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Rhetoric Returns on Net Neutrality

What was once a “kumbaya” vibe between various parties seeking agreement on a legislative fix for the FCC’s network neutrality authority has been replaced by a rhetorical return to the traditional divides.

Industry lobbyists—always speaking only on background, it should be noted—had discussed the possibility for compromise prior to the collapse of talks brokered by Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Energy & Commerce Committee. The FCC had even signaled a growing consensus on issues of transparency and nondiscrimination rules, in a request for further comments on its network openness proposals.

But when those comments came in, the telecom industry’s version of “Camp Hope” had been replaced by the traditional slams on network regulation. Time Warner Cable, for example, doesn’t buy the premise that a consensus has emerged in support of network neutrality rules. “The record is far more divided regarding the wisdom and legality of such mandates,” a TWC spokesperson said.

Perhaps, but one telecom exec—also speaking on background—suggested that while the default rhetorical position on net neutrality is “not in my backyard,” the threat of Title II reclassification continues to create behind-the-scenes attempts to hammer out a compromise.