In a rare move for a U.S. regulatory body, who usually get co-opted by well financed corporations, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) says it will implement its net neutrality provisions despite objections from big telecom companies.
The objections of the telecom companies have made the regulations into a battle between making money and preserving a free and open internet for users.
On Friday the FCC issued a ruling denying a motion from trade groups USTelecom and CTIA to stay the FCC’s Open Internet proceedings pending their legal challenges to the FCC order. The ‘trade groups’ are big lobby arms of major telecom companies including AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, Cox, Time Warner and others.
When all these arch-rivals agree on something, you know its bad for customers. The FCC seems to have felt this way too.
The decision allows the FCC to implement its Open Internet rules, including the Title II reclassification to make internet service a “common carrier” platform subject to tighter regulations.
The FCC was tasked by the White House, in what may likely be President Obama’s most lasting legacy, to ensure users were protected and that rules forcing the carriers to maintain equal access have teeth.
The plan is composed three core “bright line” rules against throttling, blocking, and paid prioritization activities.
The telecom lobby did not oppose any of these measures directly, but rather was arguing on procedural grounds.
The powerful telecom industry has been, through its lobby groups, fiercely fighting the Open Internet rules.
Which means every indication is that the FCC got it right.
“Petitioners have failed to demonstrate that they are likely to succeed on the merits,” the FCC said. “The Commission’s classification of fixed and mobile [broadband internet access service] as telecommunications services falls well within the Commission’s statutory authority, is consistent with Supreme Court precedent, and fully complies with the Administrative Procedure Act” it said in its ruling.
The ruling, while positive for internet users, does not mean the issue is resolved. The powerful cable lobby has filed at least eight different lawsuits in eight jurisdictions, in the hopes of overturning the legislation.