Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Net Neutrality Is Now the Law

Amy Schatz, Recode:

The new proposal essentially reverses a 2003 agency decision to deregulate Internet lines. The FCC is relying on legal authority Congress granted it under Title II of the Communications Act, which was written for old phone lines, to police Internet providers.

Since many of the provisions of Title II don’t make sense when applied to modern networks, the agency is only using a few of those provisions when it comes to net neutrality. For example, FCC officials have vowed to not try and regulate broadband rates, or require current broadband providers to offer a potential rival access to their networks at reasonable rates.

This is very, very good news. There are plenty of reasons why service providers shouldn’t be policing themselves, chief among which is exemplified by Verizon’s petulant response:

Today (Feb. 26) the Federal Communications Commission approved an order urged by President Obama that imposes rules on broadband Internet services that were written in the era of the steam locomotive and the telegraph.

Only rules that apply to the internet and which make sense will be used. And I’m really not sure why the age of a rule has any bearing on its validity. In fact, I’m not sure Verizon even believes that:

Verizon pressed its argument against the Federal Communications Commission’s new network neutrality rules on Monday; filing a legal brief with the United States Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. The company argued the FCC’s rules not only exceeded the agency’s regulatory authority, but also violated network owners’ constitutional rights. Specifically, Verizon believes that the FCC is threatening its First Amendment right to freedom of speech and its property rights under the Fifth Amendment.

The Bill of Rights was ratified in 1791, or as a Verizon PR person might write, in the time of the French Revolution and George Washington.

“What has been and will remain constant before, during and after the existence of any regulations is Verizon’s commitment to an open Internet that provides consumers with competitive broadband choices and Internet access when, where, and how they want.”

Limited time offer, subject to additional rules which can be found at verizon.com. Not valid when combined with other offers. See store for details.

Update: The Times illustrates why this is necessary.