Fighting Back Against Net Neutrality

After the FCC’s Net Neutrality rules were finally published in the Federal Register late last month, the bureaucratic agency has since received a huge blowback. Numerous lawsuits have been filed against the FCC challenging the rules —some asking for the rules to be repealed in their entirety, others claiming that the rules do not go far enough. One thing is for certain, though: many people are unhappy with the FCC’s Congress-skirting tactics that it used to implement Net Neutrality. If not halted soon, the rules will come into effect in late November.

One of the first groups to file suit was Verizon because of the dangers that Net Neutrality poses to the wireless industry (to see how stringent Net Neutrality regulations have affected the Dutch wireless industry, click here). Just yesterday, a judicial panel chose the D.C. Court of Appeals in a random lottery to decide where the Net Neutrality case will be held. This bodes well for opponents of these job-killing rules; the D.C. Court decided in a previous case that the FCC has no legal authority to enact Net Neutrality.

Other left-leaning groups, including Free Press and Media Access Project, purport that the rules do not go far enough and filed suits decrying that the law doesn’t apply as harsh rules for wireless ISPs. Yet, other traditionally left-leaning groups disagree. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, for example, has stated that the rules amount to nothing more than a “Trojan Horse” for further regulations for the broad powers that it grants the FCC.

Thus, it seems, not many people are happy with the current Net Neutrality rules.

In a study released last year by New York Law School, researchers found that the implementation of Net Neutrality could result in the loss of 502,000 jobs and a decrease in GDP of around $62 billion per year. These numbers are assuming that a mere 10% decrease in investment occurs by wireless and wireless broadband service providers after Net Neutrality’s enactment. If a 30% decrease in investment were to occur, the researchers estimate a loss of 604,000 jobs and a decrease in GDP of over $80 billion.

If one thing is clear, opposition to the rules as enacted is a bipartisan sentiment. Most importantly, the FCC’s usurpation of Congressional authority must not be tolerated. Congress must work to stop the execution of the Net Neutrality rules and demonstrate that they have sole authority to legislate, if at all. This will send a message to other federal agencies that attempts by unelected bureaucrats to rule by regulatory fiat will not be accepted.