Many are unfamiliar with how the internet works. In sum, the internet is simply a massive network of billions of devices connected together over TCP/IP. Connecting these networks requires peering agreements between different Internet Service Providers (ISP). These peering agreements are arrangements by which ISPs agree to carry traffic. These peering arrangements have always been the source of heated debate and lately it’s been simply ridiculous.
The answer to all of this tomfoolery is to make ISPs common carriers and thus properly regulate them. In an article by Arstechnica.com former FCC commissioner Michael Copps stated his solution:
The DC Circuit Court of Appeals pointed the way out of the dilemma created when the Commission reclassified broadband as an “information service” over ten years ago. The Court held that the Commission has authority to make decisions on broadband and that these decisions are entitled to considerable deference by the judiciary. The FCC could have decided on a different path and still garnered court approval. Importantly, it can also change course if it justifies the reasons for the change.
What the judges said last week was that the Commission justified its Open Internet rules the wrong way. Had the agency just kept treating advanced telecommunications as “telecommunications,” its Internet Freedom rules would have passed muster. But by calling broadband an “information service,” the FCC put it beyond the reach of Title II which applies to telecommunications. And Title II is where such things as consumer protections, privacy guarantees, public safety, and ubiquitous build-out requirements pertain. Who, other than the big companies trying to gain market power over broadband, would ever have argued that Congress intended broadband communications to be stripped of such elemental consumer and public interest protections?
The time is now for the FCC to classify broadband as Title II. Without this step, we are playing fast-and-loose with the most opportunity-creating technology in all of communications history. Without this step, we are guaranteeing an Internet future of toll-booths, gatekeepers, and preferential carriage. Without this step, we stifle innovation, put consumers under the thumb of special interests, and pull the props from under the kind of rich civic dialogue that only open and non-discriminatory communications can provide.
The internet needs this now more than ever. This is not just about your Netflix or Hulu buffering endlessly this is about real-world business suffering from the greed of ISPs. Level3, of the largest ISPs in the USA, stated that ISPs are deliberately harming service. See this recent PCMag.com article.