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Gloves off, telecom giants to FCC: It's on!

It didn’t take long for the gloves to come off.

Soon after the Federal Communications Commission released its national broadband plan a few weeks ago, the nation’s biggest telecom companies began a battle against specific measures and questioned the agency’s ability to regulate broadband services.

Verizon Wireless and AT&T sent petitions last week to the agency, protesting a condition to a satellite broadband merger that would exclude them from partnering up with the new company.

“The process used to include these conditions in the SkyTerra order was deeply flawed and inconsistent with the transparent, open and fact-driven decision-making that has been an early hallmark of your chairmanship,” wrote Steven Zipperstein, general counsel at Verizon Wireless in a letter to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.

The condition isn’t part of the national broadband plan, but some communications policy experts say the requirement was a signal of similar policies to come. The move could signal, for example, spectrum caps or other rules attached to spectrum auctions and the formation of a public safety network that would exclude the biggest players in favor of smaller competitors.

Zipperstein's statement follows comments by lobbyists for Verizon and AT&T, calling for a sweeping review over Internet policy. They want Congress to take over regulation of broadband service providers and to lessen the FCC’s rule-making authority in favor of a case-by-case enforcement approach to Internet governance. Google CEO Eric Schmidt joined Verizon CEO Ivan Seidenberg in a joint op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal telling the FCC to approach regulation with a light touch.

Rebecca Arbogast, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, said those comments were meant to counter any move by the agency to classify broadband as a common carrier service, under which the FCC has clear authority. Comcast, the nation’s biggest cable and broadband services company, hasn’t weighed in on reclassification or specific elements of the national broadband plan. The company, whose lawsuit against the FCC began the debate over the agency’s jurisdiction, is seeking FCC approval for its merger with NBC Universal.

“The biggest caveats and concerns for the Bells would be if the FCC, in response to court review, moves to reclassify broadband as a more heavily regulated Title II telecom services, and/or crafts strict net neutrality rules,” Arbogast wrote in a research note. “The significance of these fundamental issues were reflected in Verizon’s strategic decision to call on Congress to revise the central foundation of the Communications Act.”

The comments also signal a change in tone, observers said. Aside from protests of a net neutrality policy proposal last fall, analysts and telecom attorneys said the top telecom and cable companies had been reluctant to criticize Genachowski.

Now that the plan is out and the hard work of creating new rules begins, the agency will face significant resistance from a deep-pocketed telecom and cable industry against policies on competition like special access, data roaming and small business line sharing.

Ben Scott, policy director for public interest group Free Press, said look no further than the long and difficult battles between former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and the cable industry over a la carte pricing for a glimpse of what the new agency’s leadership will face. Martin faced similar battles with telecom companies over net neutrality and other reforms. Hill staffers have said intense lobbying by the cable industry contributed to an investigation by a House committee of Martin.

“The only reason this looks new and shocking is that for so long the FCC hasn’t made a decision opposed by a major company,” Scott said. “The FCC has spars with companies on a regular basis and this is good news.”

By Cecilia Kang  |  April 5, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  AT&T , Broadband , Comcast , FCC  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: A short breather
Next: Another incident, another company withdraws, validating Go Daddy's move out of China

Comments

As usual, Cecilia Kang pushes Google's political position, then gives the last word to Ben Scott, a lobbyist for Google's agenda.

Ms. Kang truly is "Google's reporter at the Post."

Posted by: LBrettGlass | April 5, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

As usual, Brett Glass feels free to lie about people, simply because they happen to have a certain opinion on matters of public policy.

Mr. Glass truly is a paranoid maniac and unrepentant liar. Not to mention all the allegations surrounding his behavior with little children and reporters who offend his worldview.

Posted by: AmyBandini | April 5, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it interesting? Within an hour of the time someone posts a legitimate critique of Ms. Kang's work, a nasty posting -- from Ms. Kang or a confederate? -- appears claiming that the first poster is a violent child molester. And the Post, which says that it has changed its comment policy and will delete such personal attacks, does nothing about the latter. Hmmm.

Posted by: LBrettGlass | April 5, 2010 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Isn't it interesting? Within a minute of a story being posted on this blog, Brett Glass comes into these threads to slime the reporter as a Google shill, and when he's called out on his psychosis, he then proceeds to double down and accuse the commenter of being the author of this blog? With no evidence? Part of the pattern. And the Post, which says it would ban Brett Glass for his stalking behavior, has failed to ban him. Hmmm.

Folks, especially those in Wyoming. Beware, there are some serious alleged allegations about his psychotic stalking behavior. Watch your children, especially if you are a customer of Lariet.net.

Posted by: AmyBandini | April 6, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it interesting? Within a minute of a story being posted on this blog, Brett Glass comes into these threads to slime the reporter as a Google shill, and when he's called out on his psychosis, he then proceeds to double down and accuse the commenter of being the author of this blog? With no evidence? Part of the pattern. And the Post, which says it would ban Brett Glass for his stalking behavior, has failed to ban him. Hmmm.

Folks, especially those in Wyoming. Beware, there are some serious alleged allegations about his psychotic stalking behavior. Watch your children, especially if you are a customer of Lariet.net.

Posted by: AmyBandini | April 6, 2010 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Isn't it interesting? Within a minute of a story being posted on this blog, Brett Glass comes into these threads to slime the reporter as a Google shill, and when he's called out on his psychosis, he then proceeds to double down and accuse the commenter of being the author of this blog? With no evidence? Part of the pattern. And the Post, which says it would ban Brett Glass for his stalking behavior, has failed to ban him. Hmmm.

Folks, especially those in Wyoming. Beware, there are some serious alleged allegations about his psychotic stalking behavior. Watch your children, especially if you are a customer of Lariet.net.

Posted by: AmyBandini | April 6, 2010 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Seems as if Ms. Kang (or her confederate) can do nothing but repeat her/himself.

Posted by: LBrettGlass | April 6, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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