Rep. Blackburn Introduces Bill To Thwart Vile FCC Attempt To Do....Little To Nothing Of Substance On Net Neutrality
from the protectin'-freedom dept
The announcement effectively boiled down to the agency saying "we might think about some stuff after a very long conversation that will potentially go nowhere." Yes, there are a few promises in there about pushing for greater competition and transparency, but the FCC has spent a decade making similar promises they've failed to follow through on. Still, that didn't stop Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee from declaring that the FCC's ambiguous non-announcement was the very worst sort of attack on Internet freedom -- a "socialistic" proposal that will have Americans re-living the "horrors" recently experienced during visits to Healthcare.gov.
Blackburn appears to have followed up her failure to understand how little the FCC will actually be doing (right alongside much of the press, apparently) with a bill aimed at thwarting the FCC's entirely non-existent assault on Internet freedom. H.R. 4070, or the "Internet Freedom Act," would protect us all from the FCC goin' crazy and regulatin' the hell outta them there Internets. From a statement on her new bill:
"Net Neutrality is the Fairness Doctrine of the Internet. Once the FCC has a foothold into managing how internet service providers run their networks they will essentially be deciding which content goes first, second, third, or not at all. It’s time for Congress to slam the FCC’s regulatory back-door shut, lock it, and return the keys to the free market. My legislation will put the brakes on net neutrality and protect our innovators from these job-killing regulations."Blackburn is simply throwing some chum in the partisan water to excite her base. Pretending the horribly ill-conceived Fairness Doctrine is making its menacing return (it died in 1987) is one that gets trotted out every few months or so for just that purpose. The amusing part is that Blackburn doesn't appear to have noticed that her campaign contributors AT&T and Comcast actually really like the FCC's new proposal. Why? Because they know the very most it's going to result in is a list of voluntary, non-binding measures "prohibiting" ISPs from doing things they never wanted to (like stone-cold outright blocking of entirely legal websites or services for no sane reason) while not prohibiting them from "creative" pricing (usage caps).
The FCC has spent much of the last 20 years deregulating the broadband cable, and phone industries and doing everything in their power to support things like usage caps and limited competition through total inaction. The broadband industry in turn has spent much of that time working endlessly to weaken the FCC's authority to regulate, just in case the agency wakes up one day and decides to do its job. This entirely-hallucinated idea that the agency is suddenly going to go mad, unshackle its trademark apathy on consumer issues, abuse non-existent authority, and start creating tough new regulations is all part of one elaborate stage play. The FCC's moves are theater, the political response is theater, and the quality of all the players is abysmal.