While the blog title may be appropriate for a 1970s disaster movie, some are making out Title II to be the “Towering Inferno” or “Earthquake” of the Internet industry. It is no secret that according to most pundits, Mr Wheeler the FCC chief is preparing to reclassify the Internet under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. With the commission’s vote set for Feb 26th we have less than a month to find out.
What is likely to happen in the aftermath of Title II?
Well, the opening scene is likely to be very similar to most disaster movies – mass panic and hysteria. People running this way and that, trying to figure out a safe place to avoid catastrophe.
The folks at Freepress and the like will be sitting back with their popcorn enjoying the show. After standing in line to see this blockbuster for the better part of a year… you can just picture a few Wookiee and Princes Leia outfits in the crowd.
The Service Providers enter stage left and immediately go on the offensive. Both Verizon and AT&T have already very publically announced their outrage and disdain for any Title II approach and already threatened legal action.
Verizon says they “will have no choice but to fight the sudden reversal of two decades of settled law.” By doing so, the post continues, “the FCC will have increased both the likelihood – and the likelihood of success – of any legal challenge.” (Verizon)
AT&T calls Title II regulation, “a mistake that will do tremendous harm to the Internet and to U.S. national interests.” (AT&T)
Cue the “Imperial March” themes music as the true stars of the extravaganza enter the scene. The lawyers have arrived.
The show pretty much goes downhill from there as it becomes bogged down and turns into a predictable court room drama of “my legal team is better paid than yours”.
For those of you who have made it this far, please forgive the cynicism. I guess this will be the disaster the industry had to have. Even Biblical disasters often represent a rebirth and I guess that is what we are about to experience.
While I do not envisage any long-term shifts in the industry as a result of this move, I do believe it will have a big major impact in the short-term. As industry players come to grips with the new age, this issue will draw focus away from more pressing and important matters in our industry. And invariably, the wider Net Neutrality debate is largely philosophical one and likely to continue well beyond any court ruling.