Oracle to Pai: Repudiate Wheeler's Tech-Favoritism Policies

Says privacy rules need revisiting, Title II classification needs reversing

Silicon Valley giant Oracle has asked FCC chairman Ajit Pai to rethink the FCC's broadband privacy framework, saying former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler's characterization of ISPs as gatekeepers was off the mark and to "repudiate" what it said was the Wheeler FCC's policies "favoring one technology sub-sector over all others."

That came in a letter to Pai this week asking the FCC not only to rethink the broadband privacy rules but to reclassify internet access as an information service to "eliminate unnecessary burdens on, and competitive imbalances for, ISPs while still preserving the free and open Internet."

The commission is currently collecting comments on a petition by ISPs, advertisers and others to rethink the broadband privacy rules, passed by a politically divided FCC last October with Pai and fellow Republican Michael O’Rielly dissenting.

The company praised Pai for the FCC's vote to stay implementation of the data privacy portion of the broadband privacy rules as well. 

Reversing the Title II telecom classification would essentially moot the broadband privacy rules, which stemmed from Title II. That is unless the privacy rules are invalidated by congressional Republicans

Oracle said ISPs are now subject to dozens of rules to which "others in the online ecosystem," which would be the online content providers like Google and Facebook—are not.

Oracle said it was looking for some "regulatory neutrality."

The company also asked the FCC to close the set-top box proceeding, which Wheeler failed to push through after Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel had some issues with the FCC's oversight role over contracts. The company attributed that effort to the Wheeler FCC's "ill-advised interventionist instinct."

"The Wheeler FCC pushed an item that would have fundamentally altered MVPD market dynamics and seemingly handed one company the keys to the MVPD kingdom [it did not say "Google," but that was the reference], including incredibly valuable data regarding MVPD customers."

The docket remains open, though odds for approving the revamp in a Republican-led FCC are slim to none. "Adopting a technology mandate to force 'competitive' set-top boxes in 2017 feels a lot like mandating automakers to install 8-track cassette players in 2017," the company told Pai.

Oracle encouraged Pai to work with the Federal Trade Commission to level the competitive playing field, an instance of preaching to the choir since Pai has already teamed up with acting FTC chair Maureen Ohlhausen to promise to do just that.