Congressional net neutrality all but dead

Nick R. Brown Contributor
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The link that you can find here leads to a list of the 95 Democrats that were in support of net neutrality legislation.  If you were curious how many of them we in the free market still have to contend with, I went ahead and did the research for you so that you could save yourself the headache of counting to zero.

Every single one of the 95 Democrats that signed on to “protect net neutrality”…whatever that means…are kaput.  Those in the regulation camp have got to be seeking out spots to hang themselves.  I’ve cleared out extra space in my closet to accommodate anyone in need.

The big concern was whether the FCC would push for a vote on its “Third Way” plan to reclassify the Internet from an information service to a Title II telecommunications service in FCC meetings in November.  This move would have given the FCC a tremendous amount of regulatory power over Internet Service Providers.  Surprisingly enough, nothing to do with net neutrality appears on the FCC’s announced agenda, “In case you were wondering,” as Amy Schatz of the Wall Street Journal so slyly tweeted.  This is of course a “tentative” agenda according to the FCC.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski’s goose may be cooked.  Everyone saw this coming a month ago.  Rob Pegoraro titled his article in The Washington Post, “It’s put-up or shut-up time for the FCC’s net-neutrality advocates.”  Meanwhile, Free Press’ Timothy Karr and Josh Silver began goading the chairman, commenting that he “is terrified of making [tough] decisions.”  Which is actually hysterical coming from those two.  The only tough decisions Free Press makes every month is which bandwagon they should jump on.

The point is, net neutrality supporters knew that if something wasn’t done and done quickly last month, Genachowski would likely not make a move, and that if there was a landslide win by conservatives in the House, which there was, that Congressional support would be gone as well.  And now that it appears the chairman won’t try to force anything through in the lame duck session and Congress simply won’t have the power, one could expect that conservatives would start taking charge and asking why we are rushing into regulation that we don’t need before it’s “too late.”  No one knows what we are going to be too late for, but I hear that it’s “a really big deal.”

Bloomberg reported that Texas Representative Joe Barton, the likely heir to the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee told Bloomberg that he plans to ask “the Obama administration Federal Communication Commission to explain why it thinks the Internet needs federal government regulation for the first time.”

Glad to hear someone is finally getting around to asking them that.

Nick R. Brown is a technology policy analyst, and has spent time with The Heritage Foundation, Competitive Enterprise Institute, and has been a Google Fellow. He currently works with Digital Society.