Small ISPs Like Sonic Join The Legal Battle To Preserve Net Neutrality
from the capped-and-throttled dept
The coalition attempting to reverse the Trump FCC’s attack on net neutrality continues to grow. INCOMPAS, a trade group representing a number of smaller ISPs like Sonic and RCN, says it has filed a Petition (pdf) in the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia challenging the FCC’s misleadingly-titled “Restoring Internet Freedom” Order. INCOMPAS joins Mozilla, Vimeo, numerous consumer groups and 23 state attorneys general in claiming that the FCC violated agency policy when it ignored the public, ignored the experts, and decided to give a sloppy wet kiss to the nation’s entrenched broadband monopolies.
While FCC boss Ajit Pai frequently tries to claim that the FCC’s modest net neutrality protections were a terrible burden on small ISPs, his claims pretty routinely aren’t supported by actual facts and hard data (remember those?). In a statement, INCOMPAS members make it clear that giving entrenched monopolies like AT&T and Comcast free rein to abuse a lack of broadband competition in creative new ways isn’t going to end well for them:
“The American people do not want the internet to look more like cable, where prices rise, customer service falls, and gatekeepers control what you watch, read and pay…As we watch the AT&T-Time Warner antitrust trial unfolding, it’s clear large ISPs fear a competitive streaming marketplace. Their desire to gobble up content, rather than creating it from scratch, is a sign that anti-competitive interconnection practices and paid prioritization schemes are on the horizon unless strong net neutrality protections are preserved.”
And while AT&T and friends like to pretend that the rules derailed their ability to be “innovative,” you might recall Sonic CEO Dane Jasper told us how the rules are only really a “regulatory burden” if you’re engaging in anti-competitive behavior. And in his own statement, Jasper reiterates the fact that if you’re a small business owner that doesn’t support net neutrality, you’re doing it wrong:
“Net neutrality has always been critical for small businesses and start-ups to compete in the internet age. When the FCC eliminated those protections, it opened the door for large, incumbent ISPs to use their gatekeeper position to put a stranglehold on innovation and competition. As an ISP, Sonic believes every American should have access to fast and affordable internet. The repeal of net neutrality threatens this vision, and we’re proud to support INCOMPAS in challenging the FCC’s disastrous Order in Court.”
We’re in for a quiet stretch here before the legal fight begins (likely sometime this summer), but when the case begins we should get some interesting additional insight into the numerous, laughable efforts the industry and FCC engaged in to try and downplay massive public opposition to their policy ploy. In the interim, we’ve noted how ISPs are busy trying to pass fake net neutrality law in the hopes of pre-empting states laws and preventing the 2015 rules from being re-established should the FCC lose in court.