It’s no secret that almost everyone in the world loves a good conspiracy theory, and so it’s no wonder that when word leaked out that several of the major American telecom companies were conducting backroom planning sessions, developing powerpoint presentations outlining how to secretly assassinate the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) controversial Net Neutrality plan, the ears of the American liberal media perked up and soon impassioned cries for free speech, open internet, and the rights of Americans were filling the blogosphere.
The coordinated telecom attack against Net Neutrality, the liberal media blog Think Progress claimed, was being openly funded by companies like Comcast, AT&T, and the US Telecom Association, and, as the powerpoint presentation proved, this allied telecom group had a nefarious (not to mention concise)multi-point plan for how it was going to take down the FCC’s Net Neutrality for good.
There’s just one problem with Think Progress’ claim: It’s not actually true.
The problem, it turns out, is a classic case of truth being much stranger than fiction, as early reports indicate that the controversial powerpoint presentation was nothing more than a class project prepared by a small group of MBA students at a Florida university. The project itself was one of several that the students prepared as part of a think-tank competition sponsored by the free-market advocacy group Atlas Economic Research Foundation, who sponsors competitions like this all over the world.
What’s more, the powerpoint presentation that was thought to be a coordinated attack on the FCC’s open internet didn’t even win the competition, losing out to a group that presented a hypothetical argument for supporting educational reform in Poland. It’s days like this that I just have to laugh over the general gullibility of the left wing American media (or perhaps just American media in general).
Although this particular story turned out to be bogus, there is no question that the telecom industry will begin, if it hasn’t already, actively lobbying against the FCC’s proposed changes to its Net Neutrality plan, with one Comcast executive going so far as to claim that the Net Neutrality door, once opened, will lead us towards a scary future.
Much in the same way HMO lobbyists have used the threat of Communism to rally the American people against public health care for the past several decades, so too will telecom lobbyists, as the threat of FCC price regulations and proposed competition controls really just doesn’t sound all that American.
Further opposition of the FCC’s proposed Net Neturality plan, which would see the reclassification of wireless broadband as a form of telecommunications, is clearly targeted at swaying public opinion, as telecom companies argue that the regulations and standards the FCC is looking to impose would harm consumers, hinder investments, and cost jobs.
Whatever the future of the FCC’s Net Neutrality plan turns out to be, one thing is clear, every step towards an open internet will certainly be met with staunch opposition from the telecom sector, and that resistance, I fear, may do more damage to Net Neutrality than any secret telecom powerpoint presentation ever could.