JESSICA ROSENWORCEL writing, "The FCC's net neutrality decision is a study in just what's wrong with WASHINGTON".

In this document, the Federal Communications Commission (Commission) returns to the light-touch regulatory scheme that enabled the internet to develop and thrive for almost two decades. This document aimed to reinstate the information service classification of broadband internet access service. Individual states are passing their own net neutrality rules to mandate fair treatment of all network traffic.

The commission ended a ban on broadband providers like Comcast Corp. or AT&T Inc. from blocking or slowing internet traffic. It would also likely harm smaller publishers and startups that can't afford to pay fast-lane fees.

However, all of this was communicated to the FCC before the repeal.


However there are historical examples of bad behavior and global analogies that suggest the FCC's critics are far from hysterical.

Mostly, it starts a legal clock.

Before December's vote, the attorneys general of almost 20 states asked the FCC to delay its decision based on evidence that impersonators posted hundreds of thousands of fake comments on the commissions' notice of the proposed rule change. The Senate is reportedly evenly split, with 50 votes in favor of reversing the action. "The FCC and Chairman Pai just triggered a timeline that will culminate in a Senate vote on my resolution, and we can not let up until we win".

The attorneys general argue that the FCC can not make "arbitrary and capricious" changes to existing policies and that it misinterpreted and disregarded "critical record evidence on industry practices and harm to consumers and businesses".


The coalition, lead by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, filed a lawsuit in January to block the repeal of the rules but agreed to withdraw it Friday and wait for the FCC's publication. That includes laws that would require disclosure of business practices from internet providers, like the one moving through the Washington state legislature. Congress has exclusive authority to regulate interstate commerce, which is the basis of the FCC's legal argument. "Common Cause and its allies are fighting all the way to oppose the FCC's misguided actions and restore the net neutrality rules through all fronts including litigation, state legislation and the Congressional Review Act". Effective date for this order's enforcement is April 23rd, 2018.

How this all shakes out remains to be seen. He writes a personal blog, Screenwerk, about connecting the dots between digital media and real-world consumer behavior.

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land.


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