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More Evidence FCC's Net Neutrality Regs in Trouble -- Part X: Dead Regs Walking? Series
Submitted by Scott Cleland on Tue, 2011-08-02 13:20
There's more powerful evidence from Capitol Hill that the FCC's beleaguered Open Internet/net neutrality regulations are in serious trouble.
First, on July 27th, eleven GOP Senators on the Senate Commerce Committee requested in a letter, that the FCC conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the FCC's Open Internet Order, given the President's recent Executive Order directing independent agencies to reduce burdensome regulations.
- From the Senators' letter to the FCC: "Specifically, we concur that each executive and independent agency should propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that its benefits justify the costs. ...we respectfully request that before net neutrality rules go into effect, you honor the intent of the President's Executive Order by applying a retrospective review towards the net neutrality order and pursuing a cost benefit analysis. If not please provide us with a detailed explanation."
- The great relevance of this letter is that it will become the most recent FCC justification and defense of their net neutrality regulations that surely will become a basis for the Senate's consideration of the expected formal Resolution of Disapproval of the FCC Open Internet Order this fall.
- The FCC's response is very important as it needs to persuade 50 of the 53 Senate Democrats to oppose the upcoming Resolution of Disapproval. Many of them are up for re-election and need a very strong FCC defense to provide them political cover for supporting the FCC's preemptive speculative regulation of a broadband sector that was not engaged in any proven problem meriting any new regulation.
- Simply, in this environment the FCC needs to strongly justify that the benefits of the FCC regs outweigh the costs, a tall order given that the rules were preemptive by the FCC's own admission, implying that they are by definition more cost than benefit.
- If the FCC does not take the letter seriously, it could give wavering Democrat Senators an easy excuse to vote for the Resolution of Disapproval on process grounds.
Second, a day later, July 28th, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Upton, and Subcommittee Chairmen Walden and Stearns, sent an oversight investigation inquiry letter to the FCC asking for all relevant FCC documents and communications in the six months leading up to the FCC's Open Internet Order -- to determine if:
- "... the FCC failed to develop an independent conclusion derived from a balanced fact-based record, which is incompatible with proper rule making."
- The real import of this letter is that it is an appropriate Congressional oversight function that could also have the practical effect of putting into the public domain essential discovery facts and information that could prove very important to the expected upcoming appeal of the FCC's Open Internet Order in Federal Appeals Court.
- If the facts indicate that the FCC did not follow appropriate FCC and legal process and procedure, or base its conclusions on substantiated facts of a real problem, this would greatly diminish the odds of the FCC's Open Internet order surviving appeal.
In sum, both the Senate and the House acted wisely and responsibly last week, in different but complimentary ways, to ensure that the FCC's net neutrality regulations are subject to all the due process and Congressional oversight requirements that such extremely controversial regulations deserve.
Find links to the previous parts of this "Dead Regs Walking" research series below:
- Part XI: New Evidence Administration Support for Net Neutrality Fading
- Part VIII: FCC's Net Neutrality Rationale Crumbling in US & EU -- Dead Regs Walking?
- Part VII: Net Neutrality Proponents are Hearing Footsteps
- Part VI: How FCC Data-Roaming Order Undermines FCC's Net Neutrality Regulations
- Part V: The Net Neutrality Accountability Gauntlet
- Part IV: FCC Out-Europe's Europe on net Neutrality
- Part III: FCC's Net Regs in Conflict with President's Pledges
- Part II: Why Verizon Wins Appeal of FCC's Net Regs
- Post I: Why FCC's Net Regs Need Administration/Congressional Regulatory Review