As we gear up to defend and protect the net neutrality rules, parties on both sides are speaking up. One particular group, small Internet Service Providers, claim that the Federal Communication Commission’s 2015 Open Internet Order has been a death sentence for them, hindering their ability to invest and compete in the market. These small ISPs have taken to advocating against net neutrality rules but there is something missing from their claims: substance.
Internet Service Providers and their allies sometimes act as though net neutrality advocates are picking on them for no good reason, as though we selected their industry out of a hat. But the internet access market is unique in several ways, which is precisely what justifies treating them as common carriers, who are obligated to offer a nondiscriminatory service on reasonable terms. Since net neutrality, which was thought to be a settled issue, has become unsettled again, it’s time to review some of the features of the broadband market that show why net neutrality rules are essential.
Today, the Federal Communications Commission approved a controversial Order deregulating incumbent pricing power in the business data services (“BDS”) market. BDS are high-capacity broadband connections purchased by businesses of all sizes as well as schools, libraries, and government agencies. The Order will permit incumbent telephone carriers to raise prices on business broadband customers across most of the United States.
Today, Public Knowledge, along with other public interest organizations, filed comments in response to the Federal Communications Commission’s Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on competition in the high-speed broadband “business data services” (BDS) market.