Over on Forbes today, I have a very long post inspired by Monday’s oral arguments in Verizon’s challenge of the FCC’s Open Internet rules, passed in 2010
I say “inspired” because the post has nothing to say about the oral arguments which, in any case, I did not attend. Mainstream journalists can’t resist the temptation to try to read into the questions asked or the mood of the judges some indication of how the decision will come out
But as anyone who has ever worked in a court or followed appellate practice well knows, the tone of oral arguments signals nothing about a judge’s point-of-view. Often, the harshest questioning is reserved for the side a judge is leaning towards supporting, perhaps because the briefs filed were inadequate. Bad briefs create more work for the judge and her clerks.
I use the occasion of the hearing to take a fresh look at the net neutrality “debate,” which has been on-going since at least 2005, when I first started paying attention to it. In particular, I try to disentangle the political term “net neutrality” (undefined and, indeed, not even used in the 2010 Open Internet order) from the engineering principles of packet routing. Continue reading →