National Cable & Telecom Association continues bizarre reasoning against net neutrality

July 11, 2014
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The National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA) is the cable industry’s biggest lobbying organization. When the former FCC boss Michael Powell is the current head of the NCTA and the former NCTA boss Tom Wheeler currently runs the FCC, it is not hard to see why they have so much influence in the telecom industry.

For years now, the NCTA has made it a point to tell people that they love net neutrality and are for “the same fast and open Internet experience that millions of Americans cherish every day.”

The actions of the NCTA show otherwise. When Comcast was throttling its own users, we did not hear the NCTA come out in support of the users. The NCTA continues being a huge supporter of data caps and overages being put in place to charge additional fees for access to internet video. The NCTA also loves telling people that there is nothing to fear because the government will step in if abuse ever would occur in their industry.

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Now, it seems that the NCTA is taking a different approach towards the net neutrality debate. In a recent blog post on NCTA’s web-site, John Solit, the Director of Digital Engagement, admits that he doesn’t “completely understand how the internet works” yet then goes on to explain that those who are in support of net neutrality are simply confused and/or intentionally lying.

What proof does he give for these assertions? Nothing. He does though push the same arguments that the NCTA has tried pushing off onto consumers for years now:

  • Title II would completely destroy the internet because the Internet is too big to be regulated but don’t worry since the government will protect us.
  • Those who disagree are confusing, oversimplifying, flat-out incorrect and are not interested in meaningful discourse.
  • Tiered internet is absurd!

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To start with, does anyone find it comical that the NCTA loves to tell people that the government will be there to protect consumers yet then beg the government to stay completely out of the way? The government already stays out of the way because the NCTA spends millions in Washington DC pushing their own political agenda.

Did the government step in when AT&T blocked FaceTime? Does the government do anything whenever CBS blocks all internet content from customers of a select ISP due to a carriage dispute? Although the government has been more active in recent months, why would anyone have any actual belief that the government will in fact step up for consumers?

The NCTA loves to tell people about the many billions that have been invested in carrier networks. It hasn’t even been several months since Matthew Yglesias called out the NCTA for ridiculously misleading statistics about broadband investment. The NCTA admitted the next day that their numbers were in fact misleading and wrong (well, they admitted the numbers were wrong but that they were not wrong….try making sense of that). Even after correcting their math, the NCTA investment numbers continued to show that broadband investment was not increasing.

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According to a study by the Open Technology Institute, investment in networks has long-since been recouped through high prices, and overall investment in networks is down.

“According to analyst estimates listed on the NCTA website, cable companies invested over $185 billion in capital expenditures between 1996 and 2011. But these networks generated close to $1 trillion in revenue in the same time period. Moreover, both Comcast and Time Warner Cable are now spending less on capital expenses relative to revenue than in past years.” - Open Technology Institute

Thankfully, the NCTA has a villain that they love to blame for any and all issue on the internet: Google and Netflix.

“It may be time for the Commission to turn its attention elsewhere. ……to obtain a fuller picture of the performance consumers are experiencing, the Commission may want to solicit the participation of popular content and application providers, such as Netflix and YouTube, in developing a voluntary testing regime for application providers.” - NCTA

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The way to solve the video problems is not to charge additional fees onto Google and Netflix which therefore creates yet another revenue stream for the very same content which will be passed onto the consumer right away.

Also, why is it that Title II continues to be brought up as if it is the end of the world yet these broadband providers LOVE Title II when it gives them tax cuts and subsidies?

In New Jersey, Verizon couldn’t have accepted Title II any faster due to the subsidies and access to rights of way.

“But here’s the little dance move they pull. They claim that this infrastructure must be considered Title II, in order to get those subsidies, tax breaks and rights of way. And they insist that it’s proper to classify it as Title II because it offers voice service over those lines. But, at the very same time, they claim that all other services that they provide, must be classified under Title I. Oh, and it gets better: they claim that in order to pay for all of this (even though they’re getting all these breaks and subsidies), they have to raise the prices on telephone service — which they’ve done at a fairly astounding rate.” - TechDirt

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It’s cool though because Verizon says that if they are not put under Title II, they will give everyone fiber! Wait, haven’t we heard that before? Like in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York?

The NCTA believes that the government should stay out of their lives and to let the internet be open and free!

  • Except when TV companies put absurd restrictions on whether customers can view online content on select ISP’s and select devices.
  • Except when ISP’s put up walls on content so that they can receive 2nd, 3rd and 4th revenue streams for the exact same content.
  • Except when an ISP takes billion in tax cuts/subsidies then yanks that service out from under the city to give them a worse option (with all benefits taken by the ISP).
  • Except when ISP’s told us that data caps HAD TO BE IN PLACE for congestion…..oh wait, no it wasn’t.