WASHINGTON | Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:29pm EST (Reuters)
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Representative Fred Upton, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Representative Greg Walden sponsored the resolution to repeal the rules follows a lawsuit filed in January by Verizon Communications that argues the FCC overstepped its authority.
This effort is probably doomed to failure because it would need to pass both chambers of Congress, where Democrats retain a majority in the Senate, and get President Barack Obama's signature, to have effect. At best it’ll turn into a bargaining chip in some other political fight. That really bothers me. Not only is it a waste of time needed for much more important work (like getting jobs!) but it puts me and the American public in the path of rate hikes for internet service. The Canadian Gov’t recently put the kabosh on a similar plan to raise rates there.
So what’s it about?
In December, the FCC voted 3-2 to ban Internet service providers like Comcast Corp and Verizon from blocking traffic but gave them some discretion to ration access and manage their networks. The FCC's two Republicans voted against the item.
Basically, this is Net Neutrality Redux ( link to prior article ).
Make no mistake, there’s a lot of money at stake here. This prima facie explains why politicians are up for the fight.
This split highlighted a huge divide between those who say the Internet will flourish without regulation and those who say the power of high-speed Internet providers to discriminate against competitors needs to be restrained.
I seem to remember this situation from somewhere: Oh yes! Wall St. and Banking deregulation.
Certainly worked to Main St.’s advantage there! We’re all a lot better of, aren’t we?
"I am concerned that this power grab will set a dangerous precedent to undermine the role of Congress as elected representatives of the people to determine the law of the land. I do not intend to allow this to occur," said Upton in a statement on the resolution and Joe Barton expressed a similar sentiment. I really wonder if their motives are so pure when it comes to that. After all, where control and power go, so go campaign contributions (remember? He’s the Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee of the House).
For anyone thinking, "Oh, he's a Liberal" (not a dirty word, incidently) I reply, "No, don't label me: I think all parties are compromised by our election funding laws. I don't like the Democrats OR the Republicans."
“John Shimkus, another Republican, pressed commissioners at the House communications subcommittee hearing on whether the FCC had done a cost-benefit analysis.”
To whom, Mr. Shimkus: The ISP’s and their executives, stockholders and the politicians receiving campaign contributions or the small businesses and public?
Verizon filed its complaint with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
The same court ruled last year that the FCC lacked the authority to stop Comcast from blocking bandwidth-hogging applications on its broadband network, spurring the agency's most recent rulemaking effort.
"We think we're going to win because we think that the theory we've laid out is very consistent with Supreme Court rulings in the area”, said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.