Internet denizens across America will be watching today as the FCC takes the first big step in granting itself the authority to regulate the Internet. An act, we’d like to add, that is something many manufacturers will be viewing with the same interest as, say, watching someone eat their own foot. By that, I mean mostly in horror, aghast that such an overt exercise of power would be done at all, figuratively and literally cannibalizing our nation’s best means of moving forward.
This all comes in the wake of the DC Circuit’s Comcast decision that held the FCC didn’t have the authority to chastise Comcast for violating rules that were never actually…um…rules. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has been wracking the collective brains of his attorneys to figure out how he can get that authority. Without having to go to Congress, that is, because they might disagree. Well, that’s not true; they do disagree. As a matter of fact, more than 77 Democratic Members of Congress – including Commerce Chairman Emeritus John Dingell who authored the Telecom Act of 1996 – have publicly disagreed with Chmn. Genachowski and asked him not to move forward with this scheme.
It seems as if Congress has this quaint idea that a light regulatory touch on the Internet might have something to do with its phenomenal success and growth, and that regulating it will just stifle innovation and economic growth.
The FCC extravaganza today is the first salvo in the war: The Commission will publicly ponder the issue and then vote on whether or not they’ll issue a Notice of Inquiry to begin the process of locking down the Internet. Of course, it’ll pass on party lines by a vote of 3-2 which, for an esoteric issue, will post a higher score than most World Cup matches this week.
Here’s the info for today’s meeting.
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