• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • FCC and Net Neutrality: What Ever Happened to Transparency?

    Federal Communications Commission Logo

    The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is slated to vote Tuesday on an Internet regulation scheme hatched by Chairman Julius Genachowski. It’s bad enough that the commission is attempting yet again to supersede its statutory authority—despite a court ruling halting a previous attempt to regulate the Web. The fact that the public has been barred from reviewing the proposal argues for swift and severe congressional intervention.

    Opponents, of which there are many, predict that Genachowski’s ploy would dissuade investment in broadband and much-needed network expansion. Fellow FCC commissioner Robert M. McDowell, writing in The Wall Street Journal today, characterized the chairman’s power grab as “jaw-dropping interventionist chutzpah.”

    Since assuming the FCC chairmanship last year, Genachowski has been trying to impose so-called “net neutrality” regulations that would restrict the freedom of Internet service providers to manage their network transmissions. The latest incarnation of controls is reportedly based on a legislative proposal previously floated by Representative Henry Waxman of California—and soundly rejected by Congress. Moreover, the chairman’s prior claim to jurisdiction was firmly rebuffed in April by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.

    Although lacking regulatory details, hundreds of consumers, service providers, and other “stakeholders” have filed some 1,900 pages of comments on the FCC’s latest foray into Internet regulation. But anyone hoping to access the comments in the four days leading to Tuesday’s big vote were stymied by a “maintenance” shutdown of the agency’s Web site. Although it’s unlikely that FCC officials actually plotted to block the site, the untimely access restrictions hardly argue for FCC control over all Web transmissions.

    It’s not uncommon for a regulatory agency to seek to expand its authority by stealth. Indeed, that appears to be an operating principle of the Obama Administration. Yet from his first day as commission chairman, Genachowski pledged to ensure that the FCC would be “fair, open, and transparent” while encouraging the public to visit the FCC Web site and “contribute to the process.”

    That’s impossible to do when the chairman won’t release details about his plan for the most far-reaching government intrusion in Internet history. Nor can citizens participate in the process when the agency Web site is shut down in the days before the commission takes action.

    It’s time for Congress to restrain Genachowski’s regulatory ambitions, either with a statutory prohibition against net neutrality regulation or by barring FCC expenditures on same. It’s a good bet such action would help to deliver on the chairman’s promise of fairness, openness, and transparency.

    Posted in Economics [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to FCC and Net Neutrality: What Ever Happened to Transparency?

    1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. -- Topsy.com

    2. Pingback: FCC Website Was Shut Down On Eve of Net Neutrality Vote | The Lonely Conservative

    3. Pingback: AntiObamaBlog.com » FCC and Net Neutrality: What Ever Happened to Transparency?

    4. George Colgrove, VA says:

      All things aside, we need to find the federal program that comes up with all these logos and eliminate it. That could be outsourced to a kindergarten class for better results. Heck, we could do that for congress as well. Would be no difference in policy and would be free – except for the very high pay the union teacher gets.

    5. John Starnes Greer,S says:

      Controll of our communication is yet another step in the Obama's regime to destroy our way of life and replace it with a one world government in which the Obama regime would like to rule.

    6. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      For the author of this piece to suggest that "it's unlikely that FCC officials plotted

      to block the site" is absurd and stands as just how out of touch some of the

      writters for the HF are with reality and the Obama agenda. Some that are on the staff of HF had better wake up and realize this Obama administration is a full fledged socialist attack on this nation. By printing such foolish statement does

      a grave injustice the the readers of this site.

    7. BJ Ft. Myers Fl says:

      Although I feel confident that either Congress or the Courts will again strike down this power grab from FCC, one has to wonder just how far they wish to take this net neutrality. Chavez has just received authorization to shut down any internet media or messages that disagree with his dictitorial regime.

      Once we give government such powers, we as a nation are lost. Congress must act on this abuse of power by the Obama administration. If not the courts.

    8. Pingback: Must Know Headlines 12.21.2010 — ExposeTheMedia.com

    9. Bill, Charleston WV says:

      Could the FCC commissioners be sued civilly individually since they are acting without authority by Congress and the Court has ruled against them? It would appear that they would not be covered by Federal protections. Or, how about criminally for contempt of court, or using RICO?

    10. Spiritof76, NH says:

      The 112th Congress (House) must defund the FCC and withold funds until the communists and socialists occupying the position of leadership there are defanged. It is frustrating the we keep talking about loss of our freedom but we are not doing anything about it other than a lukewarm backlash at the elections. It does not appear to be the same country (based on reading of history) that fought against the superpower of their day, Great Britain to claim their freedom. Does this have to end up in a French style revolution?

    11. Barbara Russell, Kan says:

      Obama is eventually going to do away with the Congress. He will do everything by Executive Order. People we have much to be alarmed about . We need to contact all the Tea Parties we can even if they aren't in our states. We have a lot of RINO'S that we do not want back in the 2012 election. For example Snowe, Brown , Lugar . The others are Johnny Isakson, Collins, Voinoich, Bennett, Gregg, Corker, Alexander and McCain. Find people to run against them . We need to start NOW.

    12. Joseph Flynt, Palm H says:

      This Is Nothing New. The So Called Conservatives Should Be Screaming At The Top Of Their Voices To Stop This Administration. The People Have Spoken And Elected Republicans Who Said That They Were Conservatives. Just Like 1994 They Are Showing Timidity. What Ever Happened To The Patroitic Congressmen And U. S. Senators Who's Word Is Their Bond. No One Is Willing To Fall On The Sword To Save Their Country. I Don't Think That Any Of Them Realize That If Quick Fix Is Not The Agenda We Are Going Down. Our Men And Women In The Armed Forces Fall On The Sword Every Day For Their Country. If We Put The Congress And The Senate In The Armed Forces They Would Be Court Martialed By Sundown For Derelection Of Duty. Patriotic? Please !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    13. Bobbie says:

      Obama didn't specifically state transparency of the acts of government all good people that heard him assumed. Obama doesn't specify so he can hide his true intent which is transparency of us. Obama can be as deceitful as he wants if it furthers his cause. Unacceptable! Accountability and reprimand is necessary immediately!

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×