Net Neutrality Looks Dead in the Clutches of Congress
News Analysis: The federal courts and Congress have effectively hamstrung any effort by the Federal Communications Commission to regulate Internet service providers. While it's still possible that a sympathetic lawmaker will quietly file legislation supporting net neutrality, political resistance and the distractions of the impending election campaigns will certainly keep any initiative on the back burner.WASHINGTON-In May the backers of net neutrality rules thought they'd finally found salvation. After being told by a federal appeals court that the agency didn't have the authority to regulate broadband communications, the Federal Communications Commission announced that it would reclassify broadband as a telephone service, which it could regulate. Unfortunately, later in the month, a majority of members of Congress on both sides of the aisle told the agency that it should not move forward with reclassification without consulting Congress.
You'd think that being told "No" by both the courts and the Congress would halt the FCC in its tracks. But that hasn't actually happened. The FCC announced in early June that it will put its ideas before the public in a June 17 hearing. There, the FCC said it will ask whether it should keep existing laws and policies in place, reclassify Internet carriers under Title II, like phone companies, or find a "third way." At this point, it's not totally clear what that third way might be, but considering the current mood at the FCC to regulate Internet carriers, it will probably involve a new classification.