Cable Companies Are Astroturfing Fake Consumer Support to End Net Neutrality
By Lee Fang Jun 5 2014
Consumer advocates everywhere are demanding that the Federal Communication Commission continue down its current path for shelving net neutrality and allowing a two-tiered internet. That is, if cable company-created front groups and other industry-funded organizations are to be believed.
The controversy, at the moment, rests on a legal distinction. A federal lawsuit filed by Verizon has forced the FCC into a corner by creating a standard under which effective net-neutrality rules—which ensure all internet traffic is treated equally—can only be reached, according to most analysts, by classifying the internet as a “common carrier,” or in other words, a public utility. Such a distinction would allow the FCC to demand that internet service providers, like Comcast or Verizon, are not allowed to create internet slow lanes and fast lanes.
To the surprise of probably no one, ISPs are enraged at the prospect of being classified as a utility and are fighting back. But the attacks are not fully transparent. Many of the organizations protesting a move toward classifying ISPs as a utility, which is the only likely option for enacting net neutrality, are funded by the ISP lobby.