Net Neutrality

FCC Makes Yet Another Push For Net Neutrality Rules


If at first you don't succeed, try and try again? That seems to be the Federal Communications Commission's approach when it comes to net neutrality. Courts have nixed the agency's previous net neutrality rules twice already, but it's going to try again, according to The New York Times.

The proposals, to be introduced by Tom Wheeler, the chairman of the commission, will also include measures that will seek to prohibit Internet service providers from discriminating against any providers of Internet content. A federal appeals court ruled last month that the F.C.C.'s previously carried out Internet rules that illegally treated Internet service providers as regulated utilities, or common carriers, such as telephone service.

The court said that the F.C.C. did have authority to oversee broadband service in ways that encouraged competition and the expansion of broadband. Because that part of the ruling essentially expanded the F.C.C.'s authority, the commission will not appeal the ruling, handed down by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

 That last bit is important. Even though the most court recent ruling struck down the FCC's specific net neutrality requirements, it also gave the agency a lot more power over the Internet, saying that under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, the agency does have the power to promote and regulate broadband competition and deployment. We'll have to wait and see how the agency ends up using its new powers, but they are potentially far-reaching. In a dissenting opinion, Judge Laurence Silberman wrote that the majority ruling "grant[s] the FCC virtually unlimited power to regulate the Internet" by giving it the authority to put in place "any regulation that, in the FCC's judgment might arguably make the Internet 'better.'" The Internet becomes subject to the agency's easily politicized whims.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has said he wants to be careful about how the agency uses the power conferred by the ruling. He isn't, for example, taking the more radical step of reclassifying Internet services so that are subject to even stricter regulatory oversight. But he is going forward with yet another plan to implement net neutrality rules. And thanks to the court-granted expansion of the agency's authority, it's a plan that might actually work. 

NEXT: California Man Can't Schedule Back Surgery After Switching to Obamacare

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. That’s the nice thing about being a government agency: if your last power-grab failed, you still have essentially unlimited resources to try for it again in a new venue.

  2. I cannot believe how tenacious the Net Neutrality morons are. Sure, I get the FCC being tenacious; they want more power. But the bonecrushingly idiotic fools who support Net Neutrality just won’t stop. They are hell bent on handing over control of the internet to the government–from which we will never, ever get it back–because they don’t want their torrents throttled.

    The stupidity of these people is so stellar that I don’t understand how they’re still alive.

    1. Most of them have no knowledge of the complete and total clusterfuck that is POTS.

    2. “Mr. Episiarch, I’m from the Seattle branch of the FCC’s Office of Bandwidth Allocation. I see that you have exceeded your rationed bandwidth for the month of February.”

    3. There are lot of issues where people’s position is based on how it benefits them, often on the most absurdly narrow definition of “benefit”.

      1. Look, I have a right to 100 zettabytes/month of bandwidth. For cheaps.

    4. bonecrushingly idiotic fools who support Net Neutrality

      I love how they think that net neutrality will fix the “high prices” of Internet services and will eliminate data caps.

      1. They’re delusional to a degree that just mystifies me. Do they really think that giving control of the internet to the entity which passed and enforces the DMCA and similar legislation, and who did so at the lobbying behest of the media and entertainment companies, is going to leave them alone to torrent and stream and pirate? That it won’t cap data however the fuck it feels like?

        Are Net Neutrality proponents some kind of pod people? Because it just doesn’t make any sense.

        1. If government caps data then it will be for a good reason. If the core pour ray shuns do it it’s because of PROFITS!

        2. Give up Epi. I’ve had this argument with multiple liberals. They simply cannot foresee the bad things that will happen as a result of government enforced “net neutrality”.

          All they hear is Comcast, it’s like a dog whistle to them.

          1. They simply cannot foresee the bad things that will happen as a result of government enforced “net neutrality”.

            Forget about the bad things they can’t even understand how net neutrality will not do one thing for the good things (cheap internet, no caps) they want.

            It is like they want a cure for an ear infection so they ask to be injected with the AIDS virus. “That aught to fix it.”

            It is delusion turtles all the way down.

        3. More ironically one of the proponents of Net Neutrality is Google. Who argued that manipulating search results on their website is their right.

    5. Some people abhor liberty. The idea of people acting without permission or orders is downright scary. And that’s what the internet is. It’s the Wild West of technology. No one is in control. No one is giving permission. No one is issuing orders.

      That’s the only reason it has grown so well and become so effective. Because it has not had a central authority fucking it up.

  3. “…it also gave the agency a lot more power over the Internet, saying that under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, the agency does have the power to promote and regulate broadband competition and deployment.”

    Just to be pedantic: a court cannot give an agency power. It can affirm that Congress has previously duly authorized such powers, but if the court is saying that the agency has authority unjustified by statute, it is acting lawlessly. Whether or not the court is correct in saying that the Telecommunications Act grants such powers or is constitutional is another matter

  4. Just what the internet needs: anti-trust.

  5. I was pretty much done with the internet anyway.

  6. It gets even better. One of the industry rags says the FCC is considering using their Section 706 power to override state level bans of municipalities (aka the states’ political subdivisons) setting up and running broadband services. Fuck federalism (once again).

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.