Late last Friday, the Office of Management and Budget stamped its seal of approval on the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules under the Paperwork Reduction Act—the final obstacle for these burdensome regulations. As the rules move toward full implementation, a strong Congressional challenge and lawsuits to rollback Net Neutrality are expected.
The Net Neutrality rules move to limit how Internet Service Providers (ISPs) manage data flowing on their networks. While claiming legality under Section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, this legislation does not grant such power at all. In fact, Section 706 calls for the expansion of broadband via deregulation, not further regulations. The Court of Appeals for D.C. even ruled that Net Neutrality cannot be justified under this particular section of the Telecommunications Act.
As has been seen in The Netherlands, Net Neutrality is extremely detrimental to the telecommunications industry. The largest Dutch wireless company, KPN, has been forced to increase their prices by a significant percentage in order to recoup their financial losses as a result of the new, onerous regulations. In the current economic status, furthering the financial and regulatory burden on companies, and, consequently, consumers is absolutely unjustifiable.
The House of Representatives has already taken steps to repeal Net Neutrality in its entirety. H.R. 2434, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act of 2012, moves to both decrease the budget of the FCC and scrap the Net Neutrality rules. Another effort, H.J. Res. 37, was passed by the House in a 240-179 vote, and acts as a joint resolution of disapproval for the Net Neutrality rules. Under the Congressional Review Act, should the measure pass the Senate and be signed by the President, this resolution would nullify the rules. These pieces of legislation clearly did not sit well with the Obama Administration, forcing the President to say that he would veto any attempts to repeal the regulations.
Net Neutrality greatly restricts investment and job creation, and infringes upon an industry that has grown because of the fact that it is relatively unregulated. The Internet has grown because the free market governs best, not federal regulators. In order to keep the telecommunications market both thriving and affordable, it is important that these rules are challenged and repealed immediately.