When I was prompted on the Inner to create Project Silver Lining I did not know of these recent developments…
Hundreds of people have been burrowing into this week’s D.C. District Court of Appeals 2-1 decision giving the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) everything it wanted and more in its campaign for net neutrality regulation, or conversion of the Internet into a public utility with FCC as overlord.
Entropy Economics’ Bret Swanson summed it up well:
The court upheld not only the FCC’s reclassification of broadband as a Title II telecom service (a switch from its previous designation as a lightly regulated Title I information service), it also allowed the FCC’s redefinition of the Internet itself, the sweeping of mobile broadband into Title II. (Emphasis in original.)
What’s most disappointing is how threats that warned of many years ago by many were exactly what came to pass, and now FCC will be spending all its time interfering at every level – the opposite of what’s needed to ensure investment and network proliferation. That means eventual score-settling against content and app providers who cheered FCC on, as they become subject to newfangled “neutrality” mandates that tomorrow’s creative regulators will dream up. (See my piece on “FCC’s Net Neutrality Order To Ensnare Content And App Providers.”)
This matter will go to a full en banc hearing and/or the U.S. Supreme Court, but even a partial relaxation of FCC’s power grab (also pressed by President Obama; see “Barack Obama as FCC Chairman”) it will remain devastating. As with financial regulation, the Internet is being teed up to become an entity that FCC controls with ease, without legislation from Congress, without writing down any formal regulations at all, and perhaps even without writing anything. You’ll just ask permission before you move. On page 106 of the FCC’s 400-page regulatory order, the agency intones. more
After the FCC began its assault on net neutrality earlier this year, several cities and states began looking into ways to protect consumers on their own. Unfortunately, the FCC has decided that it won’t allow that to happen: as part of its proposal to repeal net neutrality, the commission is trying to use its authority to preempt any and all state and local net neutrality regulations.
The commission intends to block any local laws or regulations that “effectively impose rules or requirements that we have repealed or decided to refrain from imposing in this order or that would impose more stringent requirements for any aspect of broadband service that we address in this order.”
So to sum up: states can’t pass anything covered in the 2015 net neutrality order, they can’t pass anything the FCC mentioned but didn’t pass in this new order, and they can’t pass anything that would at all make life more difficult for ISPs. That seems to include the stricter privacy rules that Congress voted to throw out earlier this year.
The FCC says it’s able to implement this ban because internet access is an interstate service, and it’s impractical to make ISPs treat interstate and intrastate traffic differently. Doing so, the commission writes, would apply “far greater burdens” and “pose an obstacle to or place an undue burden on” the delivery of broadband internet.
It’s very likely this provision will end up being challenged in court, especially since states and localities have already started passing measures to protect consumers’ data. If it holds up, it’ll then be up to Congress to pass stricter net neutrality rules.
The FCC will vote on its proposal to end net neutrality on December 14th. source
AND SO IT GOES. I truly believe we can switch the playing field even in this matter, through focused intention, using the very medium they are attempting to control…not by protesting, but intentional focus. It is simple quantum mechanics.