By Andrew Kreig / JIP Director's Blog
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Dec. 21 approved by a 3-2 party line vote a compromise proposal on net neutrality rules. The new provisions impose on telecom and cable broadband operators transparency, anti-blocking and anti-discrimination provisions while giving internet service providers flexibility to exercise “reasonable” network management, including higher costs for some services. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski won a majority with the help of two Democrats who wanted stronger consumer protections. Both FCC Republicans opposed the rules, predicting they would be overturned in court as going beyond the commission’s powers delegated by Congress.
Civil rights and Internet freedom groups complained that the commission’s compromise does not adequately protect users against content restrictions and price-gouging. Providers tended to complain that the rules are over-regulatory. The rules are expected to be a bonanza for relevant DC lobbyists and other advocates as they are hired to impact the interpretation of such terms as “reasonable.”
Click for the statements of Democratic Chairman Julius Genachowski and the two senior members of the Commission, Democrat Michael Copps and Republican Robert McDowell. The Justice Integrity Project attended the vote, and plans to publish our analysis tomorrow.