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FCC Chair Genachowski Again Offers Very Little in Defense of his Internet Land Grab


Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Julius Genachowski continues his persistent push to dramatically increase his Commission’s regulatory authority over the Internet.


He remains just as persistent in refusing to offer a substantive legal authority for doing it.

This could be because there really isn’t one. And it’s not just me saying it. It’s also a unanimous D.C. Circuit Court (in the Comcast-BitTorrent case), 282 members of Congress – including 74 House Democrats, and even seventeen minority groups who almost NEVER line up against any Democrat anywhere.

The consensus being that legislation is required to better delineate FCC authority over the Internet.

Way back on May 27, Michigan Democrat John Dingell sent Genachowski one of his famous “Dingell-grams” requesting an explanation. On July 26 – nearly two months later – Genachowski finally responded. Dingell was underwhelmed.

So much so that he yesterday publicly released a letter, in which he clearly expresses his under whelmed-ness.

“Unfortunately, the paucity of substantive responses to my aforementioned questions in your recent letter has served only to substantiate my fear that the Commission’s proposed path with respect to the regulation of broadband is based on unsound reasoning and an incomplete record,…”

Them’s harsh words. From a Democrat, to a Democrat.

Dingell went on to express his substantial concern for the debilitative effect the Commission’s move to regulate would have on future Internet successes and investment.

I worry that hurried action by the Commission to complete a rulemaking or issue a declaratory ruling concerning the classification of broadband Internet access services in the absence of a clear statutory mandate from the Congress will result in poor policy and protracted litigation, which itself will confound the Congress’ and the Commission’s efforts to encourage further investment in broadband infrastructure, create new jobs, and stimulate broadband adoption as we seek to implement network neutrality rules.

“With this in mind, I reiterate my suggestion that the Commission abandon the classification effort it has set in motion and instead seek the authority it requires by asking the Congress to enact a statute that clearly delegates such authority. In this way, the Congress and Commission may ensure the steadfast legal foundation for an open internet.”

Congressman Dingell gets a little sideways with his contradictory desires to “implement network neutrality rules” and “ensure the steadfast legal foundation for an open internet.” But his letter is a good and thorough whacking of the overreaching course currently charted by the FCC.

Congressman Dingell is just another in a LOOONG line of public officials – from both the legislative and judicial branches – telling the executive branch’s FCC that they do not have the regulatory authority to do what they are currently trying to do – commandeer control of the Internet.

It’s time for Chairman Genachowski to acknowledge this obviousness, and defer to Congress to do what it has always done with the FCC – decide whether or not to pass laws that give the Commission the authority it foolishly wishes to exercise all by it’s lonesome.

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