No Matter What, Internet User Needs Ignored

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-01-22 Print this article Print

5. What about the consumers?

Lost amid the conversation over whether the FCC or Verizon is right in their arguments on net neutrality is the consumer. What is really right for the average customer who is paying service providers fees every month for access to the Internet? The FCC believes it's acting in the favor of the average U.S. consumer. But that's debatable. Much of what has been said so far revolves around the power of corporations compared to that of government organizations. All the while, the consumer and the business customer are the pawns in that game.

6. Verizon can't be trusted.

Verizon contends that it and the industry have the ability to manage themselves when it comes to net neutrality. But let's face it: What have Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and the like done to earn that trust? ISPs are among the most disliked organizations in the world, and a key component in the entire net-neutrality debate whether to place even minimal regulation on their operation. Sorry, but until Verizon proves it can be trusted to do the right thing for consumers, it probably should be managed by some sort of higher authority.

7. The FCC can't be trusted.

Of course, deciding which higher authority should manage Verizon is tough to say. As mentioned, the FCC's rules regarding net neutrality are strikingly similar to those that Verizon and Google suggested last year. In light of that, some might be right to wonder if the government organization is really looking out for customers or simply giving them a few benefits without actually doing enough to change the state of Web access in the United States. Until the FCC can prove that it's willing to dismiss corporate desire and offer something on its own, who knows if it can be trusted?

8. It's a deregulation argument.

Over the past few years, as the Great Recession affected millions around the globe, the issue of "deregulation" became a hot topic. Folks on either side of the debate made equally compelling arguments as to why regulation is or is not necessary. Verizon's argument against the FCC is one of deregulation, as well. The company and its competitors want to regulate themselves. But now some might wonder if the deregulation argument that has dominated the financial sector should start making its way to the Web.

9. It's Comcast all over again.

Last year, the same court that Verizon has brought its suit to ruled in favor of Comcast in its own fight against the FCC. The court ruled unanimously that the government organization overstepped its boundaries by cracking down on the service provider for impeding some of its customers' ability to access Web traffic. It was a ruling that was panned by many in the FCC's corner, and it helped fuel the debate over net neutrality. This time around, Verizon is hoping to follow in Comcast's footsteps with a victory of its own. But unlike Comcast, which got a black eye over its court battle, Verizon must ensure that it doesn't come out of its own legal bout looking anti-consumer. Not only would it hurt the company from a brand-perception perspective, but being viewed as anti-consumer could push customers with alternative service options elsewhere. The risk simply isn't worth the reward.

10. It doesn't push the solution forward.

Even after the FCC offered up its own solution for net neutrality, the debate over what needed to be done wasn't over. But if nothing else, the FCC at least got the ball rolling toward some kind of solution. Realizing that, Verizon's decision to start a legal battle over net neutrality isn't helping matters much, and it could push a solution even further away. And those on both sides of the debate can agree that pushing a real solution away is something that just won't work right now. 


Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

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