How One Little Cable Company Exposed Telecom’s Achilles’ Heel

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[Commentary] The details of the network neutrality rules adopted by the Federal Communications Commission in February 2015 were not important to AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Spectrum, or CenturyLink. What was important was the idea that any part of the government might have enforceable oversight over their data transmission services or charges. That’s what they can’t stand; that’s what they would do anything to avoid. And that’s what they are working to undo: the FCC’s classification of them as “common carriers” under “Title II” of the Telecommunications Act. That classification gave the FCC the legal authority to say something to the carriers about treating internet traffic fairly. No classification, no “net neutrality” rule. The trouble for the carriers is that the classification carries with it the risk that their businesses will be treated, someday, as the utility services they are. Net neutrality: not risky. Classification: risky. If people begin noticing that there’s no competition, that Americans are paying too much for too little, and that the entire country is suffering as a result, that’s a big problem for Big Cable.


How One Little Cable Company Exposed Telecom’s Achilles’ Heel