Out of the blue, the DOJ's antitrust division made a (near two-month late) filing today with the FCC that warned the body of possible harms of net neutrality regulation.
... the Justice Department issued a press release to announce the ex parte filing, which just seems…a little weird, given the nature of the filing. It feels almost like a PR move, or a public political positioning, and is not in keeping with the kind of dry, legalistic press releases DOJ usually issues (“Fujicolor Processing Pleads Guilty to Environmental Crime,” “Missouri Federal Court Permanently Bars Woman From Tax Return Preparation,” “Landmark Settlement Aims to Clean Up Raw Sewage Discharges in Allegheny County”).
So, the DOJ is arguably playing politics, not unsurprising in Washington, but not the usual behavior of the normally staid Antitrust Division of the Justice Department. The document, too, doesn’t read like the usual antitrust analysis. There is little dispassionate weighing of the arguments or rigorous analysis of the facts (a lot of facts are presented regarding how the Internet is flourishing without net neutrality but no real weighing of the arguments and data).
Personally, I think the Justice Department has historically been a model bureaucracy for how it approaches the seriousness of its charter, so I will give them a pass on the tone of the release. But, the timing? Oy. It's so odd that it, in fact, makes the case that the DOJ wasn't "playing politics" because no sane politician would so randomly jump in on an issue so 2006.
In fact, just yesterday, Roy Mark at eWeek wrote in a piece headlined: "Whatever Happened to Net Neutrality?"...
A year ago, network neutrality was roiling Capitol Hill. From Congress to the Federal Communications Commission to the Federal Trade Commission, there wasn't a hotter—or more controversial—tech issue. Today, net neutrality barely raises a yawn among lawmakers....
And, your 463 quote of the day in the same piece:
"They're waiting to fight another day. I don't see signs of it coming back. There's no political will," said Tom Galvin, a partner at Washington's 463 Communications.