As expected and in spite of overwhelming public and business support for net neutrality rules, the FCC just voted along party lines to strip themselves of the power to meaningfully regulate internet service providers. But just because appointed FCC Commissioners like Ajit Pai have no respect for the public, that doesn’t mean this is over.
Kayleigh Rogers, Vice:
The first course of immediate action will be for net neutrality proponents to pressure Congress to use the Congressional Review Act to pass a resolution of disapproval. This is a mechanism that allows Congress to overrule any regulations enacted by federal agencies. You might remember it’s the tool that the GOP used to eliminate broadband privacy protections earlier this year.
“The CRA is our best option on Capitol Hill for the time being,” said Timothy Karr, a spokesperson for the Free Press Action Fund, an open internet advocacy group. “We’re not interested in efforts to strike a Congressional compromise that are being championed by many in the phone and cable lobby. We don’t have a lot of confidence in the outcome of a legislative fight in a Congress where net neutrality advocates are completely outgunned and outspent by cable and telecom lobbyists.”
A lot more work needs to be done. Title II regulations are an effective and well-rounded way to treat ISPs more like the utility providers they really are, but a bill could be passed that places a Title II-style framework into a modern context for the internet, if there’s enough public pressure to do so. Time for Americans to get to work.
Update: New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is suing to block this repeal. He pointed out yesterday that millions of comments on this topic were posted under real people’s names without their knowledge or consent, and that the FCC has refused to allow an investigation into this matter.