AT&T has announced it's buying DirecTV in a $49 billion deal — an enormous acquisition that could turn one of the nation's top telecom companies into a formidable player in the pay-TV market. And the agreement is sure to be examined closely by federal regulators.
To help win their approval, AT&T is offering to abide by net neutrality principles for three years: the company would not block Web sites; it would also not discriminate against certain Web content by slowing down or speeding up different lanes of Internet traffic to customers.
This is practically a promise to begin implementing slow-lane service for non-favored websites in 2018. It's what every ISP in the country wants to do: make a few fuzzy, short-term promises in order to get approval for the rules they want; remain on their best behavior for a few years; and then steadily start putting the hammer down in small enough increments that they hope nobody notices.
Hey, it worked for the financial industry! Why not internet providers too?