If activists want to stop the rollout of the new net neutrality rules, they’re going to have to use the courts to do it.
Since the FCC first announced that it had approved a new set of regulations governing internet providers, those providers have been trying to find a way to block the rollout, which is set to happen on June 12. They’re attacking both the FCC’s intent to classify the internet as a utility, and provisions that would prevent providers from self-regulating internet traffic.
Yesterday, the FCC denied petitions from eight of these providers asking the Commission to hold off on implementing the rules until the court battles settle themselves. The denial comes as a shock to absolutely no one, and ushers in a new round of court challenges in addition to ones already brought by AT&T and other providers.
More via The Hill:
The FCC’s decision on reclassification was meant to give the commission broader authority to police net neutrality, the idea that no piece of Internet traffic should be prioritized above another. The order included rules against blocking or throttling traffic, and paid prioritization. The commission also implemented a broader conduct standard for determining abuse.
In its denial of the petitions, the FCC argued that rolling back the conduct standard and reclassification would “eliminate these important regulatory backstops against the harms to consumers and innovators.” The commission also argued the challenges are not likely to succeed because the Internet rule falls “well within the commission’s statutory authority, is consistent with Supreme Court precedent, and fully complies with the Administrative Procedure Act.”
FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is “pretty confident” that requests to delay the rollout will fail; according to net neutrality supporters, the fact that challengers will have to bring new arguments to the table if they want to challenge the Commission’s rule making authority could mean the end of the opposition:
When asked if he expected as many challenges as he got, Wheeler was blunt. “Sure,” he said. “The Big Dogs will sue on the things they don’t like and it’s their right.” Still, he doesn’t seem all too worried about the matter. Wheeler explained that the Verizon decision that overturned the 2010 Net Neutrality rules was based on the concept that the FCC tried to impose Title II-like requirements without actually coming out and saying these companies are Title II common carriers. Even with parts of the Telecommunications Act subject to forbearance here — meaning some things just won’t apply to keep regulatory meddling to a minimum — there’s just no ambiguity anymore. That extra bit of legal specificity is enough to keep Wheeler awfully optimistic about the Open Internet’s chances, but you know its opponents are going to throw whatever they can at the plan in hopes that something icky sticks.
There’s plenty of icky here, even if the progressive tech community doesn’t want to admit it. Regulatory overreach has found a home in the FCC, and small government activists aren’t going to let a true free and open internet go without a fight.
We’ll keep you posted on the challenges to the new net neutrality regulations as they surface (and die and surface again.)DONATE
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