FCC declines to shoot itself in the head

11 May 2015 by Steve Blum
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Oh, baby, you are so talented – and they are so dumb!

Check that one off the list. Pro forma petitions to delay enforcement of common carrier rules for broadband infrastructure and service were denied by the Federal Communications Commission on Friday. The request was made by pretty much every Internet service provider in the country, or at least the lobbyists representing them. They did it because it was a necessary legal hoop they had to jump through to be able to do what they really want: ask a federal appeals court to put everything on hold while they try to get the new rules thrown out completely.

First, FCC staff says – not surprisingly – the decision was legal and the appeal is doomed to failure. Second, the rules the industry is objecting to for the moment won’t make much difference to them. Third, no one else will be harmed, and anyway the whole common carrier thing is in the public interest…

As the Commission observed, “communications networks are most vibrant, and best able to serve the public interest, when consumers are empowered to make their own decisions about how networks are to be accessed and utilized.” In this respect, the Commission’s Order maintains the status quo of an open Internet, which the Commission has committed to protect and promote since 2005. The record here was replete with evidence that the regulatory regime adopted in the Order is both essential to protect consumers and innovators against harms arising from a lack of openness and best serves the public interest.

The next step is for ISP lobbyists and lawyers to ask a federal appeals court to freeze everything while their legal challenge proceeds. The new rules are scheduled to take effect in a little more than a month, so there’s plenty of time to get it done. Or not.