At the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas last week, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Tom Wheeler announced his intention to reclassify Internet service as a public utility in order to achieve President Obama’s laudable goal of a free and open Internet. Because this outdated “solution” has tied the FCC in knots for years, and is fraught with legal risk, it’s time for Congress to step in and lift net neutrality out of the regulatory morass.
By making equal access to the Internet the law of the land, Congress could settle this contentious issue once and for all. It should create a new source of authority to regulate the dealings between Internet service providers (ISPs) and content providers — outside the creaky confines of Title II of the 1934 Communications Act. In this way, Congress can more effectively meet the president’s net neutrality goals without recourse to outdated telecom regulations that could raise broadband prices, impede investment in the core of the network, and pull content providers and the services they offer within the ambit of archaic telephone regulations.
A bipartisan consensus is forming around the need for a legislative solution to the net neutrality problem, which has lingered for nearly a decade without resolution by the FCC. Just this week, Senate Commerce Committee ranking member Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) announced that he’s in discussions with the panel’s chairman, John Thune (R-S.D.) on a targeted, bipartisan solution. The Senate is now in a race against Wheeler to find a solution.
Continue reading at The Hill.