This week the Senate is expected to officially weigh in on the net neutrality debate by voting on a resolution with exactly that purpose. Earlier this year a similar resolution passed the House of Representatives.
In an official statement on the resolution, President Obama defended the new FCC policy:
The rule at issue resulted from a process that brought together parties on all sides of this issue ? from consumer groups to technology companies to broadband providers ? to enable their voices to be heard. Notably, the Federal Communications Commission?s rule reflected a constructive effort to build a consensus around what safeguards and protections were reasonable and necessary to ensure that the Internet continues to attract investment and to spur innovation. Disapproval of the rule would threaten those values and cast uncertainty over those innovative new businesses that are a critical part of the Nation?s economic recovery.
However, even among some net neutrality proponents, the FCC's action in the matter is somewhat controversial. Some believe the issue falls outside the scope of the FCC's authority.
Others believe it is an inadequate measure since it can be easily reversed by future FCC commissioners. And at least one group has gone so far as to sue the FCC for exempting mobile Internet providers from the majority of the new rules.
In fact, it is the FCC's flexibility in setting the rules for broadband Internet providers the current FCC chairman is relying on for the authority to regulate net neutrality in the first place. Ironically, that authority was established in a 2005 Supreme Court decision upholding a FCC decision to lessen regulations on broadband providers.
Many opponents of the FCC's rules claim they would give the agency authority to prevent broadband providers from offering new services. Without question that is false. However, that doesn't necessarily mean FCC rules represent any sort of lasting solution to the issue.
Written by: Rich Fiscus @ 9 Nov 2011 11:21