The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the Federal Communications Commission does not have the authority to regulate the internet. Read the decision here.
There is no doubt that certain parties wanted to see a victory for the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) in the case brought by Verizon challenging the Open Internet rules. But for FCC Chairman Wheeler, it is even better for the FCC to lose. The net neutrality debate was a stalemate. Now Wheeler gets a fresh start. He is an expert in military strategy and knows that to outsmart an opponent, it’s better to change the game than to fight the same battle.
The fact of the matter is that the Open Internet rules are like day old bread. The ruling promulgated by former Chairman Genachowski which squeaked by with a 3-2 vote has been highly contentious and subject to legal challenges. Even the FCC’s own Open Internet Advisory Committee (OAIC) observed that the ruling is unclear and subject to misinterpretation. Now for the second time, the Court has struck it down. Fortunately Wheeler won’t have to take the damaged goods.
Each Chairman wants to make his mark on the commission. Kennard professed “do no harm”; Powell introduced the Four Freedoms, and Genachowski with the open internet. Wheeler will want his brand too.
Make no mistake. The internet was open before. It’s open today. And it will be open tomorrow. This ruling is not holding back a flood of bad behavior. Operators don’t have the incentive to behave in a discriminatory way. The open internet is in their interest.
And it’s not the case that consumers will be left in the cold. Should there be discriminatory behavior, there is still ample antitrust on the books. Plus there is a worldwide army of competent competition authorities who can recognize abuse in the marketplace. They don’t need net neutrality rules to do their job.
Watch the discussion where I explain the outcome.
Here is the Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p2OjmAieKo&feature=share
Radio and Television Interviews
Here are press articles where I have been quoted