FCC Chairman Planning an Internet Power Grab Next Month

Author’s Note: BIG TIME UPDATE follows below. Things are indeed looking bad for freedom.

We have heard a great deal since the November 2nd Democrat electoral thumping about the (deserved) demise of the ridiculous notion that is Network Neutrality (NN).

After all, 95 Democrats pledged their election-eve support for it – and ALL 95 of them went down to defeat. And the group with whom they pledged their NN fealty – the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) – raised a pathetic amount of money on the issue – either less than $300 or less than $100, depending upon which page of their website you believe.

And then Europe – to whom the pro-Net Neutrality forces turn for direction on nearly all things – announced they would not be imposing NN.

These were just the latest in a LOOONG line of Net Neutrality losses of support and supporters. The remaining pro-NN gaggle could convene in a phone booth (if they could find one).

So there have been of late proclamations aplenty of the expiration of Network Neutrality.

I have not been one of the exuberants. As I said while speaking out of doors on video on the subject, the November 2nd election was – for ridding ourselves once and for all of Net Neutrality – the best of times. And perhaps the worst of times.

The Republican takeover of the House of Representatives made debilitating Net Neutrality legislation – of the sort Free Press and the Media Marxists have long desired – far, far less likely. That’s the good.

Then there’s the bad. Though Congress is supposed to be the place where these things happen, the pro-NN gaggle long ago gave up on the legislative route – because they couldn’t get it done in Congress.

So way back in 2006 they instead chose to focus their efforts on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to get Net Neutrality implemented via executive branch regulatory fiat – having made the cold calculation that it would be easier to get three votes from unelected FCC bureaucrats than it would be to get them from 269 of the People’s representatives.

And November 2nd made this long-pursued FCC Internet power grab – the reclassification of broadband – perhaps MORE likely, not less.

If FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski decides he wants to remake the Internet in the warped and diminished image envisioned by Free Press and the pro-NN gaggle – and he has an on-again and off-again flirtation with the concept – he may very well look at the newly-minted Republican House and decide that NOW’S the time for the FCC to make the Internet power grab move.

Chairman Genachowski’s next – and maybe last – opportunity to do this is the December 15th FCC monthly meeting. It’s the last such gathering before the new Republican House majority is sworn in. There are four (and perhaps five) possible incoming Republican House Energy & Commerce Chairman – and all of them are opposed to FCC Internet reclassification.

Why the additional heightened concern? Because when speaking yesterday with The Hill’s Sara Jerome, Chairman Genachowski’s Net Neutrality flirtation was REALLY on-again – he was in fact openly asserting his intent to seize control of the Internet.

Genachowski went further than he normally does in discussing net neutrality, which has become a lightning rod for controversy at his agency. He confirmed that the contentious rules are still on the way.

“That’ll happen,” Genachowski said of creating net-neutrality rules, which would constrain how phone and cable companies manage Internet traffic on their networks.

Genachowski also touted net-neutrality regulations as one of the most important policies the country can adopt to improve its broadband deployment efforts, which he described as lagging behind other countries.

“One of the basic things we can solve [to] maintain the openness of the pipes is open Internet,” he said, referring to the net-neutrality proceeding.

That’s not a flirtation, that’s a down-on-one-knee proposal. And Free Press and the pro-NN gaggle have already said Yes.

We await the December 15th FCC meeting agenda. They are required by statute to announce it 21 days in advance, which means we will know by no later than November 24th.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

UPDATE: Politico released a piece Thursday afternoon – a little after I finished this – confirming much of what I have been speculating. Below are some choice excerpts.

Unfortunately, it appears my aforementioned out of doors video and this essay were fairly prescient. And that means it looks bad, Ladies and Gentlemen.

Sources: FCC chief working on net neutrality proposal

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski is putting together a net neutrality proposal and plans to take action on the controversial issue as early as next month, according to several sources with knowledge of the situation….

The chairman’s proposal may go so far as to prohibit wireless companies from blocking any application, service or device. That would be a big win for public interest groups, who have been pushing for strong net neutrality rules on wireless networks as well as traditional Internet networks….

The timing of Genachowski’s plan is also unclear, although it appears his office is trying to release an outline of the proposal by next Wednesday, which is the deadline to circulate an order to the FCC’s other four commissioners before putting it on the agenda for the agency’s Dec. 15 meeting.

There are also political reasons for releasing a proposal early next week. Lawmakers will already be gone for the Thanksgiving holiday, giving the FCC a small window to release a controversial order without immediate harsh reactions from Capitol Hill Republicans….

While any net neutrality proposal will cause waves in the telecom world, sources say December is an ideal time for Genachowski to act on the issue because Republicans will not yet have officially assumed control of the House.

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