Verizon was probably pretty happy with itself after it got the Federal Communications Commission’s previous net neutrality rules tossed out in a court ruling from earlier this year. However, it looks like this may have only been a short-term victory because now the FCC might implement even stricter rules on ISPs, including on wireless carriers that were previously exempt from most net neutrality regulations.
The Wall Street Journal reports that both Comcast and AT&T tried to persuade Verizon to not sue the FCC over its net neutrality rules because both companies felt they could live within the FCC’s legal framework, which they didn’t like but also didn’t find overly burdensome compared to what might have been. Verizon didn’t listen to them and went ahead with its lawsuit anyway and got net neutrality tossed out completely.
Verizon’s biggest mistake, however, was thinking that killing off the FCC’s 2010 regulations would make the issue die away completely. In reality, however, there is little desire on the part of either consumers or tech companies to just give carriers a carte blanche to do whatever they want to rivals’ Internet traffic. In other words, there was simply no chance that anyone would find having no net neutrality restrictions whatsoever an acceptable outcome.
It seems that Verizon now realizes the error of its ways, but it may be too late. The Journal notes that Verizon general counsel Randal Milch “said in a blog post that the carrier wouldn’t sue again if the FCC were to revert to its 2010 rules.” However, this kind of reasoning makes no sense — if the courts have already tossed out the FCC’s 2010 rules, why would the commission go back to them if they have no legal standing and could be easily struck down again by another challenge, regardless of whether it comes from Verizon?
We still have no idea how this will all play out but right now it seems that Verizon’s adamant stance against accepting any network management restrictions could backfire on the company in a spectacular fashion.