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Irony of Little Openness in FCC Open Internet Reg-making

If the FCC is proposing open Internet/net neutrality regulations soon for decision in December, it is ironic that the FCC, which is poised to mandate openness and transparency for competitive broadband providers, is not leading by example in being open or transparent themselves.

If the FCC Chairman intended to decide net neutrality regulations imminently, why did the Chairman not openly mention his plan, rationale, and justification to his fellow regulators in his annual major policy vision speech to NARUC this past Monday?

  • If the FCC is now confident its new Internet regulations are indeed the right and defensible thing to do, why not openly and transparently defend them, why schedule them right before a big holiday recess, when the FCC knows most everyone interested will be traveling or on vacation and not be able to read them or respond to them?
    • Would the FCC consider it open or transparent, if competitive broadband providers fulfilled their openness and transparency obligations, at a time, and in a manner, when its obvious most all consumers would not hear them or benefit from them?

If there is a possibility that new net neutrality regulation could be on the December agenda, why isn't the FCC's spokesperson not open and transparent that it is a possibility rather than denying it as "uninformed" and "pure speculation at best."

If the FCC believes in open government and that transparency is the best policy, why would the FCC schedule a decision on such an important issue when Congress is on recess and its overseers are most likely to be out of town?

If the FCC now has discovered new evidence of a problem of market failure that requires new quick FCC regulation to solve, why is the FCC not openly and transparently sharing it with the public so that they are assured the FCC is on top of it?

If the FCC has invented a new defensible rationale and justification for why two thousand competitive broadband companies, which have not yet been accused of any wrongdoing, are guilty until proven innocent and should be regulated preemptively... why is the FCC not open and transparent about that?

If the FCC now has figured out a new defensible Title I legal rationale after the appeals court rejected their last one, and after arguing later that Title II is the best legal approach in its "Third Way" release, why not openly and transparently share the FCC's new legal logic and analysis publicly before it becomes a de facto fait accompli when announced in proposed rules?

  • (That way the FCC could be spared losing again in court and the economy could be spared from the whipsaw uncertainty of new potentially flawed legal analysis -- yet again.)

If the FCC believes openness and transparency is the best way to create certainty and thus economic growth and job creation, why is the FCC being stealthy and closed and not open and transparent in presenting the FCC's work product?

And where is FreePress on the FCC's lack of openness and transparency, the entity which routinely screams when it believes the process is not fully open or transparent?

In sum, the real interesting story here may be the proverbial "dog that did not bark."

  • As those who have followed this painfully real regulatory soap opera know only too well, when the FCC  is not going in FreePress' direction, or is not moving fast enough for FreePress, FreePress excoriates the FCC and its Chairman via FreePress' favored media outlets.
  • The fact that FreePress has a Cheshire Cat smile and is not even mewing at the FCC, strongly suggests that they have been told in a not very open or transparent way, that they are being taken care of.

If the FCC expects to promote true openness and transparency in the industry, the least they could do is lead by example with true openness and transparency at the FCC.