Verizon and the rest of the country’s biggest Internet service providers joined forces this month to argue that so-called “common carrier” regulations for utilities shouldn’t be applied to broadband. Such rules would force the ISPs to innovate less and spend less money than they do today on network upgrades, they argue.
Yet Verizon obtains a variety of perks from the government for its FiOS Internet service by using public utility rules to its advantage, a new report drawing on public documents says.
This isn’t a new practice and it isn’t illegal, but it could become part of the debate over network neutrality rules and the transition from heavily regulated landline phone networks to Internet-based voice service.
“It’s the secret that’s been hiding in plain sight,” said Harold Feld, senior VP of consumer advocacy group Public Knowledge and an expert on the FCC and telecommunications. “At the exact moment that these guys are complaining about how awful Title II is, they are trying to enjoy all the privileges of Title II on the regulated side.”
“There’s nothing illegal about it,” Feld, who wasn’t involved in writing the report, told Ars. However, “as a political point this is very useful.”….