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FTC net neutrality position coddles big telecom, cable and copyright

 The Federal Trade Commission’s Internet Access Task Force is out with a report entitled “Broadband Connectivity Competition Policy."I've read most of the report.
Written by Russell Shaw, Contributor


The Federal Trade Commission’s Internet Access Task Force is out with a report entitled “Broadband Connectivity Competition Policy."

I've read most of the report. I am disgusted. Not only does the 170-page report poo-poo the absolute necessity of net neutrality in our deal-obsessed broadband environment, but it is a shill for big telecom, big cable and big copyright.

Big copyright, as in allowing major content providers to cut deals with duapolistic broadband Internet service providers.

According to Chairman Deborah Platt Majoras,  "This report recommends that policy makers proceed with caution in the evolving, dynamic industry of broadband Internet access, which generally is moving toward more – not less – competition," FTC Chair Deborah Platt Majoras said in a statement. "In the absence of significant market failure or demonstrated consumer harm, policy makers should be particularly hesitant to enact new regulation in this area."

Then, from the press release announcing this report:

As the report notes, certain conduct and business arrangements that broadband providers may pursue, including data prioritization, exclusive deals, and vertical integration into online content and applications, can benefit consumers. “The primary reason for caution is simply that we do not know what the net effects of potential conduct by broadband providers will be on all consumers, including, among other things, the prices that consumers may pay for Internet access, the quality of Internet access and other services that will be offered, and the choices of content and applications that may be available to consumers in the marketplace.”

But then to comfort us that someone is actually looking out for our rights, we are told that:

Noting that three federal agencies – the Federal Communications Commission, the Department of Justice, and the FTC – have jurisdiction to address broadband Internet access, the report explains that the FTC, for its part, will continue to devote substantial resources to maintaining competition and protecting consumers in the broadband area. In addition to vigorously enforcing the antitrust and consumer protection laws, the FTC will expend considerable efforts on consumer education, industry guidance, and competition advocacy in the area of broadband Internet access.

Consider me skeptical. How can you practice "competition advocacy" without the statutory teeth to back it up?

To put it more crudely: "Protecting American Consumers." My a**.

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