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Posted at 3:27 PM ET, 12/15/2010

Net neutrality expected to pass, investment analyst says

By Cecilia Kang

Investment analyst Rebecca Arbogast believes proposed net neutrality rules, now being considered in private deliberation by members of the Federal Communications Commission, will be approved with some tweaks.

Arbogast, a Stifel Nicolaus analyst, said Democratic commissioners Michael J. Copps and Meredith Baker won't likely push for rules that redefine broadband as a telecom service but will argue to beef up some provisions including stronger wireless rules, limits or bans on paid priority delivery of content, and clear definitions for what services are covered in the rules.

"We believe it’s in the majority’s interests to coalesce around a decision," Arbogast wrote. "So while we expect some tough bargaining that goes down to the wire next Tuesday, our sense is an order likely will be approved, with some modifications, but not radical changes, to the draft, given the tightrope the FCC leadership appears to be walking."

Indeed, AT&T, Verizon and Comcast wouldn't tolerate major changes to the order, which they have negotiated with FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski for more than half a year. In particular, the telecom firms will resist any stronger rules to wireless networks beyond anti-blocking rules for voice and video telephony services. Public interest groups have pushed for reasonable network management rules on wireless networks.

"We believe there could be some give-and-take on a possible presumption against paid prioritization and some tweaks to the broadband Internet access service definition -- up to a point," she said.

By Cecilia Kang  | December 15, 2010; 3:27 PM ET
Categories:  FCC, Net Neutrality  
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I believe you meant to mention FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, a Democrat, not Commissioner Baker, a Republican.

Posted by: ktaglang | December 15, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

What is meant by "AT&T, Verizon and Comcast wouldn't tolerate major changes to the order"? Do they have a choice? They're making billions on unfair rules now: they can be slapped down by the FCC. Did AT&T "tolerate" the FCC's 1974 Carterfone decision? No, they just had to deal with it. And the telephone market exploded with connectivity and competition.
Here, the FCC is inexplicably equating "wireless" (meaning celtower) broadband with "landline" broadband. Landline broadband is a different category and MUST be classified as "telecommunications." This would give the FCC complete undisputed authority to regulate against content discrimination by the signal transmitter companies (Comcast, Verizon etc.).
As for "wireless" broadband (celtower but not Wifi), it's equally outrageous to say it's not telecommunications. All the obnoxious $100/month "plan" costs are due to the obvious inefficiency of having six celtowers in every cel area, for six different telecommunications providers (AT&T, Tmobile tec.) We don't have six telephone landlines running to each house. Why? Because landlines are regulated under their classification as "telecommunications." If the FCC would simply classify celtower service the same way, we would need only one celtower in each cel area and the celtower company would have to permit access by any content-transmitting company. Everyone's monthly "plan" would drop 50% or more. This is what scares the big meanies: it's why they donate hundreds of millions to Congress members to prevent it happening.

Posted by: Religulosity | December 17, 2010 9:08 AM | Report abuse

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