A recent federal appeals court decision jeopardized the FCC’s authority to carry out many of the most important aspects of the National Broadband Plan as well as the agency’s ability to protect the open Internet, one of the top items on the Obama administration’s technology agenda.
However, if he chooses to do so, the FCC chairman can reverse the rejected policies of the previous administration and reclassify broadband as a “telecommunications service” under Title II of the Communications Act. Such a move would protect Internet users and place the agency back on sound legal footing.
Free Press Executive Director Josh Silver made the following statement:
“We simply cannot believe that Julius Genachowski would consider going down this path. Failing to reclassify broadband means the FCC is abandoning the signature communications and technology issues of the Obama administration. Such a decision would destroy Net Neutrality. It would deeply undermine the FCC’s ability to ensure universal Internet access for rural, low-income and disabled Americans. It will undermine the FCC’s ability to protect consumers from price-gouging and invasions of privacy.
”If Chairman Genachowski fails to re-establish the FCC authority to protect Internet users, he will be allowing companies like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon to slow down, block or censor content at will. They can block any website, any blog post, any tweet, any outreach by a political campaign — and the FCC would be powerless to stop them. Without reclassification, nearly every broadband-related decision the agency makes from here forward will be aggressively challenged in court, and the FCC will likely lose.
“The phone and cable companies know this, which is why they're going all out to keep the FCC from doing so. Genachowski should not buckle to phone and cable industry pressure, but it will take courage to stand up to one of the biggest lobbying juggernauts in Washington. It’s not too late — and the public is watching.”
“This decision facing the FCC chairman is about more than one single issue, or even a broken promise to the American people. If the FCC fails to stand with the public, it will be the end of the Internet as we know it.”