Reason Writers Around Town: Peter Suderman on Why It's Time to Pull the Plug on the FCC


In the Washington Times, Associate Editor Peter Suderman takes on the Federal Communications Commission:

As exercises in bureaucratic hairsplitting go, it is tough to beat the sheer audacity of Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski's recent declaration, "I've been clear repeatedly that we're not going to regulate the Internet." In reality, between its recently released National Broadband Plan and proposed Net neutrality guidelines, that's exactly what the agency is planning to do.

The FCC doesn't have clear legal authority to regulate the Internet—in court filings, it has relied on the dubious concept of "ancillary jurisdiction," so it's not surprising that Mr. Genachowski doesn't want to be seen as the No. 1 Net Nanny. And it is telling that not even the head of the FCC wants to court the public perception that Washington is sending bureaucrats to meddle in the nation's communication networks. Indeed, Mr. Genachowski has inadvertently raised the issue of his agency's fundamental value, or lack thereof. Step back, and the real question isn't whether the agency has the authority to regulate the Internet—it's why the FCC has authority to regulate anything.

Read the whole thing here.