.

First off, nothing is likely to change in the immediate future. The Internet Service Providers know that if they discriminate blindly on content then they will be brought to heel.

I want to make it clear that I have opinions on all of this and views on what we should do. But I want to start with a much more important thing. Information. One of the first links to my blog came from a site that had posts about Telecom regulatory issues. I had never seen the site before and the information that was posted was incorrect. Not an subjective issue but a series of incorrect technical statements. That bothered me as I can imagine that people reading it could not make good decisions based on the information presented.

Well, back to why I am posting this, the court had no choice. The FCC has ruled that Internet Service is an "Information Service" and so they have no regulatory power over it. So, setting rules in place through the Net Neutrality rules was essentially a non-starter. But I think this is not the question for each of us. I think what we need to decide is what we want.

I can tell you what an Internet Service Providers wants. They want to make more money. They want to do so with the minimum investment. That is what they should want. Our job is to set up a regulatory environment that works for us and doesn't drive the carriers out of business.

The political side of this is a mess. If you believe that the FCC is not a political body, it is because you have never been there. The FCC consists of two different groups. The first is the Staff which are the long term bureaucrats that work the details of all the issues. The second are the Commissioner's Offices and they are political appointees working their way through their careers. There only a handful of technical folks on the Staff and none in the commissioner's Offices. The rest are generally lawyers who are working on policy issues. The other group is Congress who sets up the laws that the FCC administers. To be clear Congress does not break left and right on this issue. Telecom Regulation in Congress is a money issue. The last Telecom Act was in 1996, before the pervasiveness of the Internet. So, even if they were wonderful people the job at the FCC would be nearly impossible to get right.

So, where do we go from here. As I have written, I have my views and I will be posting them. But before we get there, I will start using Friday as my "Post about Net Neutrality" days. These will be more technical than business oriented. I will put them in a context for the lay person. I will hope to make them as correct as possible and ask my telecom readers fix my mistakes.

I have given many public speeches on this topic and they have generally been well attended. I think for each of us our current lives are greatly impacted by these issues. It is important that we have some basic understanding of what is going on and why it is so.

Finally, Monday I want to talk about 1 more specific personnel issue at Tellabs. Reminder to you all about my Lunch and Learns (Click HERE!) and Have a great weekend!

Jim Sackman
FocalPoint Business Coaching
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