This Verizon 'Interview' About Net Neutrality Is So Bad I Am Not Even Mad

Nice try, though.

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May 2 2017, 5:59pm

In this delightful 3 minute video, Verizon, the $187 billion telecom giant whose former associate general counsel, Ajit Pai, is now in charge of the Federal Communications Commission, begs you to believe that it's totally in favor of the free and open internet.

"The FCC is not talking about killing the net neutrality rules," claims Verizon general counsel Craig Silliman in an "interview" recently posted on Verizon's official YouTube page. "And in fact, not we nor any other ISP are asking them to kill the open internet rules. All they're doing is looking to put the open internet rules in an enforceable way on a different legal footing."

I'm not quite sure how to square these claims with Verizon's actual behavior. After all, the telecom has a long and glorious history of taking the FCC to court to protest anything even remotely resembling what we now call net neutrality, or the principle that all data should be treated equally. In practice this means that your ISP, whether it's Comcast, T-Mobile, or, yes, even Verizon, doesn't have the right to control what websites you visit, nor the right to speed up, say, its own streaming video service at the expense of ruining your Netflix binge-a-thon with endless buuuffeerring.

Silliman then blames "advocacy groups" for "stirring people up with outrageous claims," implying, effectively, "Nothing to see here, move along." Which is weird, given that an advocacy group of his own, USTelecom, which is a lobbyist whose membership ranks also includes the likes of AT&T and Frontier, makes a scary-sounding argument of its own when it claims that net neutrality will have a "devastating impact on internet freedom." I don't quite understand how regulating ISPs to ensure that they don't mess with your internet somehow takes away internet freedom, but here we are.

Here's what's going on: ISPs like Verizon are scared to death of the net neutrality regulations that are currently on the books because they're exactly that: codified rules that are plain and clear and easily enforced. The regulatory burden of strong net neutrality is so onerous, they claim, that they wouldn't be able to continue to invest in the kind of internet infrastructure that has made America the envy of… exactly no one.

The tl;dr? Verizon is upset it has to actually abide by the rules of the road. Sad.