Is The FCC Giving Up On Net Neutrality?


The Internet is not a truck.

According to a number of anonymous sources in today's Washington Post, the Federal Communications Commission is expected not to pursue a change in the regulatory classification of broadband Internet service:

In recent discussions, the sources said Genachowski has indicated he is less inclined to define broadband as common carrier service like regular copper wire phone services, which are clearly under the FCC's oversight. The chairman was concerned that a move to that regime, called Title II, would be overly burdensome on carriers, they said. Yet he was also concerned that the current framework would lead to constant legal challenges to the FCC's authority every time it attempted to pursue a broadband policy.

This is basically good news—even more so because the reported reasoning behind Genachowski's decision is, in fact, fairly sound:

The sources said Genachowski thinks "reclassifying" broadband to allow for more regulation would be overly burdensome on carriers and would deter investment. But they said he also thinks the current regulatory framework would lead to constant legal challenges to the FCC's authority every time it attempted to pursue a broadband policy.

However, this may not mean that the FCC is giving up on its neutrality push entirely:

[FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski] is exploring a legal push under the current legal framework for broadband, which is under Title I, that would make possible the FCC's push for a new net neutrality rule and reforms under a national broadband plan, the sources said.

It's also possible that the FCC could go back to Congress for additional regulatory  authority. Though I don't think a Net neutrality bill is likely to pass through the Senate this session, it's not totally impossible. And even if no legislation pops up in the short term, Genachowski's expected decision could help fuel long-term efforts to explicitly beef up the agency's authority over broadband providers through legislation.

More on Net neutrality and Title I/Title II here, here, and here.

NEXT: Reason Writers on TV: Radley Balko Discusses Asset Forfeiture With John Stossel

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  1. My god The Net was terrible. I actually saw it in the theater. Because I am an idiot.

    1. I would really like to know who was giving Sandra Bullock career advice. She managed to choose about 12 straight horrible scripts. She really did everything she could to destroy her career.

      1. Dude, she makes more money than any other woman in Hollywood. Seriously, she’s like #1 or #2 for income. We may not get it, but she knows what the hell she’s doing. Too bad she married Jesse James, right?

        1. I think they just split up.

          1. I was being rhetorical.

            1. Neo-Nazi sloppy seconds.

              1. Is he a neo nazi?

                1. There’s a lot of rumor flying around to that effect. I’m sure it will come out in the divorce.

                  Scandal sheet.

                  1. TMZ is pretty weak. They have a picture of him goofing in some Nazi Bus Driver Hat giving a Nazi salute. Maybe he was drunk and acting stupid. That seems like pretty thin gruel. I love the “he has a model of a German plane in the background” scare quote.

            2. Yeah well I’m dumb. Can’t be gettin’ all smart on me.

        2. But she could have made all that money and been in good movies to. And as far as James goes, didn’t anyone explain to her that you don’t just sleep with someone, you really sleep with everyone they have slept with.

          I am sure she thought James was cute and all with his tattoos and motorcycles. But the dude has banged half the skanks in the San Frendando Valley. There is just a thing as damaged goods. What was she thinking?

          1. My reaction to all of this news was to look at a picture of him and say to myself, “This is surprising why?”

            1. But…but…he makes stupid shitty motorcycles and is named after a Wild West outlaw! What could go wrong?

              1. Whoa. You like totally channeled Sandra right then. Is that a new power?

              2. I have to respect a man who can separate dumb shits who want a motorcycle to look at and talk about but never actually ride from tens of thousands of dollars of their money. That is a good gig if you can get it.

              3. He’s descended from the outlaw Jesse James, Epi. Speaking of, who else tremendously enjoyed The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford?

                1. That is a great movie. Best Western since Unforgiven. Who ever thought anyoen named Afflack could act? Casey Afflack is fucking brilliant in that movie. So is Pitt for that matter.

                  1. I love his insurance.

                  2. Casey Affleck’s whiny voice and pathetic demeanor worked quite well for the character of Robert Ford. Unfortunately, it makes his roles in other movies unbearable.

          2. Okay, maybe her judgement of scripts is about as good as her judgement of character?

            1. Many beautiful actresses have had the same blind spot for bad scripts and bad men.

        3. I suspect maybe her income despite the horridness of her filmography might be because of her apparant sanity.

          As far I can tell, she hasn’t been in rehab, or prison, or beaten anyone up.

          This is probably what film producers consider easy to work with.

        4. And what I really want to know is how long before she pulls a Marisa Tomei and to everyone’s very pleasant surprise starts showing up naked in every movie she makes.

    2. I heard a rumor from a NYC employee that Rudy Giuliani, after watching The Net in ’95, abruptly put on hold the City’s plans to launch a website. Not sure of all the details, but there you go.

  2. But you walked out on it, right?

    I didn’t see it in the theater. But two movies I did see and walked out on are Four Weddings and a Funeral and Get Carter. Monuments of suckitude.

