Biden administration proposals to reinstate net neutrality rules for U.S. internet services face opposition from Republican senators who say it is a politicized move that would not survive scrutiny judicial.
Plans to revive policies adopted under President Obama come to the light at the end of last month. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel said she plans to call for a vote on reinstating net neutrality, which was rolled back by the Trump administration.
But in an open letter to Rosenworcel, 43 Republican senators called on the FCC chair to rethink things, saying that reinstating “harsh utility regulations” would be a mistake and urging her to “end this charade.”
Net neutrality is certainly a controversial subject in the land of the free, but it was a partisan issue long before the current chairman of the FCC got involved. The seemingly simple idea of requiring broadband internet companies to provide fair and equitable service that does not prioritize any particular content or traffic is a bone of contention that divides opinion.
In their letter, the senators say that Internet growth continues to be “a great American success story” and that “investments in broadband have increased, deployment has increased, speeds have increased, and Internet access has increased. “speed has become more affordable than ever,” while Internet service providers have been freed from the authority of the FCC to regulate them.
The senators also pitted the United States, which they said now has a leading position in adopting “next-generation telecommunications services” like 5G and Wi-Fi 6e, with “telecom providers.” “heavily regulated Internet access in Europe” which they say are struggling to keep up.
Bureaucracy in Europe is probably not the problem
However, one might wonder whether heavy regulation is what is holding back the European deployment of 5G. An article on the British market in the Financial Times earlier this year, they highlighted the lack of sufficient investment from the telcos themselves, who blamed the lack of a “flagship app” that would drive subscriber demand for 5G .
He also highlighted the disruption caused by the British government’s ban on Huawei’s telecommunications equipment, imposed under pressure from Washington.
And like The register Also note, some U.S. states have passed their own net neutrality laws in place of federal regulation. Washington, Oregon, and California passed net neutrality laws in 2018, and Colorado, Maine, New Jersey, and Vermont did so more recently, while other states have supported neutrality of the net through decrees.
The senators argue that reclassifying Internet providers in the United States as Title II public carriers, again giving the FCC the power to regulate them, would “threaten the progress the country has made” and “drive our country out of the fast lane and would steer it towards a world of less competition, less choice, less investment, slower speeds and higher prices.
However, in proposing the restoration of net neutrality, Rosenworcel had claimed that the lack of authority hampered the FCC’s ability to respond to competition concerns, as in many places in the United States where customers do not have the choice of service provider.
In the letter, the senators also say that any attempt by the FCC to restore net neutrality will not survive judicial review, and that the Biden administration should instead focus its efforts on combating what they claim is a waste, fraud and abuse are rampant in federal broadband. subsidy programs.
European telecoms operators want Big Tech to pay… not them – other Big Tech
Meanwhile, in Europe, telecom operators themselves are calling for greater European regulation, but from so-called Big Tech companies, in order to force them to contribute more to the maintenance of networks.
In a open letter At the European Commission and members of the European Parliament, leaders of more than 20 telecommunications companies are calling on EU policymakers to “ensure a fair contribution from the companies that benefit most from the infrastructure we build and operate.”
The letter doesn’t explicitly name the big tech companies they have in mind, but it won’t go beyond Reg It’s up to readers to guess who the likely candidates are.
Telecoms operators say at least 174 billion euros ($183 billion) of new investment will be needed by 2030 to support the EU’s growth targets and boost European competitiveness. At the same time, the telecommunications sector is “currently not strong enough to meet this demand.”
Data traffic is growing steadily at an average rate of 20 to 30 percent each year, the telcos say in the letter, and that’s mainly due to a handful of big tech companies that currently “pay almost nothing for data.” transport of data in our networks”. »
Telecommunications operators are calling for the establishment of a payment mechanism that would follow “a well-defined and targeted perimeter aimed only at the largest traffic generators”, excluding small content and application providers. This must be followed “in full compliance with net neutrality rules”.
The list of signatories to the letter includes the CEOs of Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, BT, Telefónica, Hutchison Europe and Liberty Global. ®