I’m sure you’ve watched the brilliant Burger King Whopper Neutrality spot. (The video is below for those of you who haven't.) It's Net Neutrality made simple, as filtered through one of America's favorite pasttimes -- patronizing fast-food franchises. Make matters clear, in ways consumers can readily comprehend, and relevant responses rise to the surface. The fast-food analogy is especially smart because this is the first consumer issue the Federal Confusion Commission has had to face since dueling spectrum use by brand new radio “stations” in Pittsburgh. (KDKA won in 1920.) And it's not just the food folks weighing in. On Sunday, the day of the Grammy Awards, the Sonos store in New York City shut down and posted a sign saying, "Music needs net neutrality. Net neutrality gives every artist a fair shot at getting heard."
The following has also happened:
• AT&T ran full page ads in national newspapers challenging Congress to pass a net neutrality law that would regulate ISPs and tech companies alike … or something.
• Twenty-three state Attorneys General filed or threatened to file suits against the Federal Confusion Commission over the net neutrality regulatory shift from Title II to Title I (with the Federal Trade Commission overseeing the regulatory aspects).
• The Governors of Montana and New York decided to weigh in by signing executive orders governing how ISPs work with the states.
• And, in less politically-charged news, I spent a few days last week in Northern Indiana visiting local folks, city council persons, city employees, county employees and anybody in the Elkhart, South Bend or LaPorte areas for my friends at SurfAIR Wireless and affiliates … broadband providers in Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan. It was all about net neutrality and let me tell you: Confusion abounds. Attendance was high for such an arcane subject. (Coverage was interesting, too. Here’s the South Bend Tribune and the LaPorte Herald Argus.) Questions ranged from the impact that the Internet of Things has had on municipal governments to why cable bundles are so expensive (off the subject a bit).
AT&T has the right idea in that Congress really, really needs to play referee. Both sides of the Congressional aisles have toyed with legislation … but I’m certain nothing will happen until after this November.
Not the best idea we’ve heard lately: The Federal Government put together a potential plan to nationalize 5G because “China is beating us.” The best coverage of this idea proposed by someone on the National Security Council came from Politico’s Morning Tech which dryly observed: “We're thinking companies like AT&T and Verizon, which are making massive investments in 5G, would have some thoughts on this, as would FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who's focused most of his tenure on getting government out of the way of industry.”
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