We're all aware that then FCC chair Michael Powell thought that behemoths like Verizon, AT&T and Comcast should be classified as "information service providers" instead of "common carriers".
I know Verizon the best, so I'll use them as my example. It's true - Verizon is a content provider. Proof of that fact is that if you go to myverizon.com, you'll get some lightweight news and entertainment.
So by Powell's definition, if not Verizon or Comcast, who, then, is the common carrier of record?
If Verizon is an information content provider, then so am I - we both publish a handful of websites. So, then, should I not enjoy all the prodigious benefits of being a content provider as well? In theory, quite possibly, but in actual practice, only one of the two of us (Verizon) owns any significant and game-changing internet infrastructure.
But a content provider cannot exist without a common carrier. This is a rule seemingly without an apparent exception. If you want to publish your content - be it a radio or tv message, a phone call reminder, or a newspaper article - you'll need a carrier. And if Verizon somehow isn't that carrier, then who is it, Michael Powell?
I say that Michael Powell's FCC has no one designated as a common carrier, and they are mandated to do so. You can't "skip that step" - there has to be a common carrier or there is no internet as we know it, and thus, no way to properly define an information service provider either.
If you are reading internet content, then a common carrier got that information in your hands. A common carrier was simply and undeniably involved. Who, then, is that carrier? I'll settle for current FCC chief Wheeler designating the likes of Verizon and Comcast as both an information service provide and a common carrier. In truth, they are, and (best I can tell) this arrangement satisfies the needs of us net neutrality advocates.