A second attempt at creating network neutrality rules has come and gone, but it appears a third attempt is coming.
Back in April, the Washington D.C. Court of Appeals ruled that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) did not have jurisdiction to enforce network neutrality rules under current law. As a result, some members in Congress-specifically House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman-attempted to pass legislation giving the FCC that jurisdiction. Under Chairman Waxman’s bill, the FCC would have gained the ability to impose fines of up to $2 million for net-neutrality violations.
Congress recently broke session without voting on net neutrality legislation, but Chairman Waxman publicly endorsed Title II re-classification of broadband services. Re-classifying broadband as a telecommunications service would make the internet subject to very strict regulatory oversight. The Chairman’s endorsement gives the FCC “political cover” to again push net neutrality forward.
As I point out in mycomments to the FCC, consumers would be hurt by any net neutrality regulation. The service providers currently have flexibility to manage their own networks and they are doing it, investing $7 billion in the infrastructure last year alone. These investments allow high-bandwidth applications through the lines without hogging capacity or slowing down systems. If the service providers can no longer manage their own lines, there is no reason for them to invest in their upkeep, causing the Internet to slow down and even crack.
What will the FCC do? We can only wait and see, but it looks as if an attempt at “reclassification” is just around the corner.
– Ryan Brannan