First it was financial regulation, then it was healthcare and now the government, in the form of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is looking at how it might get its regulatory mitts on the Internet, according to the ad-hoc group Internet Freedom Coalition (IFC). The FCC closed the book on public comments last week regarding how it might approach regulating the new frontier for the first time, despite, according to the IFC, court rulings saying the it does not have the authority.
"Now, Americans are facing the imposition of an even lesser-understood regulatory regime over the Internet without the benefit of any legislative process whatsoever," were among the words used by the IFC in a press release regarding its comments to the commission.
The group said reclassifying information services as telecommunications services is a radical increase of federal regulatory authority over the Internet that will harm both consumers and producers. However, that is not going to stop the FCC from moving forward, said the IFC.
The release also voiced objection to the position taken by the Free Press. Seton Motley, Editor in Chief of StopNetRegulation.org, said Free Press "advocates Network Neutrality and a radical government takeover of the Internet to get to it."
Meanwhile, Free Press issued its own release calling for "swift FCC action to protect Internet users." In comments filed with the FCC, Free Press said it "debunked" industry arguments against the FCC's proposal to reestablish a legal framework that allows it to set broadband policy and endorsed Chairman Genachowski's "third way" proposal.
"The FCC chairman's proposal is a sensible, limited revision that rescues the agency from a failed legal experiment conducted by the previous administration," said S. Derek Turner, Free Press research director. He added that it would be irresponsible to further delay formulating a national broadband policy "simply because industry wishes for the FCC to have no authority over broadband communications."
- see the IFC press release
- and the Free Press press release
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