The upside of the net neutrality court ruling. Will the FCC regulate OTTs?

Posted on February 10, 2014  /  0 Comments

This is stuck at the end of a New York Times article on how the new FCC Chair has been doing in his first months. Worth pondering over.

But he has yet to speak plainly about his plans to overcome the net neutrality decision. Critics say that in doing so he has hidden just how much power the F.C.C. had gained from the decision.

In the case, Verizon v. F.C.C., the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said that the commission was wrong in how it went about imposing rules on how broadband providers treat Internet traffic. But the decision embraced a view the F.C.C. itself had previously rejected — that the agency’s charge to promote the expansion of broadband gives it sway not only over Internet service providers but also over companies that offer Internet content, like Google, Facebook or Netflix.

“It gave the F.C.C. a lot more power to do anything it wants to a lot of Internet companies,” said Berin Szoka, a founder of TechFreedom, which promotes digital rights and privacy. “It means three unchecked bureaucrats at the F.C.C.,” the number required for a majority on the five-member commission, “get to regulate the Internet however they want without any oversight.”

Robert M. McDowell, a former F.C.C. commissioner who is now a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute, said the decision “was clearly written in a way to give the F.C.C. the authority to do something.”

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