Editorial: Net Neutrality isn’t dead yet; hope lives

Editorial: Net Neutrality isn’t dead yet; hope lives
December 21
08:00 2017

They did it again. Officials with the mentality of President Donald Trump have voted for corporate favoritism over the majority of Americans. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 3-2 along party lines – three Republicans vs. two Democrats – to allow broadband providers, or internet service providers, to block or slow web traffic and provide fast lanes for companies that pay more to deliver content quickly. The vote dismantles regulations, known as Net Neutrality, enacted in 2015 by the Obama administration. A story in the News and Observer in Raleigh says the decision may go into effect within 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Tim Johnson of the McClatchy News Service describes what will probably happen next as a ping-pong match that will involve the courts, Capitol Hill and the voting booths.

People are going to sue, Harold Feld, senior vice president of Public Knowledge, told Johnson, adding that the most likely grounds would be that the repeal is “arbitrary and capricious” under the Administrative Procedure Act.

“You have to acknowledge that you are reversing policy and you have to explain why the new policy is the better policy,” Feld said.

Several Democratic senators said they would push for a resolution of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to overturn the FCC ruling and restore the Net Neutrality rules that went into effect in 2015. Such resolutions allow Congress to reverse regulatory decisions at federal agencies with a simple majority vote in both chambers, Johnson said.

Ferras Vinh, policy counsel for the Open Internet Project at the Center for Democracy & Technology, told Johnson: “It’s very possible that members of Congress who supported the repeal are going to be held accountable in the upcoming election cycle. It’s going to be a politically precarious position.”

Ajit Pai, the FCC chairman who was appointed by President Trump, says opponents are crying wolf.

“It is not going to end the internet as we know it. It is not going to kill democracy. It is not going to stifle free expression online,” Pai said.

Even supporters of the FCC ruling say that the decision is not etched in stone, Johnson said.

“We want to see this issue resolved, and the only way it’s going to be resolved is through legislation or a Supreme Court decision on the fundamental questions over the agency’s authority over the internet,” said Berin Szoka, president of Tech Freedom, a technology policy think tank headquartered in Washington.

So, there are all these options and actions available to stop the ruling from going through or reversing it at some point. What can be done in 60 days? We’ll see. Meanwhile, the internet is free and fast for everyone.

About Author

WS Chronicle

WS Chronicle

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors