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The Common Sense Case Why Network Management Trumps Net Neutrality

Common sense dictates that the FCC will rule in favor of the critical necessity of broadband network management and against the FreePress and Vuze petitions which claim that prioritizing p2p traffic is an unlawful violation of the FCC's network neutrality principles. 

  • No one should mistake the FCC doing its job in investigating significant allegations (by issuing public notices for comments), for an FCC predilection against reasonable network management in favor of net neutrality supremacy.

The common sense case why network management trumps net neutrality:

First, the petitions violate common sense because the petitions are based on a false predicate and presumption. The petitions assume that the FCC's policy of network neutrality principles have the legal and binding effect of formal FCC rules or law and that they trump all existing law and rules. This is preposterous. Just because the petitioners make an impassioned and PR-manipulative plea for that view -- does not mean their petition holds any water.

  • Specifically the rules that are operative here are the FCC's declaration that broadband is an information service, which they hammered home consistently with bipartisan decisions affirming that cable modems, DSL, Wireless Broadband and BPL are all information services and not regulated telecommunications services. 
  • Moreover, the petitioners attempt to make net neutrality law failed in the House and Senate and was opposed by the Administration, the DOJ, and the FTC as unnecessary and counter to the law of the land which is that "it is the policy of the United States... to preserve the vibrant and competitive free market that presently exists for the Internet...unfettered by Federal or State regulation." 
  • Furthermore, law trumps FCC rules, FCC rules trump FCC policy statements. The petitioners have a fantasy that FCC policy statements overrule all prior FCC legal precedent or the multitude of communications laws affected by their sweeping attempt to mandate net neutrality above all other laws. 

Second, the petitions violate the common sense need for network "management.

  • Management entails: setting priorities, scheduling, achieving goals, meeting expectations, fulfilling contractual obligations, making resource tradeoffs, optimizing scarce resources, planning for problems, and ensuring reliability, dependability and quality of service. All good and essential tasks.
  • The petitioners embrace the naive, irresponsible, and unreasonable notion that networks with an end-to-end design magically manage themselves or require no management, investment, or maintenance whatsoever; and that nothing could ever go wrong with infrastructure, or routers that would ever require human intervention or management. They obviously have never met Mr. Murphy of Murphy's Law fame. 
  • The petitioners also totally ignore that management is critically essential to plan for and manage outside forces beyond the networks' control. Network management is essential to prevent a slowdown or shutdown of the network due to outside forces and it is also essential to guarantee that the network is available for emergencies to public safety and first responders. 

Third, the petitions violate the common sense need for reasonableness in communications, business, regulation and life

  • "Reasonable" entails: being based on reason, sound judgement and logic; rational behavior and decisions; sensible, within the boundaries of common sense; not excessive or extreme; consensus and fair to all involved. 
  • The petitioners make no persuasive case why reasonable network management is in fact unreasonable other than to assert it.
  • All of the perceived net neutrality violations of the petitioners ignore the reasonable, rational, sensible, and consensus-driven  explanations of their network management. 

Fourth, the petitions violate common sense in assuming that the owners and managers of broadband networks should not be the ones that manage the networks but that the FCC effectively should. 

  • The FCC is well-aware that these broadband networks are privately owned and managed and that the FCC has no practical expertise or experience in the day-to-day operation and management of these complex national networks which employ thousands of professional and highly-skilled engineers and managers to deliver quality of service. 

Fifth, the petitions violate common sense that prioritization or special dispensation in network management is necessary, fair, right, and based on FCC rules and Federal law. 

  • Right in the FCC's Public Notices for comment on these petitions (and in all public notices for that matter) is a non-neutral special requirement that people with disabilities can request materials in accessible formats: braille, large print, electronic files, audio format. 
  • Net neutrality ignores and seeks to overrule the law of the land in the American Disabilities Act and many FCC rules which provide prioritization for people with disabilities to be able to communicate and interact with fellow citizens.
  • Public law and FCC rules also assign priority in communications to public safety, first responders, and law enforcement among others. The petitioners position is that any interference in Internet traffic is a violation of the guiding principle and "first amendment" of the Internet: net neutrality. This is an unreasonable, irresponsible, and dangerous view.    

In sum, the petitions violate common sense. The petitioners absolutist and formulaic approach to enforcing net neutrality ignores:

  • The law, FCC rules, legal precedent; 
  • The real world need for network management;
  • The necessity for reasonableness in business, government, and life;
  • That companies own their networks, the government and the public do not; and
  • That prioritization of traffic is often necessary, right and fair. 

Common sense makes it clear that the FreePress and Vuze petitions will be denied and that the FCC will not vault the FCC's net neutrality policy above FCC rules, legal precedent and the law of the land.

  • These petitioners need to "move on" and get a life.