Given how just about any net neutrality proposals have the potential to inhibit Verizon’s bottom line, you’d think that all the company’s shareholders would be 100% behind its efforts to fight them. However, you’d be wrong — Ars Technica reports that the Nathan Cummings Foundation and Trillium Asset Management LLC, both Verizon shareholders, are not pleased with how Verizon has been responding to the net neutrality controversy.
Apparently, both investment entities see Verizon’s hardline stance against net neutrality as damaging to its long-term reputation, especially since most Internet users seem to like the idea that carriers shouldn’t be allowed to charge tech companies more money to ensure their traffic gets delivered more quickly than their competitors.
The investors also note that Verizon has made numerous contradictory statements about its position on net neutrality that make the company look shamelessly opportunistic.
“Company representatives have expressed clear support for ‘paid prioritization’ of Internet content, according to published reports,” the investors argue. “Verizon wants a ‘two-sided market’ involving payment for Internet service by subscribers and by the companies who want to reach them, Verizon lawyer Helgi Walker told a federal appeals court in September 2013. Yet in October 2014, Verizon’s corporate website stated that Verizon ‘has no plans to undertake the hypothetical ‘paid prioritization’ business model.’ As investors, we are confused by this ambiguity and troubled by the potential negative impact that paid prioritization could have on innovative technology start-ups, which drive so much economic growth.”
Of course, Verizon wouldn’t be in this position if it hadn’t decided to sue to overturn the FCC’s original net neutrality framework, which was a compromise measure that let wireless carriers off the hook. Now that Verizon’s idiotic strategy has put both it and other ISPs in the cross hairs for much stricter regulations, the company really has no one but itself to blame.