Net Neutrality is not a new thing, although with the number of headlines it has received over the year, you would be forgiven for thinking that it is breaking news. That said, Net Neutrality has become so topical recently, due to the idea of an equal broadband service. For those unfamiliar with the debate, there are two distinct sides. The first believe in freedom. No matter who you are, you should be treated the same, charged the same, receive the same. These are the Net Neutrality supporters. In contrast, the other side believe that those who pay more should get more. Inequality, if you like, and these are (in the current topical climate) considered to be the carriers.
The FCC has long battled with how to control something as ‘open’ as the internet. There are no previous laws to fall back on or use to justify actions, and as such the FCC do not really have a leg to stand on when it comes to forcing carriers to offer an equal broadband experience. Enter Title II. This is the next major player in the broadband Net Neutrality debate, as Title II refers to Title II of the Communications Act, dating all the way back to 1936. The FCC (and the supporters of Net Neutrality) think that if internet service providers (ISPs) can be reclassified as ‘common carriers’ under Title II, then the FCC will be able to enforce Title II legislation, effectively enforcing Net Neutrality and stopping ‘Paid Prioritization’. As you would expect the carriers are against such measures and for obvious reasons.
That is, except Sprint. Stephen Bye (Sprint, CTO) in a letter to the FCC today blatantly stated that Sprint are fine with Title II and that being reclassified as a ‘common carrier’ will not affect how Sprint invests in its network. In fact, Bye went on to describe how the mobile voice sector actually benefitted from being classified under Title II and that competition, not the regulation, it was fuelled and led to the expansion of the market. Bye further went on to state that as long as the FCC employed a ‘light touch’ application of the regulations then it will not affect carriers at all. As long as carriers are able to self-manage their own networks, differentiate their own products and services then reclassification will not make any difference. Which side of the debate do you stand on? Do you think those who are willing to pay more should get preferential treatment? Let us know