    1. No, I got loaded instead. I don’t walk out after paying $10. Call it a sunk cost fallacy, but if I paid, I’m gonna stay and make everyone’s viewing experience hell. During Dungeons and Dragons I clapped after Marlon Wayans got killed. Because I was actually really pleased.

      1. I just started wathching In Living Color a few days ago. That is some funny comedy. Homey the clown and Men on Movies just crack me up.

        1. In Living Color had some moments, no question. But D&D was abysmal. And it had Zoe McLellan and was still abysmal. That’s quite an achievement.

    2. I have only walked out on one movie in my life, Shakespeare in Love. My God that movie was awful. And I actually sat through Steel Magnolias. So it is not like I can’t take suckatude.

      1. It would take a robot not to cry at that movie.

        1. “One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing.”

          1. “skewwl in da belly”
            or was that the other Nell?

      2. I came really close to walking out of Year One. The only reason I didn’t is because I was with friends and someone else had driven. But I seriously considered walking out and waiting in the theater lobby. Sometimes I regret staying. Staring at the wall would have been more entertaining than that piece of crap.

        1. Any movie where Jack Black plays anything but a secondary character is painful. And yes School of Rock I am talking about you.

          1. Thank you, John. I thought I was the only one.

            I can’t even make myself watch it. But that’s partly because I loathe Richard Linklater. (Slacker: one of the few movies I have walked out of in my own home.)

            1. I think the only movie I’ve liked Jack Black in was Jesus Son. He was great I that.

              1. I hate Jack Black, but Nacho Libre is great.

                1. Wow. Are you joking? I thought it was as funny as The Hangover.

                  And the only movie I would have walked out on was Alexander, but I was with friends. I should have talked to them, though, because after the movie was over, we all said we thought about leaving.

                2. I hate Jack Black

                  Agreed. Jack Black strikes me as the guy in HS who tried really, really hard to fit in, and was just amusing enough to noticed, but everyone still regards as a douche of the highest order.

                  1. Disagreed. Jack Black is hilarious.

  3. Two months ago, I saw a provocative movie on cable TV. It was called The Net, with that girl from the bus.

    1. Serenity now, insanity later.

  4. I thought I read somewhere this morning that the Dodd Financial Reform Act would hand control of the Internet to the FCC.

    1. I thought that was the FTC.

  5. They used the internet to kill a diabetic with an insulin overdose in that movie. Just another in the hateful litany of anti-diabetic bias in the movie and TV industry.

    1. That was the best part. Just because you’re genetically inferior doesn’t give you license to bitch. Oh look, I’m drinking a whole Mexican Coke right now! HA HA HA HA!

      1. Ah, Sugar Coke. What a great thing that is.

        1. Damn straight. Thank God for the random bulk orders of shit no one else wants that find their way to the shelves of Marc’s for weeks at a time.

    2. I’ve never seen the Net. Please tell me you’re joking…

      1. Not joking. The shadowy hackers up his dose on his electronic records when he’s in the hospital. Of course, this is a hospital that would have glucagon, or failing that, an IV glucose push in a hilarious large syringe.

        1. Was it a clown syringe?

          1. No, those protrude gag flowers.

    3. How did Sammy Jankis kill his wife again?

      1. It’s implied that you are Sammy Jankis. So I’m not surprised you don’t remember.

  6. It’s also possible that the FCC could go back to Congress for additional regulatory authority.

    I believe they already have, although I don’t know the details of what’s in Dodd’s financial institution fast-track bail-out and all-around corporatist support bill.

    1. RC Dean,

      The FinReg bill actually gives new powers over the Internet to the FTC – a problem, but a totally separate one from what’s been going on at the FCC.

      1. Dammit to hell. It’s like trying to kill a fucking hydra. For every power-grabbing hand that’s struck down, two more pop up in their place.

        1. Lop off roughly 200 hands and you might make decent progress, at least for a couple of years. Or you could try the more violent but reliable route and lop off 100 heads.

    2. FTC, FCC – who can keep it all straight?

  7. Your diabeetus makes ya cross too, don’t it?

  8. Sandra Bullock and some guy staring at Sandra’s feet in…THE NET

    1. D.C. Readers have probably already heard this one.
      Q: How can you tell an extroverted [name of intelligence community agency redacted] employee?

      A: He’s the one staring at the other person’s shoes.

  9. The simple answer here is for ISPs to do some simple disclosures about what traffic they filter and how, if at all, they do traffic shaping. I’d probably pay a premium to a provider who made that information available before I placed an order.

    The FCC doesn’t have any business telling them _what_ their traffic shaping policies are, but right now ISPs keep these on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying “Beware of the leopard.”

  10. Do let’s spare the reader any more “whither and wherefore Sandra Bullock” nonsense. We know the only question the male commenters are really asking is “why did she hook up with that rodent and not me?” Hey, she had her chance, had she but known…

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